Each sustainability class I have taken at UNH has given me some sort of real-world experience with the issues at hand. This was no different in Sustainability Perspectives & Methods (SUST 501). My personal favorite part of this class was going to Wagon Hill and learning about the importance of salt marsh ecosystems and the erosion that is occurring. Prior to this class, I was unaware that Wagon Hill even existed, even though it is only about a 7-minute drive from campus. This beautiful place and its story inspire me greatly. The ideas for helping the salt marsh continue to live and provide its services to plant and aquatic life are truly visionary.
Another fascinating topic we discussed in this course was vernal pools. These pools, as their name suggests, come from snow melt in spring and provide an area for certain amphibians to lay their eggs. I thought it was so interesting to learn about these amphibians, their travels, and the impacts of humans on the pools. I even got to experience “Big Night,” where the frogs and salamanders migrate to the pools at night when the right weather conditions are present. Watching many frogs hop across the road on the way to the pools is a special sight. Had I not been in this course, I wouldn’t have known what I was seeing.
Additionally, this class was full of incredibly important, but also complex, topics. One topic I particularly enjoyed learning about was interdisciplinarity. Interdisciplinarity is critical in sustainability as it encourages the perspectives of many diverse individuals to be considered. This is how new and innovative solutions are created. I had the pleasure to contribute to the Inter- and Transdisciplinary chapter of the sustainability reader that was started in Fall 2017. This reader has been contributed to by students across many years and majors, allowing for important knowledge and unique ideas to be incorporated into the reader. It was wonderful to be a part of something that will be able to bring sustainability knowledge to others.