Calling All Environmental Science Enthusiasts

ENSC 200 Course Introduction

Are you interested in ecological relationships? In learning about the effects of pesticides, pollution, and other factors on our biosphere? What about population and resource pressures, natural selection, and nutrient cycling? If you are, check out Athabasca University’s NEW Introductory Environmental Science course, ENSC 200. Opened January 2003, Introductory Environmental Science is a three-credit Science course that will allow you to gain answers to those questions and more as you delve into the fascinating world of environmental science.

The first part of the course, called “Environmental Science Basics”, will give you a wealth of background information in environmental science, all packed into 5 exciting lessons. It begins with a study of the scientific method, then gradually works outward through lessons detailing the earth’s spheres and the interactions between these, as well as trophic interactions, the biosphere, and evolutionary pressures on environmental science (such as the roles of natural selection and predation). Additionally, environmental stressors and their effects on local and global environmental health are discussed.

The second part offers you the practical side of environmental science. Titled “Application of Scientific Principles to the Examination of Environmental Stressors”, this section is divided into 9 fascinating lessons, with topics ranging from population growth and the effects of toxins and other pollutants in the biosphere to biodiversity factors, forestry, and agricultural impact on the surrounding and global environment.

An additional feature of ENSC 200 is the “home labs” which are integrated into the course curriculum and help emphasize facts and ideas relevant to the course using a hands-on approach. However, it is important to note that these “labs” do not make the course part of Athabasca’s core lab science courses.

The course professor for Introductory Environmental Science, Dr Dietmar Kennepohl, is active in Athabasca University’s Science centre, as he is also the course professor for several other Athabasca University courses (including CHEM 217, CHEM 218, and CHEM 350). Having received his doctorate from the University of Alberta, Dr Kennepohl went on to become an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at the Universitt Gttingen (Germany). Recently, Dr Kennepohl returned from his research sabbatical at the University of Otago (New Zealand), where he was researching macrocyclic metal compounds. He has also published a variety of papers in well-known journals, such as The Australian Journal of Chemical Education.

Your grades in Introductory Environmental Science will be determined through 10 assignments associated with certain units of the course; these assignments are worth either 4% or 9%, depending on the unit. As well, you will have the chance to polish your scientific journal reading and writing skills by conducting a journal article review (worth 10%). There is only one exam (final) in the course, and it is worth 45% of your final mark.

You can check out the Introductory Environmental Science (ENSC 200) syllabi at:, or visit for more information on AU Environmental Studies courses. Embark on an environmental science learning adventure and enroll in ENSC 200!