It’s not all fun and games, but a lot of it is.

What is the extinction of the condor to a child who has never seen a wren?

~Robert Michael Pyle

People often ask faculty about their “teaching philosophy.” ^That’s mine.

We live in a time of global habitat and biodiversity loss, but an appreciation of the gravity of that loss is missing among all but the tiny fraction of us who study the natural world.  Conservationists can have some modest success in campaigns to save pandas or rhinos or tigers, or indeed, condors.  The heart and soul of wildlife conservation, however, is concern and care for those species trying to survive in our own communities, right under our collective nose. I gauge my success as an educator according to my ability to get my students excited about continuing their experiences in the natural world, long after our course has ended.

Teaching Ornithology beginning 2019? There’s a new text in town you might want to consider (and I can personally recommend chapter 26):

Johns Hopkins University Press is currently accepting pre-orders for . . .

Screen Shot 2018-07-27 at 8.31.48 PMOrnithology: Foundation, Analysis, and Application

edited by Michael Morrison, Amanda Rodewald, Gary Voelker, Melanie Colón, and Jonathan Prather.



Graduate Course Offerings

NREM 5083 – Applied Landscape Ecology. I offer this course in even-numbered fall semesters with Sam Fuhlendorf. Starting with a basic introduction to landscape ecology, Sam and I spend most of the course presenting and discussing issues related to ecosystem management.

NREM 5030 – Writing for Publications. This is an occasional seminar that I offer in spring semesters for graduate and advanced undergraduate students who have a manuscript they’d like to submit for publication.  We work on topics such as journal selection, authorship ethics, and response to referee comments.  The bread and butter of the course, however, relies on peer-editing of individual manuscript components so that, by the end of the semester, each student has a manuscript ready to submit.

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Undergraduate Course Offerings

NREM 1012 – Introduction to Natural Resource Ecology and Management. This introductory course was developed in 2010 to serve as the point of entry to NREM for incoming students pursuing all options within our major. Available every fall, the course stresses Oklahoma ecoregions and the specific natural resource management issues within each, professional development, and clarity in written communications.

NREM 2013 – Ecology of Natural Resources. I offer this general education course in even spring semesters. The focus is on providing a basic understanding of ecology, discussion of current issues in land management, and fostering increased understanding of the role of science in ecological decision making.

NREM 4543 – Wildlife Management for Biodiversity. Biogeography, selection, and fitness of animals in terrestrial habitats. This is a course for junior/senior majors in NREM, Zoology, or related fields. Offered every fall semester.

NREM 4464/ZOOL 4464 – Ornithology. Systematics, phylogeny, distribution, abundance, field identification, field sampling, life histories, morphological traits, ecological relationships, behaviors, and conservation of birds. Prerequisite BIOL 1604. Offered every spring, but taught by the Department of Integrative Biology during even-numbered years.

NREM 4980 – Undergraduate Research. This is generally offered as a 1-credit course in which I work individually with the student to design a field research project. The work is auto-tutorial. Ideally, the student writes a paper based on the experience that is suitable for publication in a regional journal.

Previous Course Offerings at OSU

  • BIOL 1114 – Introductory Biology
  • ZOOL 3153 – Animal Behavior
  • Graduate Seminar on Ecological Indicators
  • Graduate Seminar on Population Ecology
  • Graduate Seminar on Last Child in the Woods

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