Dr. James M. Rubenstein

Geography Professor

"Once they experience the Natural Areas they are bowled over by what they see."

At Miami University we try to relate the students curricular interests with their personal interests. Incoming students are asked to express these interests and are than placed in a residence hall that matches their interests with others. I work with the students participating in the Environmental Awareness Program, First Year Living Learning Community in McKee Residence Hall. I teach a 100 level class that these students are required to take that expands on their interests in the environment. The students may or may not major in the sciences but over half are planning to study zoology.

I take the students to the Natural Areas to make sure they are aware they exist. Once they experience them they are bowled over by what they see. The Natural Areas is one of the top features that Miami University has to offer these students and my job is to make sure they know where they are and what is there. Once they know, than they take it from there. Some even become environmental activists. For example, after the recent hurricane that passed through our area, many volunteered to help remove limbs that had fallen across the trails in the Natural Areas.

The proximity of the Natural Areas is close. It is just out the backdoor of the University. The small-scale complexity is unique. There is so much to see in such a relatively small space. The students are always surprised that the Natural Areas exists and once they get inside they discover the richness of what is there.

Issues of energy, security, recycling, climate change, are of interest to the students. I try and match their interests to the local resources.