History of the Environmental Conservation Movement

Submitted by Doris Malkmus

THIS DESCRIPTION WAS CREATED TO EXEMPLIFY A COURSE LESSON, any selection of primary sources can be substituted.

Course objectives: Professor teaches this freshman course annually and this year wants to use digitized primary sources to start conversation about cultural, scientific, and economic forces in the history of conservation.

Archival objectives:
Engage students and support careful observation and use of evidence
Present primary sources that reflect historical context
Compare and interpret sources with different points of view.

Class activity: After faculty introduces the course and the activity, students in groups of 3 or 4 receive a pair of images or pair of documents with a worksheet.  They have five-minutes to analyze the documents independently using the worksheet, then ten minutes to discuss in a small group. One spokesperson reports back to class.

Group materials:

4 sets of Paired Images (use the same worksheet)
1  Devil’s Canyon photograph tps-enviro-devils-canyon — compared to Currier & Ives View down the Ravine TPS Enviro Currier
2  William Henry Jackson, Photographers on summit TPS ENVIR Rockies — Catskills Sunrise tps-enviro-engraving
3  Geological survey pack train on trail tps-enviro-rockies-pack — Currier & Ives Mountain ramble tps-enviro-currier-hike
4  Geological survey, cabin tps-enviro-geolog-cabin— Prang Co., Grand Canyon tps-enviro-prang

Worksheet questions: What overall impression do you get from each. Can photographs reflect a point of view or are they “objective”?  What stylistic points or choice of subject creates/conveys that impression? (These points constitute the evidence to support your impression)

Gender and the Conservation Movement:
1  Report to Congress: Certain Groves of Big Trees tps-enviro-sequoia
2  US Geological Survey of pack train on trail  tps-enviro-rockies-pack

Worksheet questions:  Imagine yourself in each scenario in 2016, then consider the norms and expectations for your gender 100 years ago.  What role would you have had in each?  Race is invisible in these two documents.  What suppositions do you have about gender and race in the conservation movement?

Scientific forces
1  Ellen Richards: Sanitation tps-enviro-ellen-richards
2  Report to Congress: Dumping sewage in Lake Michigan TPS Enviro Chi Sewage

Worksheet questions:  From these tiny fragments of primary sources, what linkages can you make about the role of science and government in the Conservation Movement.  How could industrialization and urbanization relate to forests and wilderness?  What more do you need to know to connect the dots?

Economic forces
• Fernow, Economics of forestry (1902)  tps-enviro-economies
• Smythe, Conquest of Arid America (1905)TPS Enviro Arid America

Worksheet questions:  What attitude does each author have about the relationship between humans and nature?  Find evidence to support your opinion in these fragments of primary sources .

Formative assessment consists of observing engagement and development of historical empathy during small group activity and class discussion
Worksheets to be collected by archivist who rates them for accuracy/comprehension, use of evidence to support answers, and historical empathy.
Archivist will use assessment findings to refine sources for following year.

Submitted by From: Doris Malkmus, former Instruction Archivist at Penn State University
Subject: History of Conservation Movement 101
Audience: Basic Undergraduate

Downloaded documents History of the Environmental Conservation Movement tps-enviro-ellen-richards tps-enviro-economies tps-enviro-devils-canyon tps-enviro-currier-hike tps-enviro-sequoia tps-enviro-rockies-pack tps-enviro-prang tps-enviro-geolog-cabin tps-enviro-engraving TPS ENVIR Rockies photoTPS Enviro Chi SewageTPS Enviro Currier