Did You Know . . . ?

Liz Black

. . . that Elizabeth Black’s Hydrophilidae Triangularus (above center, in the header) exemplifies the abilities students develop through interdisciplinary study. She drew these giant water-scavenger beetles in her Scientific Illustration course, which links biology and art.


A St. Mary's County Almanac

View the newly published sustainability site.



Welcome to Environmental Studies at St. Mary's College of Maryland. Our program offers an interdisciplinary minor for the purpose of understanding interrelations between the natural environment and human life, including scientific, aesthetic, cultural, and political perspectives.

Our goal is for students to comprehend the complexity of environmental systems, problems, and policies. Through investigation of the social sciences and humanities as well as the natural and physical sciences, this program provides students with broad-based preparation for future decisions regarding the environment.

Environmental Studies faculty and students also share expertise and awareness with the greater St. Mary's community through extracurricular activities including student clubs, living options, and sustainability initiatives that encourage stewardship of local ecosystems. Involvement in our academic program often motivates students to seek hands-on experiences during summers and post-graduation.

Courses offered through the Environmental Studies program invite students to expand their understanding of the environment beyond the confines of one discipline. While pursuing the minor, students enroll in environmentally-focused classes from several disciplines to encourage developing that breadth of knowledge. An ecological Biology is one requirement, but electives range from Poetry and Science to Biological Anthropology to GIS Applications to Natural Resource Economics.

In one course, The Artist Naturalist taught by Professor Sue Johnson in the Art and Art History Department, investigation of the natural world is conducted through firsthand observation and studio practice. Students also explore the world of nature from the perspective of the artist naturalist in history. Key figures in natural history study such as John James Audubon, Beatrix Potter, and Ernst Haeckel provide diverse approaches to documenting nature.

In studio projects, students learn drawing and painting techniques that have direct applications to illustration including the use of pencil, pen and ink, and watercolor painting, and throughout the semester each student keeps a nature journal of writing and art. The illustrations included below were created by Carol Morris and come directly from the pages of the nature journal she kept.

Tulips Morris    Journal Morris