Teaching with Big Muddy and Old Man River: Big River Ecology at UMSL

Presentation by Jay Fish, CHERP Project Director, University of Missouri – St. Louis

Jay Fish will talk about the inspiring summer field course he leads called “Great River Ecology” and how it transforms how students view themselves and our big rivers.

Published: March 11, 2020

Hosted by Greenway Network

So, how do you educate a river rat?  Or rather, how do you help develop normal, urban university students to become river rats?  For the past 6 years, Jay Fish and Brian Waldrop have been teaching a summer general education science course to undergraduates at the University of Missouri – St. Louis.  “Great River Ecology” is a hands-on adventure trip course with an online learning component.  In this talk, Jay will be shared some of the adventures so far… what’s been working, how students have been learning, and some perspectives on “letting the river speak for itself.”  It was a time for some tall tales and yarn spinning – in good river rat fashion – as we look at river education for the 21st century.

Jay Fish is a forester, urban ecologist, and environmental educator who heads up UMSL’s Campus Honors Environmental Research Project.  Tom Sawyer is his spiritual mentor.  Like Tom, he tries not to do what another can do.  Students in his classes learn urban ecology by doing.  They study natural and built environments on campus.  They each do a project that advances our knowledge of local ecology or proposes restoring a wild area, planning a rain gardens or pollinator plot; or creating artwork or nature writing envisioning urban wildness.

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The Big Muddy Speakers Series in St. Charles

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All speakers are presenting for free and Big A’s is sharing the space for free! Thank you for sharing your knowledge with all of us!

The Big Muddy Speaker Series also takes place monthly in Rocheport and Kansas City.

In memory of Greenway Network’s Greg Poleski.


The views and opinions expressed by our presenters do not necessarily reflect the view or policies of Greenway Network, the Big Muddy Speaker Series or any of the partners that support this public forum. The Big Muddy Speaker Series believes that hearing diverse perspectives is a crucial building block for an informed public.


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