CCOG for ESR 204 Summer 2024

Course Number:
ESR 204
Course Title:
Introduction to Environmental Restoration
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Develops an understanding of ecological theories and practices of environmental restoration using local and global case studies. Provides opportunities to engage in hands-on experience with restoration projects in a variety of ecosystems, and at different stages of the restoration process. Includes fieldwork. Prerequisites: ESR 171 or ESR 200 or BI 143, and (WR 115 and RD 115) or IRW 115 and MTH 20 or equivalent placement. Audit available.

Addendum to Course Description

Fieldwork statement

Fieldwork is a professional competence in many areas of Environmental Studies. Standard field practices include measurements of abiotic and biotic components in a variety of environmental conditions and habitat types. Fieldwork includes use of all the senses to make observations in natural and built environments. Field training may include developing skills in site characterization, application of key terms and concepts, species identification, and measurement and data collection using appropriate equipment. Fieldwork may include inherent risks (uneven terrain, off-trail work with map & compass, variable weather, insects, environmental irritants, travel, stress, etc.).

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  1. Describe the history, motivation and purposes of environmental restoration.

  2. Identify the indirect and direct drivers, stressors, and ecological effects of environmental degradation in diverse ecosystems.

  3. Describe the steps in the restoration/enhancement process (diagnosis, goal setting, planning, supporting, monitoring and evaluation) for a variety of case studies.

  4. Analyze a variety of restoration approaches including modification of landforms, hydrology, soil and water quality, and establishment of native plant and animal communities.

  5. Observe several local restoration projects and reflect upon challenges and successes associated with these projects.

  6. Collect data and use the scientific literature to help inform restoration practices.

Quantitative Reasoning

Students completing an associate degree at Portland Community College will be able to analyze questions or problems that impact the community and/or environment using quantitative information.

General education philosophy statement

Introduction to Environmental Restoration introduces some of the concepts, skills and scientific approaches used to plan, perform and evaluate environmental restoration and enhancement projects. This class investigates the physical, chemical, and biological aspects of ecosystems – and how humans actions have led to degradation in the function and diversity of these systems. The course uses local and global case studies, including field trips and visits with restoration professionals, to investigate methods for enhancing and restoring ecosystems services, biodiversity, and habitat quality. In this course, students deepen their understanding of themselves and their natural environment and discuss the ethical, legal, economic, and social aspects of ecosystem degradation and restoration in a changing world.

Course Activities and Design

  • Lectures

  • Active learning activities such as creation of conceptual ecological models

  • Student-led case study presentations and discussions

  • Field trips to local restoration sites

  • Talks from local restoration practitioners

  • Data collection and analysis

  • Engagement in restoration process (site assessment, site preparation, planting, and/or monitoring)

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Outcome Assessment Strategies: 

  • Quizzes and/or reflections on weekly field and laboratory experiences.

  • Case study presentations and discussions.

  • Exams with short answer and essay questions.

  • Presentations and/or papers on scientific papers, restoration approaches, and/or plants

  • Reflection on restoration projects

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)


  • Describe the history and motivation for environmental restoration.

  • Describe and observe the stages in restoration processes (site assessment, diagnosis, goal-setting, site-preparation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation)

  • Use models to help understand and communicate complex social and ecological interactions in degraded and restored ecosystems.

  • Describe some of the social and institutional structures supporting restoration work.

  • Describe and observe various approaches to restoration including modification of disturbance regimes, hydrology, land forms, soil and water quality, and interactions within biological communities.


  • Read and analyze scientific papers

  • Collect and analyze data

  • Interpret landscape planting plans

  • Identify common native and invasive plants

  • Analyze vegetation community types (wetland, upland, riparian, prairie)

  • Apply basic wetland delineation approaches (hydrology, soil and plant communities)

  • Collaborate with peers and work effectively in groups

  • Communicate effectively using oral presentations, poster presentation and/or written assignments