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[Detail] Pinus scopulorum Reproduction, Jemez Springs, New Mexico

Taking on the role of ecologists pictured in the images of American Environmental Photographs, 1891-1936, one can work on projects that will support creative writing and public speaking skills. Photographs of ecologists can also be used to develop visual literacy and writing skills in a project on portraiture and biography, while images of landscapes lend themselves to research and expository writing. Finally, examining the various meanings of "ecology" throughout the collection, one may gain insight into the nature of language and its evolution.

Research and Expository Writing

The images in this collection provide the impetus for learning more about the ecology of familiar features of the landscape. One may search on the names of places one enjoys visiting, such as beach, mountain, lake, canyon, and dune, or browse the Subject Index for images of particular interest. Examine the photograph and its bibliographical information and do research in a local library or on the Web to construct an ecological overview in a brief essay.

Wind Sculpture of Damp Sand

Wind Sculpture of Damp Sand, Dune Park, Indiana, November 27, 1915.

For example, in writing about a sand dune, an essay might include the definition of a dune, an account of where dunes exist in the world, and information about the specific dunes in the photograph. One might also research the ecological community, the kinds of animals and plants that live among the dunes. In addition, the essay could include an assessment of the human impact on the landscape.

  • What happens when structures are built on dunes?
  • Was the dune in question built upon?
  • Was the area preserved as a park?
  • What are the impacts of these decisions?