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SOILS 499A & B class focuses on Co-Evolution of landscapes and people through time

Posted: June 24, 2016

Dr. Drohan hosted a study abroad program Spring 2016 that culminated with a 10 day abroad program in Southeastern Ireland with Irish agricultural, environment, and cultural organizations.
L-R back: Julie Weitzman, Tom Heron, Patrick Drohan, Catriona Foley (Teagasc), John Moloney (Regional Manager, Teagasc), Lalita Limpichart, Anna Schwyter, Jennifer Kellogg, William Drohan, Lauren kaminsky. L-R front Ellen, Niamh and Graínne Drohan

L-R back: Julie Weitzman, Tom Heron, Patrick Drohan, Catriona Foley (Teagasc), John Moloney (Regional Manager, Teagasc), Lalita Limpichart, Anna Schwyter, Jennifer Kellogg, William Drohan, Lauren kaminsky. L-R front Ellen, Niamh and Graínne Drohan

How do a landscape and its people evolve through time? SOILS 499A examined this question and focused particularly on the role of land ownership, government, and its effect on people and natural resources, especially in the context of the evolution of culture, society, and civilization. Readings examined the role that forms of government have had in shaping culture and land tenure, management of natural resources with population growth, and the stability of civilizations. Finally, this course examined our current civilization in the context of past ones, and evaluated its future stability.

Students admitted to the Maymester abroad program (SOILS 499b, 0.5 cr and assoc. fee) worked with Dr. Drohan and collaborators of his in the Teagasc agriculture and food development authority at Johnstown Castle, Wexford Ireland (May 13-23). We examined the history of Ireland with visits to the Irish National Heritage Park living history museum and then the Viking-founded towns of Waterford, Kilkenny, and Wexford. These towns were also invaded by the Patrick Drohan, Tom Dyle (Farmer), Eddie Burgess (Teagasc)Normans and important in the history of the Irish Rebellion. We examined past agricultural and land tenure issues and their role in the Irish famine at the Johnstown Castle Agricultural Museum. We also studied modern agricultural production practices with Irish sheep, beef and dairy farmers and explored current agricultural challenges set forth under the Irish Agricultural directives Food Harvest 2020 and Foodwise 2025. We visited Kildalton College and were very impressed with the range of hands-on student learning activities. We spent part of a day with the Irish Department of Agriculture, Food and Management and the Irish Environmental Protection Agency, in addition to visits with several different farms and land management projects.

Thank you to all in Ireland who helped this come about, especially Ger Shortle of Teagasc (pictured below with the class).

Farm