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This learning module is a three-part series of learning activities focused around the following themes:

  1. The words “nature” and “natural” mean different things to different people;
  2. Humans and other species both effect and are affected by the environment;
  3. Most “human-traits” are not unique to humans and are adaptive traits shared by other species.

The larger goal of this set of learning activities is to promote a holistic/equalistic view of the human-environment relationship by leveraging humanistic content to support learning goals in both introductory post-secondary courses and general education courses (secondary or post-secondary) in the biological sciences. The learning activities in this module are designed to be accessible to students from diverse educational backgrounds by virtue of being scalable in difficulty and drawing largely from student’s pre-existing personal experience. In addition to being scalable in difficulty, this module is scalable for varying implementation times and teaching methods.

Publication Date



Nature; Environmental ethics; Values

Document Type

Curricular Materials


Biology | Philosophy




This learning module was developed as part of a 2017-2018 NEH Human Connections grant to Rowan University faculty titled Cultivating the Environmental Humanities.

This content is copyright 2018 by the author and must be properly attributed (see Recommended Citation). Contact the author for reuse permission.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Are humans natural? Exploring relational values in the human-nature relationship in an evolutionary context