Environmental Conservation and Sustainable Thinking: Natural Places as Heritage

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Convention is an international organization that recognizes exceptional natural places in the world, characterized by their outstanding biodiversity, ecosystems, geology and natural phenomena. The Convention has provided international recognition to around 3,500,000 km 2  in over 250 marine and terrestrial sites across more than 95 countries protecting a valuable sample of our natural heritage. As such, a consideration of natural places as heritage incorporates a diverse repertoire of marine ecosystems, biodiversity, forest conservation and climate change. The convention includes many heritage sites such as the Serengeti National Park (Tanzania), Galápagos Islands (Ecuador), Yellowstone National Park (U.S.A.) and the Great Barrier Reef (Australia) and are often a last refuge for species threatened with extinction, such as the mountain gorilla, giant panda and orangutan. Moreover, almost half of the 46 natural World Heritage sites where glaciers are currently found are threatened by rising temperatures and could see their glaciers disappear by 2100. These include several iconic landscapes such as Los Glaciares National Park in Argentina (containing some of the largest glaciers on Earth), Te Wahipounamu, South West New Zealand (which contains three quarters of New Zealand’s glaciers), and Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro National Park (home to Africa’s highest peak). We will critically engage with these sites, while considering what they offer to us with regard to sustainable heritage practice and how this practice impacts the environment.

The course will have a strong focus on group discussions with a mixture of lectures, presentations, documentaries and small group projects. Through classroom discussion and written work, you will develop the ability to articulate clear, well-supported, and persuasive arguments on the nature of heritage in its environmental context. By the end of the course you will be familiar with the world of UNESCO World Natural Heritage and the very important work it does with regard to the conservation of the environment.

Course Schedule

Program Date: October 14 - November 18, 2023

Students will meet online on Saturdays, time 1:00pm - 2:30pm (Eastern Standard Time). Class time will be a mix of synchronous and asynchronous learning.

Academic Director

Fay Stevens

Professor Fay Stevens is an archaeologist and award-winning lecturer and researcher. She has worked in archaeological projects in Armenia, Europe and the UK and has travelled extensively on academic research including Europe, USA, Middle East and Japan. Her work has a clear pedagogy of embedded research and practice with postgraduate teacher training qualifications that developed educational models of reflexive learning, disciplinary writing, and academic literacies. She specializes in the philosophy of phenomenology in archaeology and was part of a ground-breaking project at University College London developing phenomenological research methods and thinking in landscape archaeology. In 2021 she was awarded a research grant from the University of Notre Dame Department of Minor in Sustainability Studies to design a new course ‘Rivers and Tides: A Biography of the River Thames in London’. In 2022 she was a contributing speaker for the Notre Dame International and ThinkND interactive series, Global Dialogues: The Worsening Water Crisis, which collaborated with international communities to learn about the impact of climate change on global waters. In the same year, she received a Creative Commissions for Climate Action Fund from The
British Council for leading an international collaborative educational project Reading Water: A Contemplative Ecology of the River Nile (Egypt) and River Thames (London)’ as part of COP27 (Egypt). In 2023 she was awarded Fellowship of the Society of Antiquaries, London.

In addition to work as Adjunct Associate Professor at University of Notre, London Global Gateway, Fay is Visiting Lecturer for the MA in Cultural Heritage and Resource Management at University of Winchester and Part-Time Tutor at University of Oxford (OUDCE) She organizes and actively participates in academic conferences and symposia in the UK and abroad.

Faculty Page: https://london.nd.edu/about/faculty/fay-stevens/

Email: fsteven1@nd.edu