Under the Connecticut


Description of Course: Under the Connecticut, Bio 278, 3 credits (Gen Ed I) and Bio 697G, 3 credits (Graduate)

The Connecticut River flows through 400 million years of time. Its geological and biological past includes continental drift, dinosaurs, ice ages and mammoths. The valley's prehistory began approximately 10,000 years ago with the arrival of the first Native Americans; written history began 400 years ago when European fur traders "discovered" the river. Underwater the riverbed is a museum of the Connecticut's 400 million year story. The course will give the student a guided tour of this museum. Using underwater video footage and photography, the student will explore the river's depths and learn how the river's geology, biology, and history have interacted to give rise to the Connecticut of today.

This course has a University of Massachusetts Amherst Undergraduate General Education, Interdisciplinary designation.

This course is also available for graduate credit as Biology 697G.

Lectures are designed for a three (3) meetings per week schedule; there is no set time or date for any lecture -- you can access the lectures at your convenience. However, examinations are given on scheduled dates, but they can be taken at any time of day.

Prerequisites: None


"I have really enjoyed this class and I learned a lot."

"I enjoyed the course and will never look at the river quite the same."

"The lectures and readings were extremely interesting and will be of great help in my work on the Neponset River. I have brought the video to work for a few co-workers to enjoy."

"I just wanted to drop you a quick e-mail thanking you for the great course. Not only did I get a lot out of it, but my students and my daughters will be receiving fascinating little bits and pieces from your course as well. I am already fine tuning my curriculum for next year to include relevant pieces of the biological, geological, and social aspects of the Connecticut River Valley that you have taught us. If you decide to teach a different course online in the future, I would be very interested in taking it."

"What a course! ... You combined History, Sociology, Environmental Studies, Biology, Engineering, Geology, Geography, Botany, Anthropology, Paleontology, and even a little (gulp) Mathematics into a great learning experience ... and you even threw in a video that was thoroughly enjoyed by me, my family, and my inlaws who grew up along the river in the 30s. I'd recommend this course to anyone who wants to think and learn about how we're all connected to the past and responsible for the future. Best of luck to you both."

"Your course was quite a treat and treasure trove of resources."

How to Register for Course:

  • Telephone the Continuing Education Records and Registration Office at 413-545-3653 or 1-800-922-8211 (toll-free in Massachusetts for those outside the local dialing area). To register by telephone, you must make payment by MasterCard, VISA, or Discover.

  • You may also register for the course by mail: Records and Registration Office, Division of Continuing Education Bldg., University of Massachusetts, 358 N. Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA 01003-9296.
  • For information concerning registration, contact Ed Klekowski at connriv@yahoo.com