Emails Sent to 460 Class List Server

This page contains an archive of major emails sent to the 460 list server during Fall 2015.

Reminders Before First Lecture (sent 9/6/17)


Today is our first lecture for History / Geography / Environmental Studies 460, "American Environmental History," and I want to send along a few quick reminders before we meet:

1) Our first discussion sections will begin meeting NEXT week, on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, September 12-14. If you have a Wednesday or Thursday section, you should NOT attend that section this week.

2) Remember that outline notes for each lecture will be available prior to each class on our class home page at (You should bookmark this page and visited it regularly, but you can also usually find it by searching for the phrase "Cronon 460" in Google) Since you're not allowed to use screen-based devices during lectures, you may find it helpful to print out these notes beforehand so you can bring them along to lecture and make notes on them yourself. I will try always to have updated notes on the course web page by the night prior to a given class to give you time to do this.

3) Remember that today's lecture is based on a published lecture of mine if you're interested in reading it. You'll find it linked from our course home page. The lecture is highly illustrated and probably more interested to hear first, so I would encourage you to read the essay after the lecture rather than before.

4) Our first assigned book in the class is my own Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New England. We will spend two weeks in September reading it, and your first paper assignment is partly based on it, so you should make sure you have access to a copy. It arrived at the University Bookstore yesterday, and can of course also be ordered online; reserve copies are available at the library.

5) Remember that you cannot take this course if you're not enrolled in a discussion section that fits your schedule and that you can actually attend. Being registered for a section you cannot attend gives you no claim on any other section in the course. If you're in this situation, please drop the section in which you're registered and keep a close eye on the Registrar's website to see if space opens up in a section you can attend; if you see one, move quickly to add it to your schedule. As of this moment, it looks like there are four sections that have open seats.

6) If you are interested in transferring to Section 301, the Honors/Grad section which I myself teach from 8:30-9:45am on Wednesday mornings, please email me by no later tonight to explain your reasons for wanting to enroll in that section. There are very few seats available (you cannot see these online), but I'll authorize a few transfers probably tomorrow, so it's imperative that you contact me today if you're interested.

7) Finally, I want to warn you that our classroom, 2650 Humanities, will be very near its total capacity. The course is almost fully registered, and there are also many auditors who are hoping to attend lectures. I've already started turning away many would-be auditors, but be forewarned that finding a seat is likely to be a challenge all semester long. I'd encourage regular students to arrive at least 5-10 minutes early just to make sure you get the seat you want.

I think that's all for now. See you this afternoon!


Introductory Email with Details about the Start of the Semester (sent 8/29/17)


Welcome to History/Geography/Environmental Studies 460, "American Environmental History," in which you are currently enrolled. We're delighted you've decided to join us for the semester!


Please read the following carefully so you'll be ready for the first time we meet for lecture, on Wednesday, September 2, from 2:30-3:45pm in 2650 Humanities--as well as for your first discussion section, which will be held during the week of September 11.


Discussion sections are a very important part of this course, so please be sure to attend regularly right from the start!


If you are currently registered for a section in the course that you cannot actually attend, you must drop that section and register for another section that you are able to attend. You cannot simply switch sections informally, and you can only change to a section that has available openings. Be forewarned that being registered in a section you cannot actually attend gives you NO claim on any other sections of the course, so there is no incentive to remain registered in a section you know you cannot attend. Remaining in such a section prevents other students from registering for it, so you will be doing everyone a favor if you drop that section as soon as possible. If you're still trying to find a section that will work for you, you should check the Registrar's website for 460 as frequently as you can between now and the second week of the semester to see if anything opens up; if it does, you should grab the open slot that works for you as quickly as possible. That is the only way you'll be able to take the course. Section leaders will NOT permit students to attend sections in which they are not actually registered.


If you are an Honors undergraduate or a graduate student not already registered for Section 301, which I myself teach from 8:30-9:45am Wednesdays, and if you would like to be considered for permission to transfer into that section, please send an email to me at at your earliest convenience (and no later than right after the first lecture) so I'll know of your interest and your reasons for being interested in the Honors/grad section. I'll make decisions about admitting a few more students into that section sometime next week shortly after the first lecture. The sooner you can be in touch with me if you're interested in transferring, the better.


We have a course page on my personal website at which you'll want to get to know well. Handouts will appear on it with outline notes for each individual lecture, along with many other resources relating to the course. I've just uploaded and provided links to the full syllabus, which you'll find formatted both for printing and for on-screen viewing. The HTML version of the syllabus can be accessed at, which I'd urge you to read carefully as soon as possible (but remember, that is NOT the best version for printing). It gives a comprehensive overview of all assignments, including the required books that are on sale at the University Bookstore in case you want to try to acquire copies at more favorable prices. Printed copies of the syllabus will be available for everyone at the first lecture. A PDF version is available from the course web page as well, and I've also attached a copy of that PDF to this email so you'll have it right away.


As you can probably already tell, we rely heavily on email to communicate with students in 460, so please get in the habit of checking email regularly for communiations like this one. (Most won't be nearly as long as this one!) We archive all of the most important of these emails on the course website at

which is accessible along with everything else via the course web page at

...another good reason to make sure you bookmark this last link and visit it regularly. Give it a try now and you'll find this email already there.

That's all for now. We're looking forward to seeing you soon. Welcome aboard!

Bill Cronon

and the rest of your section leaders

Rachel Boothby

Carly Griffith

Ben Kasten