Professor Renwick Griswold
On a rainy day in the fall, Renwick Griswold, associate professor of sociology, led his students through underbrush swarming with mosquitoes so they could stake out two six-acre plots on the University of Hartford campus. The students and Griswold, who teaches a course on the Connecticut River, were identifying a section of the Connecticut River watershed for permanent wetlands protection status.
Griswold, who is an expert on the history and ecology of the Connecticut River, is the coordinator of the Environmental Studies concentration at Hillyer. In kayaks, rowboats, or water taxis, students in Griswold’s class spend a lot of time on the river and its tributaries.
“Studying the Connecticut River is a great way of bringing together a number of disciplines: biology, ecology, history, anthropology, and archeology,” says Griswold. “The course helps students become aware of the link between human beings and nature.”
Griswold also incorporates an environmental emphasis in a course he teaches called Social Problems. “I prefer to refer to the course as ‘Social Solutions,’” he says. In that course, his students go into public schools in Hartford to teach young children about the importance of the environment.
When he has time on his own, Griswold still opts for the river. “I’m the commodore of the Connecticut River Drifting Society,” he says jokingly. “On weekends I’ll take a canoe, or a sailboat, or a row boat and just drift.”