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Thursday, March 28, 2013 - BIO 491 students learn about natural sciences in the great outdoors
By Carin Inglis, media relations intern

This summer, students can earn academic credit while getting out of the classroom and getting acquainted with Mother Nature. 

The Department of Biological Sciences offers BIO 491: Special Topics in Biology annually during the summer semester. Sections of the class include Organic Farming in an Urban Setting, which is taken in conjunction with Organic Farm Field and Lab Experience and Permaculture Theory and Practice. 

“We like to present these classes as a way for students to get fit, get healthy and get some fresh air,” said Dr. Fay Hansen.

Full classes are worth four credits each and the lab is worth one. Before enrolling in the organic farming course, students are required to take at least one other natural sciences course or have permission from the instructor. For a list of general education natural science courses, view the catalog

Students in BIO 491 will have an opportunity to assist with OU's Campus Student Organic Farm this summer. 
These courses provide students with a hands-on, applied problem-solving experience. Students will learn about topics including ecology, botany, entomology, microbiology, chemistry and more while also helping to care for Oakland’s Campus Student Organic Farm. 

In permaculture, students will gain knowledge and skills that can be used to create sustainable human settlements and institutions through learning about landscaping and whole-systems designs for production of food, fiber and fuel. 

In addition to learning and gaining academic credit in these courses, students will also be giving back to their community. Previously, the organic farm has worked with the Baldwin Center of Pontiac and other community gardens to help provide fresh produce for those in need.

Students who are interested in a paid position with the Student Organic Farm can apply with the Summer Campus Corps by visiting Summer Campus Corps provides students with paid internship-style summer jobs for which they may also earn credit. 

For more information about the Summer Student Campus Corps, contact the Financial Aid Office at (248) 370-2550 or

To learn more about Student Organic Farm activities, meetings and membership, visit the Facebook page. Students can also connect with the organization on Twitter at @OUFarmers. Meetings will be held the second Wednesday of every month in the Oakland Center and specific locations are to be announced.

For additional information on BIO 491 courses or the Student Organic Farm, contact Dr. Fay Hansen at (248) 370-3574 or at

To learn more about summer courses at OU, visit or watch the video below.

Oakland University is a vibrant academic community with nearly 20,000 students and more than 265 academic degree programs. To learn more about programs, events, and achievements at OU, visit the news site at and follow the news team on Twitter at @OaklandU_News.