New Teaching Resources Initiative

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Planet York University by Tom Cochrane on Flickr
Planet York University by Tom Cochrane on Flickr

With Labour Day fast approaching, I imagine a lot of us are busy preparing to start teaching in the near future. NiCHE has a teaching page on the website – – but it is one of our less developed sections. Currently the site only includes six syllabi sent in by members over the past few years (though I’ve been told even this limited resource helped a few people design new courses). Over the next few months I’ll be expanding this section of the website and asking our members to contribute more resources.

-What is the best environmental history article/book for teaching?
-Do you have a great primary source assignment you’d like to share?
-Where do you find multimedia (photos, maps, films) for your lectures?
-How do you incorporate environmental history into Canadian, North American or European survey courses?

If you are interested in working with me on developing the teaching section of the website or if you have another idea for NiCHE to focus more attention on teaching environmental history, please get in touch. I’d be happy to publish teaching related posts on The Ottergroup blog (see Matthew Evenden Teaching Water History post) or simply added links to other useful webpages (please email

In the meantime, here are a few resources I’ve found on the web. Please use the comment function or send me an email with more suggestions and I will add to this list before posting them on the Teaching Materials Page:


H-Environment Teaching Webpage


Alan MacEachern and William Turkel, ed., Method & Meaning in Canadian Environmental History, (Nelson Education, 2009).

David Duke, ed., Canadian environmental history: essential readings, (Canadian Scholars Press, 2006).

Syllabi / Syllabus:

  • The Impact of Europeans on the North American Environment. (pdf) Carolyn Podruchny, History Department (York University, 2010)
  • Science, Environment and Society in the North. (pdf) Liza Piper, History (University of Alberta, 2008)
  • Canadian Cultural Landscapes. (pdf) Claire Campbell, Canadian Studies (Dalhousie University 2008)
  • Environmental History of North America (pdf) Sean Kheraj, History (University of British Columbia, 2008)
  • North American Environmental History. (pdf) Colin Coates and Susan Gray. (York University and Arizona State University 2008)
  • Specialized Historical Topics: Canadian Environmental History. (pdf) Bill Turkel. (University of Western Ontario – 2004).

Also see the H-Environment Syllabus Library.


Library and Archives Canada Image Search
-the image details page includes information on copyright and license holders.

McCord Museum Flickr Commons
-The British National Archive Flickr Commons collection also includes some photos from Canada.

You can often find some interesting images using a Google search. The advanced searchoption gives you more control and includes the option of searching for photos without copyright restrictions.

The photos included in Wikipedia articles are another great resourse, as most are licensed under Creative Commons. Click on an image in a Wikipedia article and it will provide more information and give you the opportunity to download a higher resolution image.

Finally, you can use the Creative Commons Search to find images and videos that you can legally re-post on websites and it provides the option to search Flickr, Google or the Wiki Commons.


Check with your local map librarian. As some of the best digital resources are sometimes behind paywalls, you should start by investigating the collection at your home institution.

The University of Toronto has a good online map collection and many of them are available to the public:

The David Rumsey Map Collection includes over 500 maps of Canada and many more of the United States and other parts of the world.


National Film Board “Green Channel” with online films

Also see: “Special Forum: Films Every Environmental Historian Should See” Environmental History (2007) 12(2): 280-293.

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