Cris Hochwender teaches several courses connected to environmental studies, including an environmental perspectives course, the Science of Environmental Pollutants, and a research-based ecology course. He also teaches two summer courses in field botany. These courses are hands-on with an intentional focus on outdoor experiences. Like the rest of the faculty members who teach in the environmental studies program, Professor Hochwender recognizes that the experience students gain from lab projects and through field trips provide them with exciting challenges that add other dimensions to their education. In addition to the courses he teaches, Professor Hochwender conducts ecological research in Indiana. Recently, several undergraduate students spent the summer at the Vectren Conservation Park (UE's environmental research site) examining the role of the native community on invasion by nonnative plant species. Students contribute to every aspect of these type of investigations. Their scientific experience includes reading literature, developing research protocols, and collecting and analyzing data. Research experiences typically culminate in developing presentations for regional and national conferences.