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The Renaissance Institute at Boise State University presents three courses this spring that delve into ethics and public policy, Idaho's desert lands and backyard landscape and design.

In its third year, the Renaissance Institute, working in conjunction with community organizations and Boise State University's Division of Extended Studies, brings mature learners together to expand their intellectual horizons and enrich their lives. The program serves the adult community with continuing learning opportunities through college-level lectures and short courses chosen to stimulate intellectual discussion and deepen understanding.

The spring 2005 courses include:

Ethics and Public Policy--Patty Fredericksen, associate professor in Boise State's Department of Public Policy and Administration and the Department of Political Science, leads this course that explores compelling traditions of moral philosophy through application to topics such as violence, deception, liberty, security and social morality. March 1, 8, 15 and 29, 10 a.m. to noon at The Flicks, 646 Fulton St.

Principles of Landscape Design and Native Plants--Need help with an existing landscape or plan to build a splendid Butchart Garden in your backyard this spring? This course focuses on basic landscaping principles, effective color usage and water conserving techniques. April 4, 11, 18 and 26, 10 a.m. to noon, Ada County Extension Division classroom, 5880 Glenwood.

Desert Migrations--Todd Shallat, director of the Center for Idaho History and Politics at Boise State, discusses rock art, fire making, tool making, homesteading and more in this one-day course on 10,000 years of desert history in Idaho's remarkable classroom, Celebration Park. April 25.

Annual membership to the Renaissance Institute is $50, $35 for a second family member. One-season memberships are also available for $30. Membership assures seating at the lectures in the lecture series. Because of the added costs to the Institute, there is an additional fee of $40 for each spring course. For additional information or to request a scholarship application, call Extended Studies at 426-1709 or visit