The School for Field Studies (SFS) semester and summer programs in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) provide students with the opportunity to conduct field research that provides the local government, community, and tourism developers with recommendations that will help sustain the economic, social, and ecological stability of South Caicos. Snorkeling and SCUBA diving in waters surrounding South Caicos, students learn to identify and observe the behavior of marine species, assess coastal and marine habitats, and quantify fisheries resources through hours of training, observation, and study in the water. SEMESTER PROGRAM TCI has an extensive network of 34 protected areas, but little is known about their function and effectiveness. With the Admiral Cockburn Land and Sea National Park and East Harbour Lobster and Conch Reserve at their doorstep, students evaluate the concept and practice of marine protected areas (MPAs) as a resource management tool. Through field observation, exercises, and research, students will gain the concepts, skills, and data to understand the marine ecosystems , island community dynamics, and resource management. SUMMER PROGRAMS Each 4-credit summer session may be taken individually or in combination. Session I: Tropical Marine Ecosystems: Monitoring and Management Students in this study abroad program will learn about key aspects of environmental assessment and management of tropical marine ecosystems and explore sustainable development strategies for the Turks and Caicos at a local and global scale. Students support the work of our clients and stakeholders, who range from local fishers to members of key government agencies. Session II: Applied Marine Research Techniques Students in this study abroad program will learn about developing scientific approaches to identify key problems affecting the health of coral reefs, seagrass beds, and mangrove forests that surround the island Students support the work of our clients and stakeholders, who range from local fishers to members of key government agencies.
Bocas Del Toro, Panama
The School for Field Studies (SFS) semester and summer programs in Bocas del Toro provides students with an exciting opportunity to conduct research and explore the rural Caribbean and the isthmus of Panama. Bocas del Toro is home to biologically diverse marine and terrestrial ecosystems, such as coral reefs, mangrove cays, white sand beaches, and tropical rainforests. However, poor management of both the development of these areas and the subsequent resource use by residents and tourists has put increasing pressures on these ecosystems, threatening the human, animal, and plant communities that depend on them. The curriculum of the program focuses on defining key island systems, both natural and human, and how they interface. Our research in Bocas del Toro has already revealed patterns and processes at the nexus of biodiversity, conservation, and human welfare that merit ongoing study. Through field observations and research, students identify and understand the pressures, both direct and indirect, on the environment and social systems. SEMESTER PROGRAM The central theme of the semester program is "islands as a delicate system," with emphasis on the resources of Panama's coastal and marine environments. Students will explore several key interfaces: human and natural systems, terrestrial and marine ecosystems, and conservation and development. SUMMER PROGRAM This 4-credit summer session may be taken individually or in combination with a Session II course. Session I: Tourism and Island Systems: Assessment of Sustainable Practices Students in this summer program examine key aspects of tourism and environmental assessment of tropical ecosystems, and explore sustainable development strategies for the Bocas del Toro Archipelago at local and global scales.
The School for Field Studies (SFS) semester program in Peru seeks to understand the conflicts and synergies of conservation and development in western Amazonia and the adjacent Andean highlands. Students learn firsthand about the ecological patterns and processes that underpin the extraordinary biodiversity of the Andes-Amazon region along the eastern slope of the Peruvian Andes, as well as the effects of climate change and land use on regional and global biodiversity and human well-being. Through coursework, field exercises, and Directed Research, students experience the richness of the Andes-Amazon region, study community dependence on the environment, examine threats to the environment and to social networks, and explore the tools and strategies that both mitigate threats and promote well-being among different communities. Our research projects are geared towards identifying the range of socio-ecological issues, as well as basic questions about biodiversity, that help us guide and inform the program's research agenda.