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 and summer programs in Bhutan give students a broad exposure to the core areas of environment, culture, development, and governance in Bhutan. Students apply conceptual, analytical, and technical skills to help address questions related to natural resource-based livelihoods, conservation of biodiversity, and ecological vulnerabilities. The program curriculum and research agenda address issues related to modernization in Bhutan: the support of rural livelihoods and the conservation of biodiversity in the face of a changing society and landscape. SEMESTER PROGRAM Environment and Society in Transition In Bhutan, a Himalayan country characterized by towering mountains, lush forests, and a unique cultural heritage, progress and development is evaluated on the basis of cultural preservation and environmental conservation rather than purely economic achievements. Student research will focus on enhancing the condition of forest, river, and mountain ecosystems while balancing the processes of modernization and cultural preservation. SUMMER PROGRAM The summer course is 6 weeks. Eastern Himalayan Forests and Rural Livelihoods Traveling throughout Bhutan, students learn about culture and history, religious traditions, environmental issues, and conservation policies. Students explore the role environmental services and natural resources play in rural livelihood and national development. Students conduct research on Bhutan’s primary environmental concerns, including sustainable forestry, watershed management, and rural development.
The School for Field Studies (SFS) semester and summer programs in Tanzania allow students to examine the drivers of habitat degradation and land-use change, as well as the implications for both local economic livelihoods and wildlife conservation. Students gain a general overview of cultural perceptions, conservation issues, wildlife dispersal areas, and biodiversity conservation in Tanzania, and have a chance to learn and apply in the field multiple techniques and approaches to studying wildlife, natural resources, and ecosystems. SEMESTER PROGRAM The curriculum and research of the Wildlife Management Studies semester program focus on determining how changes in land-use and resource availability in the Maasai steppe ecosystems can be managed in such a way as to foster the well-being of local communities while safeguarding and promoting biodiversity conservation. SUMMER PROGRAMS Each 4-credit session can be taken individually or in combination. Session I: Wildlife Management and Conservation Students in this program are exposed to wildlife management practices and the complex issues involving sustainable wildlife conservation in the Tarangire-Manyara ecosystem of Tanzania. The course combines concepts and principles of ecology, natural resource management, and socioeconomics which are central to effective and sustainable wildlife conservation. During the course, students develop skills to explore the ecology, social organization, and behavior of common African large mammals. Session II: Techniques for Wildlife Field Research Students learn a suite of wildlife field techniques and methods routinely used to assess wildlife ecology and management policies and practices in East Africa with specific application to the Tanzania Tarangire-Manyara ecosystem conservation areas. The focus is multidisciplinary and reflects the complex realities of balancing ecological, economic, and socio-cultural factors in sustainable wildlife conservation and management studies.