Ecology and Conservation of Southeast Asian Elephants
This 4-week program focuses on the ecology and conservation of the Asian elephant. Due to a drastic decrease in wild elephant populations, the reality of a world without these charismatic megafauna is becoming a likely possibility. In Asia this is primarily due to a booming human population and increased demand for space. Elephants are of great scientific interest due to their complex behaviors associated with intelligence and social interactions, forming deep family bonds and displaying empathy by recognizing and responding to another elephant’s pain or problem and showing signs of grief after the loss of a family member. Saving the elephants requires improved scientific understanding of the species and the increasingly complex environment that they inhabit.
During part of the program, students are based at the NGO E.L.I.E and their sanctuary, the Elephant Valley Project, located within Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary in Mondulkiri Province. The Elephant Valley Project is an elephant sanctuary that cares for injured and overworked elephants in a landscape where they forage naturally and roam the surrounding grassy hilltops and lush evergreen and mixed deciduous forests. You will spend time each day with the skilled and professional Bunong elephant caretakers, known as mahouts, who are the core of the sanctuary and have a deep connection with their elephants. You will also join volunteers for meals and, in your free time, you will have the opportunity to participate in scheduled volunteer activities.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.