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 Queensland, Australia, provide exciting opportunities for students to study and work hands-on in rainforest management and restoration in the country’s tropical rainforest. SFS students, in collaboration with local landholders and stakeholder organizations, focus on enhancing the condition of tropical rainforests, as well as determining how to regenerate and restore the rainforest in the region.
The program curriculum and research agenda address a critical local and regional environmental problem--loss and fragmentation of once extensive rainforests--and examine environmental policies related to the issue on local and national levels. SFS staff and students, in collaboration with local landholders and stakeholder organizations, focus on enhancing the condition of coastal rainforests, as well as determining how to regenerate and restore the rainforest on the Atherton Tablelands.
Each 4-credit session can be taken individually or in combination.
Session I: Rainforest Management Studies in Australia & New Zealand
Large areas of northeastern Queensland, Australia, and northern New Zealand were once covered in spectacular rainforests. In New Zealand, students discover its critically endangered flora and fauna and the impacts that have led to their decline. In Australia, students take their New Zealand experiences and examine similarities and differences in political structure, co-management arrangements, land-use patterns, and biogeography.
Session II: Techniques for Rainforest Research in Australia
Students explore Australia’s tropical rainforests, examine the effects of fragmentation in highly endangered rainforest systems, and develop effective field research skills in multiple disciplines while learning about rainforest restoration and conservation.
The School for Field Studies (SFS) semester and summer programs in Costa Rica provide the opportunity for students to examine the effects of globalization on classic development issues such as agriculture, biodiversity protection, economic development, urban sprawl, population growth, waste management, and water resources. Student research analyzes different development and resource management models that protect the biodiversity of Costa Rica’s ecosystems while promoting socioeconomic benefits for its people.
The semester program focuses on evaluating the actual success of Costa Rica’s world-renowned conservation systems and developing alternative strategies for economic development and biodiversity conservation, such as land-use planning, organic agriculture, and conservation outside of protected areas.
Each 4-credit summer session may be taken individually or in combination.
Session I: Sustaining Tropical Ecosystems: Biodiversity, Conservation, & Development
Student research will focus on examining the impacts of development on the environment and on society by understanding key historical and current aspects of sustainable development strategies in Costa Rica, coupled with knowledge of tropical ecosystem function and connectivity.
Session II: Applied Research Techniques & Strategies Toward Sustainability
The focus of this program is on developing relevant research questions that address these local issues related to sustainability. Students will be directly involved in designing and conducting field research on a topic of immediate relevance to local clients and proposing alternative approaches toward sustainable development in an effort to help address challenges to conservation goals.