• Explore. Research. Conserve.
  • Costa Rica and Panama 2015 Field Course Starts June 15. Follow the adventures on our Facebook page
  • We are drowning in information while starving for wisdom. The world henceforth will be run by syntheizers, people able to put together the right information at the right time, think critically about it, and make importnat choices wisely. - Edward O. Wilson

Welcome to CHANCE

Today, humanity faces this reality – the environment is broken on local, state (province), national, and global scales most of which are a result of human impact on natural resources and ecosystems.

Penn State CHANCE is an environmental education and professional development outreach program that uses real-world experiences to challenge students to think critically about conservation issues while transforming them into the problem solvers that our society desperately needs.

About CHANCE »
Online Modules. Try one today

CHANCE Newswire

06 August 2015
Dr. McLaughlin in Costa Rica

The Society for Conservation Biology appoints Local Biology Professor

CHANCE Founding Director, Jacqueline McLaughlin, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biology at Penn State Lehigh Valley, has been appointed as a member of the Asian Section and the chair of the Education and Student Affairs Committee of the Society for Conservation Biology (SCB).
Read more »

23 July 2015

Street trees really do make people healthier

It’s easy enough to claim that being in nature makes people feel better. It certainly feels like it’s true. A weekend in the mountains, or even a few hours in a park after a long day at work, truly feels like it is somehow restorative. There are some good reasons to believe that green space...
Read more »

07 July 2015
Oil spill on waterwayAlgae Spill their Secrets to Aid Oil Cleanup
Oil and water famously don't mix, and yet it's very difficult to extricate the former from the latter. When light crude oil spills at sea, it rapidly spreads out into a thin sheen that is notoriously tough to clean up, especially when spills happen in remote areas. But the trick to doing so in an...
Read more from Conservation »

23 June 2015
Turtle hatchlings emerge from sand
CHANCE field course participant provides first hand account

New this year! Sarah Ann, one of the Costa Rica and Panama field course participants, is blogging about her experiences. She has been sharing photos, stories, and insight while on location.
Follow the adventure

06 May 2015
Accelerating Extinction Risk from Climate Change
In a study published Thursday in the journal Science, Mark Urban, an ecologist at the University of Connecticut, also found that as the planet warms in the future, species will disappear at an accelerating rate. Read New York Times article »


View All Newswire Features »

Field Courses

CHANCE Costa Rica/Panama 2015 Field Course

A Penn State University and Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS)/La Selva collaboration. The focus of this program, Conservation Biology and Sustainability of Select Tropical Ecosystems, which includes spring, 2015 online and summer, 2015 field course components, is to explore rainforest, coral reefs, sea grasses, and mangrove root ecosystems. The word explore is all encompassing here as it not only means to physically experience theses ecosystems with all the human senses open, but to question the phenomena that are affecting the maintenance, loss, and restoration of the biological diversity within these fragile environments through research. A highlight of the field course will be working with nesting sea turtles and hatchlings to ensure the recovery and sustainable management of depleted sea turtle populations worldwide. DATES for field course: June 15 - July 1, 2015
Visit field course website

OTS Jiangnan University logo Nanjing University logo

CHANCE China 2015 Field Course

A Penn State University, Jiangnan University (Wuxi, China), and Nanjing University (Nanjing, China) collaboration. The focus of this program is on China's fresh water supply and efforts needed to restore and conserve it. Twenty-four undergraduate students (8 from each university) will be selected from all three institutions to participate in a 17-day journey to study the Yangtze River watershed, which consists of the longest river in Asia and the third-largest in the world. Locations to be explored include: Shanghai; YiChang, Hubei Province; Wuxi, Suzhou and Nanjing, Jiangsu Province; and, Beijing. Field research will analyze efforts to reverse the pollution and resulting eutrophication of Lake Tai, China's third largest lake, as a result of the rapid economic growth in the surrounding cities of Wuxi and Suzhou. Also, all involved students and faculty will investigate the impact of urban development on the tributaries of the Yangzte in the Nanjing area. Highlights for this program include an international student-run panel discussion in Beijing on the sustainability of China's fresh water supply, and participation in a restoration project in the Yangtze watershed with members of Green Oasis, an NGO based in Shanghai.
DATES for field course: July 6-23, 2015.
Visit the field course website

Penn State University logo Jiangnan University logo Nanjing University logo


CHANCE Recognition

AAMVECONA logoCHANCE would like to recognize one of its partners, AMVEECONA, for its conservation work in San San Pond Sak Wetlands, Bocas del Toro, Panama.

The mission of this Non-Profit Organization (NGO) that was established in 2000 is to develop conservation activities that protect the ecosystems and the species that are found in the San San Pond Sak Wetlands through programs that are dedicated to improving the quality of life of the residents of the area.

The San San Pond Sak Wetland is a wetland of international importance with an area of 16,125 hectare and is one of several protected areas with major biological diversity in Panama. This wetland was designated a Protected Wetland in 1994 (Resolution J.D. 020-94, August 2, 1994), by the Renewable Natural Resources Institute (presently known as the National Environment Authority).

Together CHANCE and AMVEECONA have been working together since 2013 to conserve and protect several sea turtle species, collect data on hatchling success and viability, and to record and tag nesting sea turtles for worldwide data base analysis of population dynamics

Featured Video

PSU Global Programs 2015

Other CHANCE featured videos »


21 August 2015
CHANCE Fellow, LaurenCHANCE 2015 China Fellow, Shivani Priyam, is beginning her graduate studies at University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering this fall. She has been awarded a graduate assistantship to earn a Master's degree in Energy-Water-Environment Sustainability (EWES) -- a new cross-cutting program focused on providing and supporting sustainable solutions for the exploration, production, delivery and use of energy, and their intersection with water issues and the natural and built environment. Shivani's research interests lie in the development of technologies and decision-making tools that increase access to, and the sustainability of, environmental infrastructure. Her primary focus is on sanitation and the development of biotechnologies that manage wastewater as a renewable resource for energy production, chemical production, and nutrient and water recovery. By integrating experimentation, modeling, and quantitative sustainable design (QSD), her research group will leverage fundamental insights into molecular and cell-scale processes to advance sustainability, connecting technology innovation with broader societal initiatives for advancing energy, food security, health and nutrition in both developing and technologically advanced communities. GO Shivani, GO! The world needs you!!

Our Other Fellows »

Resources For Educators

06 August 2015
NABT Providence 2015 logo

NABT Poster Session Updates & Reminders

NABT has updated the calls for two of its special programs at the NABT Conference. Please see the information below for more information.

NABT Biology Poster Session: The Four-Year College & University Section of NABT invites you and your students to present research and exercises on teaching and learning biology at the NABT Biology Poster Session. This event will take place on Thursday, November 12th at the 2015 Professional Development Conference. Posters will be now be divided into three categories: General Faculty, Student Competition - Scholarship of Teaching and Learning and Student Competition - Mentored Undergraduate Research Competition.

Guidelines and updated instructions are available at 2015 Poster Session.

Graduate Students should also check out the recently added information on for the Graduate Student Travel Award sponsored by Vernier Software and Technology.

Global Perspectives Committee (GPS) Poster Session & Discussion Panel: The NABT Global Perspectives Committee will once again coordinate a workshop and poster session at the 2015 NABT Conference. The poster session will take place on Friday, November 13th in the exhibit hall and the workshop will take place on Saturday, November 14th. The theme for the 3rd annual poster session is Citizen Science: Conservation – Crossing Global Borders.

If you would like to submit a poster for this event, please send a title, names of author(s) with college/university affiliation(s), contact information, and an abstract (up to 200 words) to the committee secretary, Kandiss Schrader at kks15@psu.edu. Please use 2015 Global Perspectives Poster Proposal in the subject header.

The proposal submission deadline for all posters is August 15, 2015.
Visit NABT »

View All Educator Resources »

Resources For Students

13 August 2015
A streamRiparian Buffer Workshop
Join Penn State Extension for a Riparian Buffer Workshop to hear about how riparian buffers are the most crucial factor in improving stream health from the Stroud Water Research Center's latest research. Trees provide the best value in reducing stormwater runoff and urban pollution, thereby improving water quality and infiltration in a watershed.

The morning’s informative presentations preview a tour of the facilities 7 research laboratories. The afternoon brings participants to the outdoors to experience ongoing field research and the green infrastructure features of the new LEED Platinum Certified Moorhead Environmental Complex.

Registration Deadline: Sunday, September 20, 2015
Visit website »

07 July 2015
National Geographic Logo
Citizen Science: Contribute to a Common Good, Collaborate, Communicate by Doing Research!

Would you like to have unlimited access to be engaged in a variety of research projects of your own choice? — Would you like your undergraduate research to contribute to a significant public health, medical, environmental, or other socially significant cause? — Would you like your data to be publicly available on an open database that is well curated and maintained? — Would you like to be engaged in research throughout the calendar year? Citizen Science (CS) engages diverse participants in thousands of research projects on local, regional, national, and global scales in the collection, interpretation, and use of scientific data on a particular scientific problem.
Check our these National Geographic CS project recommendations »

23 May 2015
OTS Graduate Courses
OTS graduate courses are designed to engage students in the formulation of feasible research questions experimental design, data collection, analysis, and oral and written presentations through its highly regarded OTS "field problems" approach. The courses provide hands-on research experience in plant eco-physiology, microbial ecology, molecular ecology, remote sensing, rapid biodiversity inventories, and other cutting edge topics depending on the course chosen.
For more information »

OTS Undergraduate Courses
The OTS/Duke partnership offers you a comprehensive introduction to field biology, conservation policy and global health in a tremendous diversity of habitats. Instead of exploring nature and conservation issues via field trips and exercises, you will live in the forests, savannahs and communities that you are studying. In addition to the diversity of sites and ecosystems you visit, our courses expose you to a diversity of people, perspectives and approaches. Few experiences will give you better insight to the complexity, challenge, and excitement of doing science and applying the scientific process to the understanding of real ecosystems and their components.
For more information »

View All Student Resources »