• NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS! Australia field course 2018
  • A newly planted tree
  • Costa Rica field course 2017

Welcome to CHANCE

Today, humanity faces this reality – the environment is broken, most of which is a result of negative human impact on the health (loss of biodiversity) of our world's ecosystems.

CHANCE (Connecting Humans and Nature through Conservation Experiences) is an accredited environmental education and engaged scholarship program, whose overarching goal is to teach conservation biology and global sustainability at the frontline. To do this, CHANCE creates unique learning environments which include international field courses and online research modules that immerse its participants, students and teachers, in real-world research and conservation efforts.

The ultimate goal of CHANCE is to prepare global-minded citizens who understand the importance of restoring and protecting the biodiversity of our planet's ecosystems, and who are willing to address the challenges of our time such as energy, air, food, water, and climate change through their efforts.

Since ecosystems cross national borders, CHANCE strives to view, and to define sustainable answers for, environmental realities from a global perspective.

About CHANCE »
Online Modules. Try one today

Donate To CHANCE

Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to one of our CHANCE Funds. We can now accept online donations through the support of Penn State University’s secure online forms. Visit our Donate page to learn more.

Donate Today »

Field Courses

Sustainability and Conservation: Citizen Science
and Service Learning in Australia

June 24 - July 9, 2018

Our first international field course to Australia is in partnership with James Cook University and AUIP Study Abroad. This two-week field, summer program provides real-world, conservation-based research and service-learning experiences. Participants will travel to stunning national parks, forests, wildlife reserves, coastlines, and islands of North Queensland under the guidance of knowledgeable field professionals, scientists, and university faculty.

Applications will be accepted until March 30, 2018.

Learn more and apply »

CHANCE Newswire

30 January 2018
Plastic bag in coral
Plastic waste is sickening corals. PHOTO: RICHARD WHITCOMBE/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

Corals Wrapped in Plastic
Plastic waste is sickening corals. Coral reefs provide vital fisheries and coastal defense, and they urgently need protection from the damaging effects of plastic waste. Lamb et al. surveyed 159 coral reefs in the Asia-Pacific region. Billions of plastic items were entangled in the reefs. The more spikey the coral species, the more likely they were to snag plastic. Disease likelihood increased 20-fold once a coral was draped in plastic. Plastic debris stresses coral through light deprivation, toxin release, and anoxia, giving pathogens a foothold for invasion.
Read Science article »

19 January 2018
Plants under large lamps
Fast-tracking crop growth to feed the world
An experimental NASA technology that saturates plants with light could trick them into growing faster--and vitally, producing more food. In a recent Nature Plants paper, the Australian and United Kingdom research team explain how their technique, called ‘speed-breeding’, artificially exposes plants to long periods of daylight, boosting photosynthesis to coax them into growing faster and producing more food. So far, the technique has succeeded in tripling the production of staple crops like wheat, barley, and chickpeas.
Read Anthropocene article »

04 January 2018
Ice covered lighthouse
Linking Extreme Weather to Climate Change Could Help Curb Carbon Emissions
There’s evidence that extreme weather and long-term changes in the local climate can increase people’s concerns about climate change. Media coverage of distant extreme weather events can also raise awareness and concern.
Read Anthropocene article »

07 December 2017
Dust storm
A dust storm approaches Phoenix. ALAN STARK/FLICKR
Climate Connection: Unraveling the Surprising Ecology of Dust
As droughts intensify and development expands, the amount of dust blowing around the earth is increasing, affecting everything from mountain snowmelt to the spread of disease. Scientists are just beginning to understand the complex dynamics of dust in a warming world.
Read Yale Environment 360 article »

07 December 2017
As Oceans Warm, the World’s Kelp Forests Begin to Disappear
Kelp forests — luxuriant coastal ecosystems that are home to a wide variety of marine biodiversity — are being wiped out from Tasmania to California, replaced by sea urchin barrens that are nearly devoid of life.
Read Yale Environment 360 article »

View All Newswire Features »

Featured Sponsor

Sanofi Pasteur logo

With gratitude, CHANCE would like to recognize Sanofi Pasteur for its generous support of environmental education through the Penn State CHANCE program.

Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi, provides more than 1 billion doses of vaccine each year, making it possible to immunize more than 500 million people across the globe. A world leader in the vaccine industry, Sanofi Pasteur produces a portfolio of high quality vaccines that matches its areas of expertise and meets public health demand. The company's heritage, to create vaccines that protect life, dates back more than a century. Sanofi Pasteur is the largest company entirely dedicated to vaccines. Every day, the company invests more than EUR 1 million in research and development.

Sanofi Pasteur’s recent charitable donation to the CHANCE Field Course Fund has helped defray the cost for undergraduate students and teachers from across Pennsylvania to travel to Costa Rica and Cuba this summer to participate in the 2017 programs -- Conservation and Sustainability of the Tropical Rainforest with a Field Practicum in Costa Rica and Environmental Protection, Conservation, and the Sustainability of Cuban Ecosystems with a Field Practicum in Cuba. Assessment data (soon to be published) has shown that CHANCE field research and conservation service-oriented activities benefit our teachers and students: by enhancing their understanding of the field of conservation biology, valuing biodiversity, inciting motivation to partake in future actions as informed citizens, and much more.

Featured Video

October 2017

Chasing Antarctic Ice

The man who showed the world melting Arctic ice in the Oscar-nominated documentary Chasing Ice moves his time-lapse photo project toward the South Pole. James Balog, aboard the Lindblad Expeditions ship National Geographic Explorer, sailed to Antarctica to strategically place cameras to document receding ice. 

(Originally posted on National Geographic March 24, 2014)

Other CHANCE featured videos »

CHANCE Fellows

06 November 2017 CHANCE Fellow holding sea turtle

CHANCE Fellow Continues Marine Biodiversity Research

CHANCE 2016 Costa Rica Fellow, Kelly Watson, is a senior at Penn State, University Park majoring in General Biology with a Marine Science minor. Since her CHANCE trip, she has participated in two other study abroad programs through Penn State – a week-long trip to Curacao studying Caribbean coral reefs and a week-long sailing voyage around Puerto Rico studying biological oceanography with Sea Education Association. Recently earning certifications as a PADI Open Water Scuba Diver and a NAUI Rescue Diver, she continues to pursue both NAUI Advanced Scuba Diver and AUS Scientific Diver training and certification. Presently, Kelly is carrying out undergraduate research in the Medina lab focusing on the gene expression and development of Cassiopeia xamachana (upside-down jellyfish) and its symbiotic algae, Symbiodinium. In addition to this project, she is study the biodiversity of fish in the North Atlantic and Northern Caribbean using water samples containing eDNA collected from her sailing trip. In the future, Kelly plans to use her science background and knowledge of the marine world to educate the public about climate change and reduce the effects of anthropogenic changes. Go Kelly!!

Our Other Fellows »

Resources For Educators

30 January 2018
Apply Now for the 2018 EE Local Grant Program
Up to $3 million in funding for locally-focused environmental education grants is now available. EPA expects to award three to four grants in each of EPA's ten Regions, for no less than $50,000 and no more than $100,000 each, for a total of 30-35 grants nationwide.Through this grant program, EPA intends to provide financial support for projects that design, demonstrate, and/or disseminate environmental education practices, methods, or techniques, that will serve to increase environmental and conservation literacy and encourage behavior that will benefit the environment. Proposals are due March 15, 2018.
Learn more »

25 January 2018
NABT event logo
Call for Proposals: NABT2018 in (warm and sunny) San Diego
Submit your session proposal online at NABT2018 Session Proposals. NABT will accept sessions until 11:59 PM Eastern Time on Thursday, March 15, 2018.

The NABT Professional Development Committee is looking for sessions that cover a full range of topics relevant to biology and life science education. In addition to content-specific sessions, presentations highlighting instructional strategies and science practices are encouraged. Formats in this call for proposals include 30 and 75-minute options in a variety of formats. All sessions will be reviewed and acceptance notifications will be emailed to primary presenters by May 1, 2018.

Submit a proposal »

20 January 2018
Ocean tracks logo

Ocean Tracks Curriculum
Targeted for undergraduates but also appropriate for high school students, this curriculum from the Education Development Center’s Oceans of Data Institute and its partners teaches students how to use the Ocean Tracks map interface to explore authentic scientific data - including environmental and tracking data for elephant seals, Laysan Albatross, white sharks, and tuna. Through learning modules, students develop skills in analyzing data, spotting patterns, and extracting useful information from big datasets. Titles include Fact of Artifact? Interpreting Patterns in Ocean Tracks Data; Faster, Farther, Deeper: Exploring the Physiology of Highly Migratory Ocean Predators; Do You Come Here Often? The Making of Biological Hotspots; Saving Sharks; Proposing a New Marine Protected Area; and What’s Up in the Pacific Ocean? Connecting Productivity and Tuna Migration.
Access educational materials »

View All Educator Resources »

Resources For Students

19 January 2018
Grant Logo

Sigma Xi Grants-in-Aid of Research (GIAR) Program
Undergraduate and graduate students are invited to apply for research funding through the Grants-in-Aid of Research (GIAR) program. Applications are now being accepted for the spring 2018 grant cycle in numerous STEM related disciplines.

The program awards grants of up to $1,000 to students from all areas of the sciences and engineering. Designated funds from the National Academy of Sciences allow for grants of up to $5,000 for astronomy research and $2,500 for vision related research. Students use the funding to pay for travel expenses to and from a research site, or for purchase of non-standard laboratory equipment necessary to complete a specific research project.

The deadline to submit applications is March 15, 2018 at 11:59 pm Pacific Time.

Learn more »

View All Student Resources »