WIDECAST Rainforest and Reef Costa Rica Organization for Tropical Studies Penn State Lehigh Valley

2014 CHANCE Costa Rica and Panama Program

Program Description:

The 2014 CHANCE program consists of two courses: Biology 496(B) – Conservation Biology and Sustainability of Select Tropical Ecosystems and Biology 496(C) – A Field Practicum in Costa Rica and Panama. Taken together, but sequentially, these courses will allow undergraduate and graduate students, and in-service teachers to earn credits or hours in biology that will prepare them to better understand the challenges of conservation biology (the scientific study of the phenomena that affect the maintenance, loss, and restoration of biological diversity) and global sustainability (the pursuit of human health and happiness, environmental quality, and economic well-being for current and future generations). To do this, both courses create unique learning environments which immerse participants, students and teachers, in real-world research and conservation efforts using inquiry-based strategies and interdisciplinary approaches.

Biology 496(B) - Conservation Biology and Sustainability of Select Tropical Ecosystems.
Through innovative online instruction during the late spring semester, 2014, all participants will engage in learning opportunities and lessons which will enhance their pre-field-trip knowledge in the following content areas: the biodiversity of the ecosystems to be explored (jungles – lowland, highland, and cloud tropical forests; mangroves; sea grasses; and, coral reefs); the research behind the conservation of these ecosystems; the natural history and plight of sea turtle  populations worldwide; the conservation and scientific work of two non-governmental organizations (NGOs) – Organization for Tropical Studies/La Selva and WIDECAST; and, the geography, culture, government, educational and environmental policies, and indigenous people of Costa Rica and Panama.

Biology 496(C) - A Field Practicum in Costa Rica and Panama.
The two and one-half week field summer practicum (June 7 – 22, 2014) will provide real-world research and conservation experiences – that are chaperoned by Organization for Tropical Studies/La Selva field-based scientists – which focus on tropical rain forest ecosystem biodiversity and dynamics. As participants progress through the program they will also learn how conservation efforts and scientific research are key components to solving the global challenges of sustainability. A highlight of this embedded field course will be working with nesting sea turtles and hatchlings along with members of WIDECAST, an expert network of biologists, managers, community leaders and educators in more than 40 nations and territories committed to an integrated, regional capacity that ensures the recovery and sustainable management of depleted sea turtle populations, so as to help sustain these endangered animals.

CHANCE welcomes not only Pennsylvania applicants, but high school in-service and pre-service teachers from throughout the United States and the world to apply for the 2014 CHANCE program.

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