• Cuba field course 2017
  • Costa Rica field course 2017
  • A newly planted tree
  • Great American Cleanup event photo

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 »

CHANCE Newswire

20 July 2017
Image of Larsen C ice shelf New Satellite Images Show Massive Antarctica Iceberg Slowly Drifting Out to Sea
One of the largest icebergs ever recorded broke free in Antarctica, and scientists are saying another collapse might have catastrophic consequences.
Read USA Today article »

20 July 2017
Satellite image of the Sundarbans coastal forest in Bangladesh, which is habitat for the endangered Bengal tiger. NASA
Energy Choices: What Should We Do About America's Energy Future?
High-resolution earth imagery has provided ecologists and conservationists with a dynamic new tool that is enabling everything from more accurate counting of wildlife populations to rapid detection of deforestation, illegal mining, and other changes in the landscape.
Read Yale Environment 360 article »

29 June 2017
Shady city street with pedestrians Designing Cities to Minimize the Urban Heat Island Effect
The world as a whole is getting hotter, and the cities where an ever-growing fraction of the global population lives are getting hotter still due to the urban heat island effect—the tendency for cities to be warmer than surrounding rural areas because building materials like concrete and asphalt trap heat.
Read Anthropocene article »

25 June 2017
Student researching in rainforest Schuylkill Campus Trio Conduct Environmental Research in Costa Rica
A few students from Penn State Schuylkill joined the Penn State CHANCE (Connecting Humans and Nature through Conservation Experiences) team in Costa Rica, conducting research and gathering some incredible images along the way.
Read Penn State Newswire »

21 June 2017
Mangrove Roots
Intact Mangroves Worth Twice as Much as Rice Paddies
In India's Bhitarkanika mangrove, researchers have made a surprising discovery: locals there can generate almost double the income from protecting the mangrove instead of converting it to rice paddies.
Read Anthropocene article »

View All Newswire Features »



Field Courses

Images from CubaCuba 2017 Field Course
July 7-15, 2017

This CHANCE field program, Environmental Protection, Conservation, and the Sustainability of Cuban Ecosystems with a Field Practicum in Cuba, is an immersive research and conservation journey in western Cuba. It is comprised of online education and an international field course. Participants will research the biodiversity of both terrestrial and marine protected habitats, the exploitation of environmental resources, and the policies and practices needed to enhance both Cuba’s current and future needs to sustain its natural ecosystems. The conservation efforts for this session include working in a sea turtle rookery.

Field Course Website »

Collage of kangaroo, sea turtle and rainforest photos
Australia 2018 Field Course
Summer 2018

Our first international field course partnership with James Cook University is titled: Conservation Biology and Global Citizenship - A Field Course in Select Natural World Heritage Sites of Australia. Field course website will be available end of 2017. Thank you for your patience while we coordinate our itinerary with our partners!


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

June 2017

The Ripple Effect.
Victoria (Torey) Vayer, TunaBarracuda Productions

"One person can make a difference. The Costa Rican mantra is Pura Vida, or Pure Life, but the way the world is going, there won't be much pure life left. The average rate of survival for sea turtles is 1/1000, but together we can more than double that rate and, with further research, help ensure the continued survival of the species. Join me on my journey to Costa Rica through the Penn State CHANCE program."

Other CHANCE featured videos »


CHANCE Fellows

28 February 2017 JoAnna receiving graduation accolades
CHANCE Fellow Continues Research on Ecosystems and Conservation

CHANCE 2014 Fellow, Victoria Vayer (Torey) is a recent graduate from Penn State majoring in biology. She is currently conducting research through the Penn State Ecosystem Sciences and Management Department, focusing on Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences. Her future plans include pursuing a Masters degree in Wildlife Management and Conservation Biology. Torey's quest is to continue sharing her experiences through educational video production. In her spare time, she is a backpacking leader for Penn State Aurora Orientation Programs. Thank you Torey, for putting so much of your creativity, talent, and time into the video you produced for CHANCE, The Ripple Effect. Tortugas siempre!!

Our Other Fellows »


Resources For Educators

20 July 2017
Ecology Project International logo EPI Teacher Fellowship - Professional Development Opportunity
Ecology Project International (EPI) is offering five unique Teacher Fellowships from March to August 2018 in Baja California Sur, Costa Rica, and Yellowstone National Park, for educators interested in honing their skills in field science and experiential education. The goals of the 8-day Fellowship programs are to:

  • Develop your familiarity with EPI’s approach to education through field science.
  • Celebrate and reconnect with the fundamentals of how students learn.
  • Provide unique experiences and activities to take back to your classroom.
  • Build a supportive network of science educators working towards similar goals.
  • Introduce you to EPI’s work and promote future student courses to our program sites.

The application period is now open, and will close on September 1st, 2017.
How to apply/register »

29 June 2017
Cover illustration for Smithsonian Institute Botany and Art
Botany and Art and Their Roles in Conservation
This resource, created by the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access, includes extensive background on botanical illustration, discussing artistic techniques along with methods for determining at-risk status for plant species. This includes several example illustrations, historical accounts, and student-led illustration activities. Also available are a 1-hour webinar on the subject and a link to a website with more information on botanical illustration and conservation. This resource is intended to introduce students to lesser-known side of botanical conservation and to integrate artistic expression with environmental education.
Visit website »

View All Educator Resources »


Resources For Students

19 July 2017

US Forest Service & NAAEE 2017 Young Professionals Diversity and Inclusion Scholarship

The North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) is seeking to support 6 young professionals from racially or ethnically diverse backgrounds to attend the NAAEE’s 46th Annual Conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico, October 18th – 21st, 2017.

NAAEE and the U.S. Forest Service share a goal of increasing diversity within the field of environmental education (EE). Through a participating agreement with the U.S. Forest Service, NAAEE will support scholarships for six young professionals who are seeking to initiate or progress their careers within the field through participation in professional development workshops, trainings, and networking opportunities with EE professionals from diverse cultures and communities.

NAAEE is dedicated to achieving greater diversity and inclusion within its own organization and to promoting principles that help build a more diverse and inclusive environmental movement, with a focus on promoting ecological integrity, economic prosperity, and social equity for all. Through the conference, NAAEE hopes to provide resources and opportunities for young professionals seeking to launch their careers in the field of EE or to become more established educators.

Six scholarship recipients will receive support to cover:

  • The conference registration fee
  • Round-trip airfare and/or ground transportation
  • Three nights of lodging, beginning Wednesday, October 18th, with a check out date of Saturday, October 21st.  All recipients will have their own rooms. Attendees will be responsible for supplying a credit or debit card for incidentals upon check-in.
  • Meals and ground transportation. These costs will be reimbursed after the event, upon proof of purchase (an invoice or receipt). Some of these costs will need to be covered out-of-pocket by the individuals if they exceed the total scholarship amount, though the conference registration fee does include two evening receptions and two lunches. All events associated with the conference are within walking distance, however special accommodations may be provided upon request.

Scholarship attendees will be required to attend all plenary/keynote sessions, a number of specific U.S. Forest Service sessions, which will be shared prior to the event, and the awards luncheon on Saturday.

Complete an application no later than Monday, August 14, 2017 at 11:59 PM PDT.

Apply/Register »

13 June 2017
Smith Fellows Logo
Smith Fellows 2018 Call for Proposals Announced
The Society for Conservation Biology is pleased to solicit applications for the David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellowship Program. These two year postdoctoral fellowships provide support for outstanding early-career scientists of any nationality who want to better link conservation science and theory with policy and management, improving and expanding their research skills while directing their efforts towards conservation problems of pressing concern for the United States.

Fellows will spend up to three weeks per year during their fellowship attending Program-sponsored professional development retreats. These retreats provide opportunities to cultivate skills typically not covered during their academic education including: leadership, communications, professional and funder networks, and to gain better understanding of policy making and application of research.

Fellows are selected on the basis of innovation, potential for leadership and strength of proposal. The deadline for receipt of application materials is 8 September 2017. The Program expects to select five Fellows in January 2018 for appointments to start between March and September 2018. Fellowship awards include an annual salary of $55,000, benefits, and generous travel and research budgets.

For detailed proposal guidelines visit »

View All Student Resources »