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|Program Sponsor:||Field Studies|
|Courses Offered:||Click here to view|
|Dates / Deadlines:|
|Term||Year||App Deadline||Decision Date||Start Date||End Date|
|Language of Instruction:||English||Class Eligibility:||2-Sophomore, 3-Junior, 4-Senior (fall only)|
|Minimum GPA:||2.8||Housing Options:||Dorms|
|Maximum Credits Earned (per semester):||4.0||Academic Area of Study:||Biology, Environmental Science, Environmental Studies, Latin American Studies, Spanish|
|Foreign Laguage Prerequisite:||1 semester (college) of Spanish|
School for Field Studies - Costa Rica
Sustainable Development Studies
Weed species (hearty, adaptive, fast-proliferating species such as deer, rats, kudzu) thrive in a number of different environments and can overwhelm indigenous species if the conditions are right. Reduced habitat, pollution, strained resources - the hallmarks of unsustainable industrial development - can pitch a delicately balanced ecosystem into a precipitous decline. It?s still life but homogenized life where the web will become just a few common strands that can be found nearly anywhere, replacing and sometimes completely extinguishing thousands of species, forever. It?s the difference between always finding franchised fastfood with only slight local variations on the menu vs authentic, regional cuisine crafted by local people.
While Costa Rica is internationally recognized for its efforts to ensure biodiversity and protect natural resources, the country has experienced significant resource degradation linked to population growth, industry, and development ? all of which threaten to ruin this tropical paradise, and in turn, economic opportunities. The country supports more than 5% of the world?s biodiversity and boasts 230 different protected areas (about 25% of the country). The cloud forests, rainforests, volcanoes, and mountain plains here shelter as many as 6,000 plant species, including at least 1,000 orchids alone. More than 500 species of butterflies and over 800 bird species, such as quetzals, toucans, hummingbirds, and scarlet macaws, are found in the wet and/or dry forests. The magnificent beaches bordering both coasts are among the world?s largest-known nesting grounds for sea turtles.
Study tropical ecology, economics, and understand the socio-cultural issues related to the natural resource management challenges in world-renowned protected areas. Study with local Costa Rican park rangers, farmers, and top environmental officials to understand the challenges of maintaining the biodiversity of the country. Travel to
Costa Rica is currently undergoing a period of great economic and social change. As this resource-rich, wonderfully biodiverse country continues along a path of rapid development, it is becoming increasingly influenced by global policy such as the Central American Fair Trade Act (CAFTA) and foreign markets.
Students will examine the effects of globalization on classic sustainability issues such as agro-ecology, national park protection, economic development, urban sprawl, population growth, trash management andair quality, among others. Students? classes and research focus on evaluating the success of Costa Rica?s world-renowned management systems as well as developing alternative strategies, such as sustainable practices and organic agriculture as an alternative to poaching around national parks, that conserve biodiversity and protect natural resources. Visits to cloud forests, dry forests, volcanic parks, lowland rainforests, and plantations offer opportunities to examine management schemes, identify the benefits of protected areas, and determine which systems offer the best option for economic development, the maintenance of cultural norms, and the preservation of biodiversity. Understanding the forces that are driving Costa Rica?s policies as well as those driving change, will be key as students analyze potential natural resource solutions for Costa Rica, and hopefully, beyond.
Field Trips, Lectures, and Exercises
The interdisciplinary approach to our research teaches students about tropical ecology, agro-ecology, socioeconomics, sustainability, park management, natural resource management, ecological economics, and Costa Rican history, culture, and the Spanish language. Possible field trips, lectures, and exercises include:
Student Directed Research Project Examples
Student Research Contributions
Get Involved with the Local Community
Community needs are the impetus behind our research goals. Conversations and collaborations with local residents, small business owners, and farmers to better understand their perspectives and needs provide the framework for SFS research plans. Activities might include:
Applicants for semester programs must have completed at least one college level course in ecology or environmental studies, and are encouraged to have taken coursework in statistics, international development, economics, or anthropology. Students must have completed at least one college level course in Spanish or otherwise demonstrate a working knowledge of conversational Spanish prior to participating.
*Language, Culture and Society of Costa Rica (LS) 205E offers listening, oral, and written practice of Spanish at beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels of proficiency. Written grammar and vocabulary exercises help students develop Spanish language skills and tools required for their course work and research projects. The socio-culture module helps students develop a more refined understanding of Costa Rican culture.
SFS AT WORK
Visit our Web site for a photo tour of our field station: www.fieldstudies.org
Semester students are registered in five academic courses accredited through
Course No. Name Credits
EE(NS) 377 Tropical Ecology and Sustainable Development 04
EE(SS) 303 Economic & Ethical Issues in Sustainable Development 04
EE(NS) 374 Principles of Resource Management 04
EE 491 or 492 Directed Research 04
(LS) 205E Language, Culture, and Society of
tuition and fees
room and board
pre-departure and on-site orientations
The program fee does not include primary health insurance, airfare, optional travel, personal expenses, books or supplies.
Professor Carol Loeffler
P.O. Box 1773
Carlisle, PA 17013-2896
Phone: (717) 245-1360