Drexel Spring Break in Ecuador: Tropical Field Studies
This unique field study course gives students hands-on experience in the ecology of tropical rain forests. Tropical Field Studies will explore the physical and biological factors that result in the formation of these forests, and their impressively high biodiversity. We will be based in a global biodiversity hot-spot in eastern Ecuador (Amazon basin), with a short visit to beautiful cloud forest in the Andes mountains. Students will explore some of the key animal and plant players in these ecosystems and their complex interactions. Students will also consider the effect of human impacts on these forests, and how development processes affect local communities. Teaching methods will include faculty and guest lectures by local experts, immersive hands-on field teaching modules, and research papers.
By completing this Intensive Course Abroad, students will:
- Gain a first-hand experiential understanding of the environmental factors that contribute to the formation of tropical forests and the ecological principles that govern their function.
- Obtain knowledge of tropical ecology through field studies in tropical forests.
- Develop an understanding of the challenges faced by tropical forest managers in light of modern development pressures.
- Develop the student’s awareness of the increasing threat to the world’s biodiversity due to ongoing destruction of the tropical forests.
Credit/Registration: Students will be registered for ENVS 323 or ENVS 523 Tropical Field Studies 3 credits as part of their spring term course load. Students must leave room for the 3 credits in their spring credit load when registering for spring term, or will be billed for credits exceeding the 20 credit maximum. Graduate students will be billed for 3 Drexel credits at their normal rate.
Instructor: Sean O'Donnell, Professor in Drexel's Department of Biodiversity, Earth & Environmental Science
Arrival Date: March 24, 2019
Departure Date: March 31, 2019
*Students may extend their travel independently before or after program dates.
Itinerary Overview: Daytime and night time field trips and observation periods
March 24 (Sun): Evening general introduction/orientation at hotel: Ecology in tropical America
March 25 (Mon): Travel day, opportunistic natural history while in transit. Optional short night hike.
March 26 (Tue): At Tiputini Station: In-field teaching- habitats and ecology of Amazonian rain forests.
Evening station staff lecture.
March 27 (Weds): At Tiputini Station: In-field teaching- vertebrates, seed dispersal and pollination.
Evening night walk: Nocturnal ecology and evolution.
March 28 (Thurs): At Tiputini Station: In-field teaching- social insects.
Opportunistic natural history on evening boat trip on Tiputini river.
March 29 (Fri): Travel day, opportunistic natural history while in transit.
Evening wrap-up discussion; hand in journals.
March 30 (Sat): Guango Lodge cloud forest visit
March 31 (Sun): Depart for US
Due Nov. 15th: $500 Advance Payment + $25 application fee
Due Jan. 15th: $850 Final Payment
*All payments are non-refundable unless declined admission or program cancels for unforeseen reasons.
Included in Program Fee:
- 7 nights lodging
- All meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner)
- Local ground and boat transportation
- In-country flight
- Park entrance fees
- Field supplies
- Cultural activity
- On Call Emergency Assistance insurance
Not Included in Program Fee (estimated):
- R/T airfare to Ecuador (approx $800)
- Passport ($135)
- Meals on arrival/departure days ($30)
- Course materials ($20)
- Spending money ($100)
- Mandatory Yellow Fever Vaccine ($150-$300)
- Taxi to/from Quito Hotel ($40)
- Normal Drexel Tuition. Graduate students billed for 3 Drexel credits.
- US Citizens are not required to obtain a visa for entry to Ecuador. Students of other nationalities should confirm visa requirements on the Ecuador Embassy website.
- Students will be responsible for making their own flight arrangements. A suggested flight itinerary will be provided. Students should arrive as early as possible on Day 1 of the program, as the scheduled activities begin that day.