The Belize 2019 field course was the largest yet with 25 motivated, hard-working students from across the university. This course was multi-week trip to Belize to examine first-hand the biodiversity of the two most diverse ecosystems on earth: the coral reef and the tropical rainforest. Days were be spent in the field making observations and collecting data; lectures in the evenings covered topics including diversity of tropical organisms and habitats, rainforest ecology, coral reef biology, cultural ecology, symbiosis, and conservation of tropical biodiversity.
Costa Rica 2020
For spring 2020, the Department of Geography led a semester study abroad program in Costa Rica. The program was housed at The Soltis Center, owned by Texas A&M, on the windward slope of the mountains in the rainforest in the interior of Costa Rica. Ten students participated in the 14-hour program, which offered a full semester of classes in just over 6 weeks. The classes were: GY 345 Geography of Latin America and The Caribbean taught by Dr. Matthew LaFevor, GY 454 Field Studies in Costa Rica taught by Jonathan Kleinman, GY 413 Applied Climatology taught by Dr. Jason Senkbeil, and GY 202 The Water Planet taught by Dr. Nick Magliocca. For each class, several overnight and day field trips were planned as part of the curriculum. The students had a great experience and we hope to go back again next year! Here are some of the activities:
GY 345- Arenal Volcano National Observatory, Espiritu Santo Coffee Tour, a local sustainable farm tour, and some ½ day trips
GY 454- Whitewater rafting on Rio Balsa, Venado Caves, and several ecology and forest field activities near Soltis
GY 413- Beach trip to Puerto Viejo, some ½ day trips, class project on the microclimate of a tropical rainforest waterfall
GY 202- Guanacaste Province (Liberia, Tempisque River Basin, Palo Verde National Park, Playa Hermosa) Students learned about linkages between hydroelectric power generation, wind energy, irrigation, and rice and sugarcane production.