By choosing three-week intensive courses led by Goucher faculty or semester programs suited to their academic plans, environmental studies students gain a global perspective that enhances their course of study. The environmental studies program study-abroad courses are:

Students may substitute courses from other institutions and/or as part of study-abroad programs with permission of the program director.

GOUCHER SEMESTER-ABROAD PROGRAM AT THE MONTEVERDE INSTITUTE IN COSTA RICA

BIO 243. FIELD METHODS IN TROPICAL ECOLOGY (4)

Targeting natural/biological science majors, this course will explore topics of tropical ecology (biodiversity, cloud forest ecosystems, and others in greater depth, with emphasis placed on learning research methodologies that can be used in field based or laboratory research).

BIO 244. ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY (4) (GEN. ED. #11)

Students examine and analyze concepts of sustainability and their global and local interpretations and meaning as framed by global-local issues: Climate change, ecotourism and economic development, environmentalism, human health, conservation, and biodiversity. Emphasis is placed on contextualized examples of environmental, economic, social, political, and cultural tensions related to sustainability. Includes field trips, exercises and guest lectures by local scientists and activists.

GOUCHER/ANTIOCH SEMESTER-ABROAD PROGRAM IN BRAZILIAN ECOSYSTEMS (12 TOTAL CREDITS)

ECOLOGY AND BIODIVERSITY OF BRAZIL (4)

This course focuses on the value of biodiversity, the causes and patterns of biodiversity loss, the ecological significance of anthropogenic disturbances, and methods of hypothesis testing in the in the field of conservation biology. Students review the theoretical principles involving these topics during the pre-program orientation lectures and through assigned readings. Throughout the program the class examines species and habitat diversity characteristic of several Brazilian iomes. In addition to lecturing on ecology and serving as natural history guides, Brazilian botanists, zoologists, and ecologists work with students on field problems designed to illustrate the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem function. These field problems are exercises that follow the scientific method from hypothesis formulation through statistical analysis and interpretation of data collected. The impact of human activities on biodiversity and ecosystem function are also directly observed and discussed throughout the course.

BRAZILIAN NATURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT (4)

This course introduces the need for sustainable management of resources in terms of the value of ecosystem goods and services. Students will examine the application of sustainable management practices in agriculture, forestry, and park management. The role of environmental policy and the influence of nongovernmental organizations in affecting environmental stewardship are also examined. This topic further includes consideration of local cultural attitudes in policy development and implementation. Meetings with land managers and environmental groups are followed with structured group discussions that focus on evaluation (a) the sustainability of observed land use practices, (b) resource use policies in terms of scientific rigor and accuracy, and (c) the agencies seeking to modify existing policy or establish new policies.

FIELD INTERNSHIP (4)

The final four weeks of the program are devoted to a science internship, working with a faculty supervisor on-site. Internships involve participating in a research team project, assisting in an educational program, or volunteering with an environmental agency project.

Course objectives:

  • To understand the perspectives of Brazilian scientists, conservationists and government officials through direct involvement and interaction.
  • To gain knowledge and understanding of one focused area of scientific research and/or environmental concern.
  • To develop a comprehensive understanding of a particular environmental issue from social and biological science perspectives.
  • To work independently with Brazilian scientists and/or community members in a constructive research or field project