Students at Salt Lake Community College will soon have class in the rainforests of Costa Rica — and you can be one of them.
SLCC anthropology professor Melissa Schaefer will lead the study abroad program on their upcoming excursion in May of 2016. Costa Rica was selected again due to its distinct collection of wildlife and involvement with conservation efforts.
“Costa Rica is at the forefront of conservation initiatives,” Schaefer says. “While much of the forests were destroyed during the last century, several conservation policies were put into place beginning in the 1970s and it has been the site of numerous studies in conservation practices.”
Students will research the changing ecology and its affect on primates in the region.
“[Costa Rica has] four species of primates found in highly variable habitats and is, therefore, an excellent country for studying primates and their ecosystems,” Schaefer says.
While some study abroad trips have limited hands-on opportunities, students who visit Costa Rica next spring will play a direct role in gathering vital information.
“Because many primate species are threatened with extinction, it is impossible to separate the study of primates from issues of forest and animal conservation,” Schaefer says.
A major part of the trip includes a three-day climate change workshop at La Selva Biological Station.
“Students will collect meteorological and ecological data that will become part of an internationally available database,” Schaefer adds.
La Selva reports that this data is used in over 50 scientific publications per year.
All students are encouraged to participate, regardless of their major.
“While this is an anthropology course, last year only one student [who studied abroad] was an anthropology student,” Schaefer says.
The educational experience Costa Rica provides will benefit students from all backgrounds.
“[The program is for] anyone who wants to challenge themselves and develop crucial life skills in communication, critical thinking and problem solving in a real-world setting, as well as for anyone concerned about conservation and sustainability issues,” Schaefer says.
The deadline to apply for the Costa Rica study abroad program is Dec. 1, 2015. The program also includes three hours of class credit in Primate Field Study, aka Anthropology 2083.
The trip is expected to take place between May 7 and May 24, 2016.
Contact Melissa Schaefer at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.