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SFS Launches New Panama Pilot Semester Program Tropical Island Biodiversity & Conservation Studies, Fall 2012

Located in the western archipelago of Bocas Del Toro, Panama, new pilot examines tropical islands as delicate ecosystems

Salem, MA – January 17, 2012 – The School for Field Studies (SFS) will welcome an inaugural group of college undergraduates to the archipelago of Bocas del Toro, Panama, for its new pilot program Tropical Island Biodiversity and Conservation Studies in fall 2012.

“We are thrilled to be offering students this new opportunity in the Panamanian archipelago of Bocas del Toro, a truly unique and diverse environment,” said SFS Interim President Jack Waggett. “This program is an extension of our very popular marine program in the Turks and Caicos Islands, as well as our former coastal studies program in Mexico.”

SFS has partnered with the Institute for Tropical Ecology and Conservation (ITEC) in Bocas del Toro. ITEC has 15 years’ experience in study abroad education in Bocas and will assist SFS to shepherd this dynamic new program. ITEC has been a vital member of the island community for many years and has contributed knowledge gleaned through research to inform and improve local understanding of the natural world.

Bocas del Toro is located along the Caribbean waters of Almirate Bay and Chirique Lagoon near coral reefs and large stands of old-growth rainforest. The Tropical Island Biodiversity and Conservation program will provide students with the opportunity to join faculty in the field to assess the status of delicate coastal and marine habitats, promote the conservation of ecologically vulnerable ecosystems, and plan development policy based on the complex issues that arise at the interface of human and natural systems.

“Few places on Earth rival the biodiversity of the Panamanian Caribbean,“ said Assistant Dean Dr. Mark Seifert. “Bocas del Toro is a veritable ecological playground and a perfect place for undergraduates to learn about protecting and managing delicate natural systems and habitats. The ocean, shore, and forest will be our classroom. We can’t wait to bring students into this dynamic living laboratory.”

SFS is now accepting applications for the Panama program Tropical Island Biodiversity and Conservation Studies, fall academic semester 2012. To learn more or apply, visit


About The School for Field Studies: ( For more than 30 years, The School for Field Studies (SFS), one of the nation's oldest and largest environmental study abroad program for college undergraduates, has combined hands-on, multi-disciplinary environmental studies with scientific research to propose sustainable solutions to critical environmental problems. SFS students work with local communities to discover practical ways to manage their natural resources, and in the process undergo a transformational experience that helps them to advance their careers as skilled professionals and to become globally aware citizens.



Leslie Granese