Final Impressions of SFS Tanzania

December 9, 2014
Categories:

Kenya & Tanzania: Wildlife Management Studies, SFS students

MacKinsey Johnson
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Biological Sciences
Wildlife Management Studies, Tanzania

What did you like most about the SFS experience?
I loved the hands-on experience SFS provided as well as working with the local communities. The local community members have so much knowledge to share with us and being able to work with them and learn from them was very rewarding and such a wonderful experience that I wouldn’t have gotten at my home university!

You’ve been in the country for a full semester – tell us your impression of it now.
Tanzania is an AMAZING country. The people are truly the heart of this country and are what make it so wonderful. I love being able to walk down the road and have locals say hi and always greet me with a smile regardless of my inability to speak Swahili. I love the mosaic of cultures and attitudes that encompass Tanzania. The people here and the importance they place on loving and taking a care of one another is so heartening and it has definitely been a blessing to be a part of this culture even for three short months.

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Final Impressions of SFS Tanzania

December 9, 2014
Categories:

Kenya & Tanzania: Wildlife Management Studies, SFS students

Tanner Scheetz
Miami University
Zoology
Wildlife Management Studies, Tanzania

What did you like most about the SFS experience?
It’s not easy picking and choosing parts of the SFS experience that I liked the most. Overall the experience was just amazing. First and foremost, the academics were incredible. They were challenging but engaging with a lot of great field exercises in the mix. Directed Research (DR) was a good opportunity to practice the entire scientific process while getting the chance to work with professors and fellow classmates.

Speaking of which, getting to know and befriend the professors, staff and students has been amazing in itself. There is such a unique and fun group of people each contributing to this program. Last of all, the location is amazing. All of the sights I have had the opportunity to see and experience are just incredible. Lake Manyara, Tarangire, Ngorongoro, and Serengeti are all beautiful places and I am humbled to have been there. So though I cannot pick one, I have truly loved the SFS experience.

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Final Impressions of SFS Turks & Caicos Islands

December 8, 2014
Categories:

SFS students, Turks & Caicos: Marine Resource Studies

Shayna Cohen
Grinnell College
Biology
Marine Resource Studies, Turks & Caicos Islands

What did you like most about the SFS experience?
I loved the community that grew. From living together, and all the activities we did together, we really became a thriving family in a sense. Having that added to the entire experience. I also loved diving in the gorgeous Caribbean waters.

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Final Impressions of SFS Australia

December 5, 2014
Categories:

Australia: Tropical Rainforest Studies, SFS students

Jessika Dorcas
Elon University
Environmental and Ecological Science
Tropical Rainforest Studies, Australia

What did you like most about the SFS experience?
The Directed Research process was definitely my favorite part. Although extremely challenging, there was never a dull moment. My group, including our advisor Justus, was incredible. We not only worked hard and collected an unbelievable amount of data, but we had so much fun and had more laughs than is probably healthy.

You’ve been in the country for a full semester – tell us your impressions of it now.
I knew I’d love Australia…I didn’t know that I would be dreading leaving this much though. The view on life here seems to be more relaxed. There is no pressure to follow a certain path or reach society’s idea of success. I’ve never met so many people in one place who just simply love life and people so much. Happiness seems to be a top priority here.

What is life at the field station really like? What are the best and the most challenging parts of living at a remote field station?
Life at the field station is special. The best part is the walk from the cabins to the center every morning. The path is absolutely breathtaking and never gets old (as long as it is the part going downhill). I would say the most challenging part is how isolated the center is, but I’ve actually come to love it. We are able to go into town and to the lake in our free time, and I know I will miss this beautiful place and its peace.

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Water Solutions in Santa Teresa Bring More Challenges to Light

December 4, 2014
Categories:

Costa Rica: Sustainable Development Studies, SFS faculty posts

Mary Little, LL.M.
Resident Lecturer in Economic & Ethical Issues in Sustainable Development
Sustainable Development Studies, Costa Rica

Santa Teresa is a booming beach town on the western coast of Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula. The waves brought the first surfers in the early 90s before there was electricity in this rural farming and fishing town. The same waves that put this area on the map have continued to draw tourists from around the world. Now the population fluctuates from 5,000 to 10,000 between the low and high points of the tourism season.

With all the possible social and economic gains of tourism, increased population has a drastic and dire impact on the availability and disposal of water. The supply from local wells and the local water authority are not adequate in the dry months and businesses must pay for water brought by truck. Disposal of water is an even larger issue, as there is no sewage treatment facility. People are required to build septic tanks, but many are old or not properly designed. Sewage flows untreated into streams, which flow into the very ocean that attracts tourists.

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Memories of an Amazonian Adventure

December 3, 2014
Categories:

Peru: Biodiversity and Conservation in the Amazon, SFS students

Skylar Kraatz
Franklin University Switzerland
Environmental Studies
Biodiversity & Development in the Amazon, Peru

On September 1st, I sat in a van winding its way down the slopes of the eastern Andes into the Amazonian valley of Kosñipata. Darkness had fallen, and a magnificent lightning storm electrified the clouds rising from the valley, as the stars above shined bright. I sat in silence, awed by this magical introduction to my new home in the jungle for the next semester, a sign of the incredible experiences to come.

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Research on Marine Resource Management

December 3, 2014
Categories:

SFS staff, Turks & Caicos: Marine Resource Studies

Heidi Hertler, Ph.D.
Center Director
Marine Resource Studies, Turks & Caicos Islands

Over the past several weeks, students and staff have been collecting and analyzing data from around South Caicos as part of their Directed Research (DR) projects. The SFS Center for Marine Resource Studies (CMRS) DR projects are designed to address resource management questions developed with local stakeholders.

This semester, projects included quantitative and qualitative observation of the bird population on South Caicos; a look at fishers’ knowledge to note spatial and socioeconomic changes in the local fisheries; the use of photovoice to determine local citizens’ views of their terrestrial and marine ecosystems; a benthic assessment and installation of lobster casitas in partnership with local fishermen and DEMA; an assessment of the finfish industry; coral reef assessment for local anthropogenic and long-term climate change impacts; and the use of both Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and remote underwater video to assess our local elasmobranch population.

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Final Impressions of SFS Costa Rica (in Haiku)

December 3, 2014
Categories:

Costa Rica: Sustainable Development Studies, SFS students

Hannah Silverfine
Clark University
Geography and Spanish
Sustainable Development Studies, Costa Rica

What did you like most about the SFS experience?
What is that? I ask/ Flora, fauna, and the rest/ Professors know all

You’ve been in the country for a full semester – tell us your impressions of it now.
Kind, friendly people/ development increasing/ must protect the land

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Final Impressions of SFS Panama

December 2, 2014
Categories:

Panama: Tropical Island Biodiversity Studies, SFS students

Alex Janssen
University of Denver
Anthropology and Criminology
Tropical Island Biodiversity Studies, Panama

What did you like most about the SFS experience?
Hands down the best part of this semester has been the opportunity to build lifelong relationships with students and staff here in Panama. Living in such a close-knit environment has really impacted the group dynamics here on Isla Solarte and over the past three months we have all become a family.

You’ve been in the country for a full semester – tell us your impressions of it now.
Although we have spent the past three months in Panama… Bocas del Toro is a world of its own. Getting to experience such a culturally diverse town filled with kind and caring people has become one of the most memorable times of my life. The Bocas del Toro archipelago is a beautiful Caribbean island setting which has allowed students here to experience the marine life, forest ecosystems, and Central American culture all at once. Even though the tourism industry is booming in town, Bocas remains a well-kept secret getaway that I cannot wait to visit again someday.

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Flying Taxa: The Bats and The Birds

December 2, 2014
Categories:

Cambodia & Vietnam: The Living Mekong, SFS faculty posts

Chouly Ou, Ph.D.
Resident Lecturer in Conservation Science
The Living Mekong, Cambodia & Vietnam

Cambodia is a country exceptionally rich in biodiversity. For our last two field trips at the SFS Center for Mekong Studies, the students visited the Royal Gardens in Siem Reap and the Tonle Sap biosphere reserve core area (Prek Toal), to observe and count endangered bat and waterbird species.

The Royal Garden of Siem Reap is one of the few habitats in the Southeast Asian region where we still can find endangered flying foxes. Bats play a vital role in forest generation and pest control which contribute significantly to the national economy.  After giving his insightful lecture on bat ecology, Dr. Neil Furey, a research associate of Fauna and Flora International and one of the pioneers in the field, led our students to the garden and showed them how to count bats.

The trip took place in the late afternoon when there was still sunlight. There were two main methods involved in the counting, direct count and departure count. For the direct count, students had to count every individual bat in the colonies roosting in the trees of the garden using binoculars. This activity was done during the late afternoon. The departure count was performed by counting every single individual against the sky as they were leaving the roosting sites. This was done just before the sun set until it got dark.

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