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The Bahamas: Cultivating Conservation Networks

Explore marine reserves, pine forests, mangroves, unique national parks, and community-driven conservation projects that focus on local communities at the forefront of conservation.

Course Overview

The iconic Bahama Islands archipelago is home to hundreds of species of terrestrial and aquatic life as well as many collaborating to protect and restore local ecosystems. Explore the breathtaking islands of New Providence, Blue Lagoon/Salt Cay, and Abaco as we unpack historical colonialism and highlight current Bahamian experts leading in the fields of conservation and education. Visit marine reserves, pine forests, mangroves, unique national parks, and community-driven conservation projects that focus on local communities at the forefront of conservation. Project Dragonfly is glad to partner with the organizations Science and Perspective, The Bahamas National Trust, and FRIENDS of the Environment to offer this new course.

Possible investigations include exploring marine biodiversity, studying bird and plant interactions, understanding the impacts of climate change on natural and human communities, and participating in local conservation workshops among others. All students will also have the chance to conduct an investigation of the local ecosystem, asking their own questions, collecting data, and presenting conclusions. Prior to and following the field experience in The Bahamas, students complete coursework via Dragonfly Workshops' web-based learning community as they apply experiences to their home institutions.

Course Details (Note: This class is held over the Winter Term and Spring Semester)
In person travel dates: January 8-16, 2023
Students arrive at least one day before and depart on last day of course.
On the Web:

Pre-travel preparations prior to December 19, 2022

Winter coursework: December 19, 2022 - January 22, 2023

Spring course: January 23-May 5, 2023

Credits:

Winter course: 5 graduate credits

Follow-on spring course: 2 graduate credits

Credits from this course can be applied to the GFP or AIP (or other programs if approved)

Costs:*

Winter course: $3250* + your own airfare to Nassau, The Bahamas

Spring course: $790

*$3250 is calculated as = $395 per credit tuition X 5 graduate credits + $1100 program fee + $175 Miami global fee.

 

Course Themes

  • Partnerships, networks, and leadership for conservation
  • Marine and terrestrial ecosystems of The Bahamas
  • Community-based conservation
  • Participatory education
  • Inquiry-driven learning

A typical day in The Bahamas is likely to include:

  • Ecological studies at national parks
  • Guest lectures by local researchers
  • Student-led discussions of key course topics
  • Engagement with local community members
  • Ocean-based inquiries and visits to marine reserves
  • Journal writing

The Bahamas

With 700 islands and renowned clear blue waters, The Bahamas are rich with aquatic life, intertidal species, and unique terrestrial ecosystems.

Dragonfly Workshops Web-Based Learning Community

Upon acceptance into the program, students will join instructors and classmates in Dragonfly Workshops’ collaborative web community to complete pre-trip assignments. After returning home, students will continue to work in their web-based community through early December to develop projects initiated in the field, discuss assignments, and exchange ideas. All students should expect to spend two to three hours a week contributing to their web-based learning community from their home or school computer. Navigating the web platform is easy–it’s designed for people with no prior computer experience. To learn more about this unique web experience, visit dragonflyworkshops.miamioh.edu.

Planned Sites in The Bahamas

Google Earth image of the Bahamas with three locations marked. A second image shows the locations in closer detail with the labels Abaco Islands, Blue Lagoon (Salt Cay), and Nassau.

Nassau

The tropical town of Nassau is the nation's capital and is home to most Bahamanians in The Bahamas. The city was built up by loyalists and slaves in the 18th century and many colonial influences are still seen in the city's architecture. The Bahamas National Trust, one of our course partners and the organization that set up and manages the nation's parks and marine reserves, is based in Nassau.

Abaco Islands

Abaco Islands are located in the northern region of The Bahamas and were greatly affected by Hurricane Dorian, a 2019 category 5 storm. Abaco has continued to rebuild and offers easy access to marine sea life, intertidal zones, and is home to several national parks. Dragonfly partners with FRIENDS of the Environment, a non-governmental group that supports researchers and students conducting marine and terrestrial investigations throughout the island.

Blue Lagoon (Salt Cay)

Salt Cay (pronounced KEY), a well-known destination island located 3 miles away from Nassau, offers renowned beaches and marine encounter experiences. Dragonfly visits Blue Lagoon to better understand the ecotourism industry of The Bahamas and will also perform student-driven marine inquiries on the island.

2023 Costs

In addition to covering the price for five graduate credits of Miami University tuition, field course costs cover all basic expenses, including:

  • Meals (incidental snacks and drinks not included)
  • Lodging
  • Course activities (optional activities are not included)
  • Ground transportation (van, boat, train, etc., as needed)

Course costs do not cover personal expenses, such as airfare to the course, personal gifts, or ancillary costs, such as passport fees, country entry fees, required course readers, and any additional course texts.

Airfare: To estimate fares applicants may wish to visit an online fare finder or call a travel agent. Bear in mind that airlines have seasonal fluctuations in fares.

Miami University also requires all participants in international workshops to purchase travel health insurance for about $40. (Successful applicants will receive more details in their web-based learning community course workshop.) In some classes an additional textbook is required. In some countries, you may have to pay entrance and departure taxes/fees at the airport.

Because of support from Miami University, the course costs listed above are a fraction of actual program costs. Earth Expeditions recommends that accepted applicants to the program check with their school district or employer to see if professional development funds are available to further offset costs.

 We offer some further ideas on Helping to Fund your Degree and Scholarships for Current Dragonfly Students

U.S. Students and Students Living Abroad

To support involvement by a broad range of professionals nationally and globally, Miami University discounts tuition for participants accepted to an Earth Expeditions graduate course. Applicants must be over the age of 18 and hold bachelor’s degrees. Upon successful completion of both the field and web-based components of the Earth Expeditions course, participants earn seven graduate credit hours.

Students Seeking Undergraduate Credit

Undergraduate students at Miami University or elsewhere may apply for an Earth Expeditions course and earn five credits for the field component, with the option to complete two additional credits for the fall web component. Normal Miami tuition rates apply, as do eligible summer tuition waivers and scholarships. Contact Project Dragonfly for more information.

Course Options for Miami Students

Are you a current Miami University undergrad or grad student interested in participating? Check out our Miami students page to learn more about program requirements.

Note that costs shown above are for graduate students only. Course costs for undergraduate students are based on each student’s tuition rate. If you have questions regarding your tuition promise rate, please contact the Bursar.

Questions?

Do you have questions? Go to our Frequently Asked Questions page for some answers.

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