- Ecology of cloud forest and lowland rainforests
- Sea turtle conservation
- Ecotourism in the neotropics
- Indigenous communities and community-based environmental education
- Inquiry-based learning
- Participatory education
Trek through lowland rainforest, montane forest, and coastal ecosystems while investigating the biotic, physical, and cultural forces that affect tropical biodiversity.
Due to their astonishing diversity and high rates of destruction, tropical ecosystems play a central role in debates about the nature and maintenance of the earth’s biodiversity.
Travel to Costa Rica to explore issues of biodiversity in lowland rainforest and montane cloud forest environments. Scientists equate the rapid loss of species due to human activities in the modern era to the massive extinction events evident in the geologic record. However, these two types of extinction events differ in important ways. In the extinction event in which we now live, humans make decisions about which species to save. We also decide, explicitly or implicitly, which species will go extinct. How well do we understand this process? On what ecological, economic, and political factors do we base these decisions? Understanding and formulating solutions to modern extinctions is a central concern of conservation biology, a discipline that requires skills in the natural sciences, social sciences, and the humanities.
Burgeoning ecotourism in Costa Rica is playing a greater and greater role in the conservation of biodiversity. Questions remain as to whether ecotourism can truly fulfill the promise of social, economic, and environmental benefits. What are the pros and cons of ecotourism; what constitutes best practices and who is defining or enforcing them? How can indigenous communities promote livelihoods and community empowerment in ecotourism? What new approaches can best save vulnerable species such as Costa Rica’s sea turtles?
Prior to and following the field experience in the Costa Rica, students will complete coursework via Dragonfly Workshops’ web-based learning community as they apply experiences to their home institutions.
|In-person travel dates:||
June 2024 (TBD)
Students arrive at least one day before and depart on last day of course
|On the Web:||Pre-travel preparations: February-March
Login to online course: April
Summer course: May 16-August 9
Fall course: Late August- early December
|Credits:||Summer course: 5 graduate credits
Follow-on Fall course: 2 graduate credits
All Miami University credits can be applied to the GFP or AIP (or other programs if approved)
|Costs:||Summer course: $3,550* + your own airfare to San Jose, Costa Rica.|
|* $3,550 calculated as = $455 per credit tuition x 5 graduate credits + $1100 program fee + $175 Miami global fee|
Talamanca is a “canton” (similar to a county) located in the province of Limón on the southeastern Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. This region is one of the most culturally diverse in Costa Rica, home to Afro-Caribbean and indigenous communities.
Talamanca covers over 1,000 square miles, 88% of which is protected, including three national parks – Amistad, Cahuita, and Chiripó – as well as the indigenous territories of Kekoldi, Talamanca Bribri, Talamanca Cabécar, and Telire, and the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge, an important nesting ground for sea turtles such as hawksbill, green, loggerhead, and leatherback.
Talamanca is home to the largest indigenous communities in Costa Rica, primarily the Bribri and Cabécar people.
The enchanting cloud forests of Monteverde contain one of the leading tropical research communities in the world. We will gain direct knowledge on topics such as the ecology of cloud-forest canopies, the role of birds in determining forest structure, ecological succession, schoolyard ecology in the Neotropics, and how climate and geology shape tropical ecosystems.
(Course locations are subject to change.)
In addition to covering the price for five graduate credits of Miami University tuition, field course costs cover all basic expenses, including:
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 international workshop participants 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.
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.
The 2-credit follow-on course, Inquiry & Action, puts the Earth Expeditions course ideas and concepts into practice. Students in this course will choose a research topic and construct a multidisciplinary semester-long project of their choice that includes inquiry-driven learning, participatory education, and community-based conservation to experience and promote action in real-world contexts. Students will connect and collaborate with peers and their instructional team throughout the semester working to make a positive difference in their local communities. This class is a required part of the Global Field Program (GFP) master's course sequence. Inquiry & Action is recommended though optional for non-GFP students.
Course cost: $910 (2 credits)