Biology Belize Study Abroad
For the last 20 years, Chris Walser has been a biology professor at The College of Idaho. During this time, he has had the pleasure of continuing the College’s long-standing tradition of taking science students into the field. Since 2000, he has led field biology experiences in Australia, Florida and Belize. Without a doubt, these study away courses are transformational for the students. When speaking to former students, the vast majority recall the amazing adventures of their field biology experience as the highlight of their college education. Unfortunately, the cost of these academic programs has sharply risen over the last 5-10 years, making them cost prohibitive for many CofI students. Please consider giving back to the next generation of students seeking adventure and knowledge outside of the college classroom.
Here are some photos and student testimonials from our last trip to Belize in 2016:
"The Belize Field Biology 2016 course allowed me to utilize concepts and techniques learned previously in the classroom and collectively apply them to a real-world result. My individual research and resulting study from the course have been vital to my success in the job market and graduate school!"
Kylie Porter, Class of 2016
"The most practical and valuable course that I participated in as an undergraduate student was the Belize Field Biology course. The multi-dimensional curriculum vastly broadened my knowledge of biodiversity and allowed me to practice skills that I have used often in my post-undergraduate career. In addition, this course strengthened my interest in ecological interactions and provided me with an opportunity to discover unique habitats, learn about Belizean and Mayan culture, and collaborate with colleagues. Because of this course, my limited understanding of ecosystems was expanded from only freshwater and desert/montane landscapes to marine and tropical/rainforest landscapes. Also, I learned how to swim in order to participate in the snorkeling portion of the class. This ability has proven to be an asset to my career in fisheries. Snorkeling in the second largest coral reef system in the world was an unforgettable experience because I got to witness the purpose behind conservation efforts and the necessity to continue them. I believe that future students would greatly benefit from this excellent course and I highly suggest it!"
Sarah Walsh, Class of 2016
"The College of Idaho's 2016 study abroad trip to Belize was an excellent combination of interdisciplinary and multifaceted coursework. Students had the opportunity to study the ecology of Belize's richly diverse biomes and the fundamental components of Belize's most pressing environmental issues. For me, this trip gave me a more concrete sense of ecology's core concepts, inspired my passion to fight for environmental justice, and exposed me to a wonderful culture that I would have never experienced otherwise. In particular, I loved speaking with the Belizean locals about their perspectives on the environment and their opinions on the future usage of Belize's natural resources.
As a master's student studying place-based education, I feel strongly that Dr. Walser and Dr. Mansfield made an excellent use of Belize's ecology and local scientists as teachers. I gained experience as a professional researcher and I developed a broad array of teamwork skills - skills that are now invaluable in my pursuit of a master's degree. Additionally, this course aligned well with the philosophy behind the College of Idaho's PEAK curriculum. I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude that I was able to be a part of this trip and I hope the College of Idaho will provide future students with the same opportunity."
Holly Moss, Class of 2016