Spring 2014 (online in Jan – Feb; Travel from March 2-8, 2014)
WFB 185, 3 credits
Joe Kreuzman, Mike Kessler
Program fee (TBA) plus airfare. Tuition is included in your spring course load, unless you register for more than 18 credits. Students are responsible for obtaining the appropriate vaccinations, including any associated costs.
Instructor Permission Required.
This 3-credit course begins with an online component to introduce and prepare students for wildlife tracking in Belize. During both components students receive tools to enhance their awareness of the presence of wildlife through their tracks and to classify and identify tracks by species. Students will observe firsthand the jungle ecosystem through a detailed study of the topography, geology, and plant and animal life that comprise the rain forest and its relationship to a healthy North America. The online component spans approximately four to five weeks with a workload equivalent to a 1-credit course.
During 2014 Spring Break students fly to Belize to track in the tropical jungles and learn of the rich Mayan cultural heritage. Through interaction with indigenous wildlife biologists and trackers, students will apply the tools and skills learned during the online component in search of the elusive jaguar and tapir. The indigenous trackers will also share the medicinal and practical uses of their native plants. You will gain an understanding of international agreements to benefit jaguar habitat and DNA travel corridors and how conservation decisions are made based upon modern tracking techniques (game surveys, field tracking, GPS collars and game cameras). You will see firsthand the inter-relationship of all things and conceptualize in real time how small the planet ecosystems really are; e.g. bananas and coffee we consume for breakfast in Vermont, grown in the rainforest, effect the migration routes of our backyard songbirds thus requiring proper ecological/international management practices for sustainability. An active Mayan archaeological site dated to 400 B.C. will also be visited.