Primate Conservation in the Tropics
Instructor: Dr. Carolyn Jost, Purdue University
For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Dates: June 8th – July 7th, 2013 (tentative – subject to minor changes)
This course will focus on the issues facing the conservation of primates in disturbed and threatened habitats, including an examination of the complex problems arising between primate habitats and neighboring human settlements, as well as deforestation and hunting. Students will observe numerous primate species including white faced capuchins, howler monkeys and spider monkeys. Throughout the course, students will learn techniques to observe wild primates and collect ecological and behavioral data, as well as basic conservation biology theory.
As community interaction and involvement is key to primate conservation, we believe it is important to attempt a basic understanding of local languages. As such, Spanish language classes will be held throughout the field course and student participation is required.
This course will take place in Costa Rica, and we will stay at El Zota Biological Station: a tropical wet forest site comprised of primary, secondary and regenerating forest located in the Caribbean lowlands. Additional side trips will also be included – these trips will involve travel to other parts of Costa Rica. More information to follow.
$2795 USD plus airfare
While our course cost may be a bit more than some field courses it is also a bit less than others. We take pride in the fact that our students stay in safe clean updated facilities staffed by courteous staff in two Central American countries. In addition, our sites are close to medical facilities and have electricity, phones, and cars; taking a lot of worry out of any emergency. You should know that these features are not the norm for field stations in these countries and should alleviate a lot of the typical worries surrounding this sort of course inherent in the minds of students and parents alike.
We are committed to conserving wild areas and at the same time “giving back” to the people living nearby. Therefore, a portion of each student course fee will cover a years-worth of high school fees for a needy Costa Rican student. The cost for high school supplies and uniforms in US dollars is not much; but in many cases precludes the completion of high school. We are aware that in far too many cases the lack of a high school education in rural areas results in a lifetime of grueling labor done on banana or pineapple plantations; with no hope of university or other jobs. Our hope is that our efforts will enhance student well-being and facilitate choice by enabling students to attend university following graduation. Ultimately, we hope that with our help students may come to work towards conservation in their own community. We are working on establishing a similar program in Panama; hopefully we can get this up-and-running by the end of this year.
Finally, we take a number of fun side trips in Costa Rica which are hugely popular. We have taken students to visit cloud forests and coffee/chocolate plantations, zip-lining, sea-turtle watching, white-water rafting, snorkeling, caving, tree-climbing, and beach-combing. While these excursions are not our focus; they enhance the student’s experience and are a lot of fun!