At the heart of this program are the conflicts and synergies of conservation and development in the north Peruvian Amazon region. The program includes a multi-day excursion to the Sacred Valley, the city of Cusco—the hub for visitors to Machu Picchu—and the adjacent Andean highlands. Students learn firsthand about the ecological patterns and processes that underpin the extraordinary biodiversity of the Amazon region along the catchment of the western Amazon River and its tributaries. Students explore biological diversity and conservation, ecological interactions, and the value of ecosystem services, as well as the effects of climate change and land use on regional and global biodiversity and human well-being.
Coursework is taught in English
One semester of college-level ecology, biology, or environmental studies/science; 18 years of age
Week 2: Field lectures and visits to local communities
Week 3: Travelling field lecture to Allpahuayo Mishana Reserve
Week 4: Travel to Cusco and Sacred Valley, visit Incan ruins
Week 5: Travelling field lectures at the Wayqecha Cloud Forest Biological Station, visit Potato Park
Week 6: Mid-semester break, option to visit Machu Picchu
Week 7: Field lectures, visit Wildlife Rescue Center
Week 8: Multi-day trip to Pacaya Samiria
Week 9: Field lectures, visit Belen Market and Floating Houses
Week 10: Final review and exams
Week 11: Directed Research field work begins
Week 12: Data analysis and DR writing
Week 13: Individual and community research presentations
Week 14: Closing activities
Itinerary subject to change.
A Note about Program Costs
Includes all pre-program advising services, room and board at the field station and on excursions, park entrance and research fees, program-related transportation, emergency evacuation insurance, and official transcript processing.
Does not include international airfare, international medical insurance, medical costs, and personal non-program related expenses.
SFS 2090 Language, Culture, and Society of Peru (2 credits)
This course provides two integrated modules: Spanish language instruction, and Peruvian society and culture. The language module offers listening, oral, and written practice of Spanish to increase students’ communication and comprehension skills. The sociocultural module is designed to help students gain experience in the culture and therefore become more adept at working effectively in their community-based Directed Research efforts. Both modules emphasize the understanding of, and direct interaction with, the local communities with which the Center works. This exposure to culture and language is reviewed and processed through lectures, field exercises, community outreach, and classroom discussion.
SFS 3800 Conservation Science and Practice - Peru (4 credits)
This course introduces the concepts, tools, and incentives to effect conservation of the environment and natural resources. The field of conservation is focused on protecting biological diversity—including ecosystems, species, and genetic diversity—by promoting processes, both ecological and social, that support biodiversity. The course focuses on five core themes: what biodiversity is; why biodiversity is important; threats to biodiversity; strategies for conservation; and the concept of sustainability. We explore the practical aspects of conservation using local case studies, considering the array of conservation strategies in the region, and using this lens to evaluate global concerns on a local scale.
SFS 3830 Tropical Ecology of the Amazon (4 credits)
This course examines biodiversity from multiple scales, including region, landscape, ecosystem, community, species, and genes. Students learn to: identify and characterize a variety of the diverse flora and fauna in the Amazon region, understand the patterns and processes that support this diversity, and appreciate the importance of biodiversity to people. Students examine the fundamental principles of tropical ecology through the study of a diverse mosaic of ecosystems, habitats, and species along elevational gradients, successional gradients, and geomorphic patterns.
SFS 3840 Political Ecology of Developing Landscapes (4 credits)
This course focuses on human interactions with and impacts on local natural systems, and vice versa. We consider these interactions through the interdisciplinary lens of political ecology, examining the political, economic, social, and historical factors of environmental issues and changes. The course provides the conceptual and practical skills and tools to critically examine and assess the human-environment nexus by exploring distinct cultures and socioeconomic systems from the upper Andes to the Amazon basin. We also consider the theories and ethics of sustainable and unsustainable development, and the need to view these issues in ways that are inclusive and just.
This course prepares students to distinguish hidden assumptions in scientific approaches and separate fact from interpretation, cause from correlation, and advocacy from objectivity. Students learn specific tools including: experimental design; field techniques; basic descriptive statistics; and parametric and non-parametric quantitative analysis. Emphasis is placed on succinct scientific writing, graphic and tabular presentation of results, and effective delivery of oral presentations.