SUMMER 2020 UPDATE: Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, SFS has cancelled this and all other programs for Summer 2020. Students are welcome to apply now for next year’s Summer 2021 program.
This summer, the ocean is your classroom. Spend your summer studying sharks, turtles, and rays in the waters surrounding the island of South Caicos. In this specialized course, you’ll learn about the ecology and conservation of these and other marine megafauna through in-water field lectures, snorkel or dive sessions, and video tracking exercises.p>
Deploy Baited Remote Underwater Video Stations (BRUVS) and collect video footage of sharks and other predators to analyze species abundance and diversity inside and outside protected areas
On snorkeling excursions, learn how to use identification techniques to spot individual eagle rays and turtles based on their markings.
PADI SCUBA certifications are available on this program. Learn more here.
Program Costs & Financial Aid
Meet Your Admissions Counselor
SFS provides a comprehensive study abroad experience during a 6-day/week program schedule. SFS delivers the highest level of support and an unparalleled academic experience.
All students are welcome to apply for our need-based financial aid. Students who exhibit financial need for their program will be offered SFS financial aid. SFS aid is offered through a combination of scholarships, grants and loans.
Pell Grant Match
SFS matches Federal Pell Grant funding for students applying to an SFS semester program.
Many SFS students receive aid through their home institutions or other outside sources, so check with your financial aid office to see what aid may apply to an SFS program.
Amber grew up on a small family farm in Prairie Farm, Wisconsin. She attended Boston University and earned a degree in Environmental Analysis and Policy. She learned to love the natural world early in life and during her time at BU she studied abroad twice, once in Grenoble, France and once with SFS in Atenas, Costa Rica in 2012.
She was lucky enough to work on two Directed Research projects during her time with SFS in Costa Rica. One to contribute to an ecological assessment of the impacts of hummingbird feeders on pollination networks in Cloud Forests in Monteverde and another studying the impacts of trafficked roads bisecting or bordering the forest of Carara National Park.
During her career she has worked in student leadership development, run community organizing efforts, and spent time on several small farms (including her family farm in the Midwest) rediscovering her agricultural roots. She returned to SFS as an Admissions Counselor in 2015. Her experience in the field and abroad was transformative and she is delighted to have the opportunity to work to support students through the admissions and pre-departure process and share her experience with the next generation!
In her free time, she loves to cook, bake, hike, read, play ukulele, pet dogs, see live music, and be outside.
Itinerary varies from term to term and is subject to change. Program activities take place 6 days a week with one day free.
Week 1: Welcome to South Caicos! Move into dorms, meet roommates, and attend program orientation. Classes begin with lectures on fundamental concepts of ecology including marine reptiles and habitat assessment as well as human impacts on behavior, with a focus and iguanas. PADI Advanced Open Water (AOW) class begins (optional class, pre-program sign-up required). Rec dive at the Grotto and rec snorkel at Shark Alley. Swim lessons and science class with local kids.
Week 2: Lectures on marine megafauna ecological importance, evolution of marine forms, elasmobranch fish, photo annotation workshop and introduction to GIS., Underwater field exercises: Individual identification techniques using eagle rays and turtles. Visit a local marine protected area. AOW class continues. Rec dive at Troy’s Dream and rec snorkel at Hewy Dewy Lewy (HDL). Swim lessons and snorkel club with local kids.
Week 3: Lectures on large oceanic fish, abundance estimate techniques, fishery management approaches, and fishers’ perceptions of megafauna. Underwater field exercise using Baited Remote Underwater Video (BRUV). AOW night dive at the Plane. Rec snorkel at Tucker’s Reef. Community beachfront clean-up.
Week 4: AOW class wraps up. Lectures on marine mammals, threats and conservation, US protection policies and environmental non-government organizations. Final exam. Screening of outreach videos. Rec dive at the Spanish Chain, rec snorkel at Admiral’s Aquarium. Swim lessons with local kids. Trip to Long Cay to see nesting iguanas. Re-entry exercises and room cleanup. Closing activities. Head home.
This academically rigorous program follows a six-day/week schedule. The interdisciplinary curriculum is designed to help students actively discover and understand the complexities of environmental, social, and economic issues in the Turks & Caicos Islands.
Major academic themes include:
Marine ecology and conservation
Climate change and ocean acidification
Marine species population health
Large fauna behavior and tracking
Marine protected areas
On the Marine Megafauna program, you will take one 4-credit course. This course is participatory in nature and is designed to foster inquiry and active learning combining lectures, field exercises, assignments, and tests. This course is taught in English.
Click on each course to view a description and download the syllabus
SFS 3131 Marine Megafauna Ecology and Conservation (4 credits)
This course explores the ecological importance and conservation status of megafauna that are prominent in the coastal waters of the tropical North Atlantic. Elasmobranchs (sharks and rays), large oceanic and reef fishes, marine and coastal reptiles (sea turtles, island iguanas), and marine mammals are the focus of learning and investigation. The course consists of lectures, workshops and field-based activities that provide students with an understanding of the diversity and ecological characteristics of these animals. Workshops and field activities introduce students to the practical techniques that are commonly employed by conservationists to evaluate species richness and health.
You will gain practical skills in the field such as: GIS use and applications, tag/recapture, marine population monitoring, habitat and biodiversity assessment, underwater video surveys, use of the I3S suite of programs to identify individual animals based on their natural markings, snorkel and scuba skills, quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis, and PADI Open Water Diver certification (offered at an additional cost, upon request).
You will visit different ecosystems and communities which may include coral reefs, mangrove islands, seagrass beds, fishing communities, carbonate platform flats, coastal ecosystems, beaches, marine protected areas, and numerous shallow-water snorkeling sites.
Take back-to-back summer sessions and get the hands-on learning and skill-building experiences of an internship, while also going off the beaten path and exploring the world. Each summer session focuses on a different topic, and you’ll have time to travel independently between sessions. Receive a $1,000 discount on your second session (effective for Summer 2020).
RECOMMENDED PROGRAM COMBO
Fundamentals of Marine Conservation (Turks & Caicos Summer I)
The Center is a small converted hotel overlooking the crystalline waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Spectacular sunsets, open-air facilities, warm sunshine, and a refreshing ocean breeze define this marine field station. A five-minute walk brings you to the small, historic town of Cockburn Harbour, where students and faculty frequently engage in community activities.
Dorm living in 4-6 person bunkrooms
Small, open campus with direct access to the ocean
Air-conditioned classroom and computer lab
Open-air dining space, and on-site cooking staff
Dock, dive shack, and small fleet of research boats
Volleyball, hammocks, and swimming pool overlooking the ocean
Click on the icons below to learn more about our Center in the Turks and Caicos Islands.