Bahamas Field Courses
Two exciting new Field Courses are available for 2010 at Lee Stocking Island. The 5-day Tropical Marine Ecology course introduces students to the inhabitants and environments of tropical waters. The crystal clearwaters of the Exumas makes it possible to see this underwater world! The 12-day Island Ecology covers the same content but in more depth and adds terrestrial and cultural components. Details can be found in the course plans below. Courses are available at the secondary or collegiate level. They start on a Sunday evening and end on a Saturday morning, thus providing weekend travel time on either end of the trip. You may also want to enhance your student’s field experience with excursions in South Florida to the Everglades or Florida Keys.
There are no course prerequisites though a knowledge of basic biology at their respective levels is assumed; exposure to chemistry , geology or ecology is also helpful. Underwater activities involve snorkeling with instruction and equipment available. SCUBA certification is not required. The courses involve full days of activity but time is provided for group discussions, journal writing and recreation. The contact time of each course is approximately 20% lecture, 10% lab and 70% in the field.
Field Courses in Tropical Ecology
Tropical Marine Ecology Course Plan
This 5-day course focuses on the ecology of tropical shorelines, sea grasses and coral reefs. Students explore sandy beaches, rocky shorelines, mangroves, seagrass meadows, giant stromatolites and rocky subtidal environments including coral reefs. Emphasis is placed on the geology, keystone species and connectivity within and between habitats. Conservation issues are discussed throughout the course to integrate understanding of the habitats and their linkages.
Island Ecology Course Plan
The above curriculum, in greater depth, is incorporated into this 12-day course along with exploration of terrestrial and cultural ecology. Above the shorelines, Lee Stocking Island rises 123’, the highest point in the Exuma archipelago. Terrestrial environments to be examined include sandy dunes, coastal scrub and two types of coppice (hardwood hammocks). The course also looks at the human ecology from pre-Columbian culture to the impact of Columbus to present-day Bahamian communities. Day-long excursions visit Great Exuma, the largest and most populated island of the Exumas, and the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park, the first marine protected area in the world. Students will emerge from this course with a comprehensive introduction to the unique features and issues of island environments.
Rates and Travel Information
Safety comes first both on and off the water. All course staff have training in water safety/rescue and are certified in first aid and CPR. A well-equipped clinic meets most first aid needs with physician consultation available. Government clinics are available on Great Exuma and the island has a 3,000’ airstrip to facilitate medical evacuation if needed. All participants should have medical coverage for foreign travel. It is highly recommended that Divers Alert Network (DAN) membership and insurance be purchased (www.diversalertnetwork.org). The costs are very reasonable and include evacuation coverage.
Lee Stocking Island is isolated from neighboring communities, providing a safe and distraction-free environment. There is zero tolerance for drug possession or use. Alcohol possession or use by minors is similarly forbidden. Violations result in immediate expulsion from the island.
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