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Field Studies in Environmental Studies Offer Variety of Experiences


Baylor's Department of Environmental Studies offers many opportunities for field schools and study abroad. These programs are lead by a faculty member and can be taken for course credit. For full details on these programs, visit the department's website by clicking here.

Field schools have included trips to:

  • Appalachia
  • Costa Rica
  • Belize
  • Alaska
  • Central Texas Zoos

Baylor in the Appalachias
This field school offered students the opportunity to learn a variety of field methods while using them to collect primary data. Field locations were primarily in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and in Red River Gorge, Kentucky.

Research topics included

  • Exploring options for managing public lands
  • Reconciling wilderness preservation and recreation demands
  • Rural Appalachian lifeways comparing with other rural areas in the United States
  • Ecotourism as a viable development strategy for Appalachia.

In the 2004 trip to Appalachia, students spent the first two weeks in eastern Tennessee with a forest ecologist learning about the history of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and a variety of management issues. The last three weeks are spent in Red River Gorge, Kentucky, with an applied anthropologist, conducting research on recreationists, local residents, absentee landowners, and management personnel. There were also several recreational opportunities, including hiking, canoeing, some rafting, camping, and caving.

Baylor in Costa Rica
During the second summer session of 2004, the environmental studies department took a group of students to Costa Rica to participate in a hands-on learning opportunity in one of the most biologically diverse living laboratories in the world. The course focused on three major environmental issues facing today's global community:

  • Tropical ecology
  • Water/natural resource management
  • Sustainability

Animal Enrichment Field School
Enrichment is a husbandry principle that enhances the quality of captive animal care. In this course, students spent 4 weeks working with animals at the Cameron Park Zoo, experimenting with:

  • Scattering, hiding, or freezing food
  • Redesigning exhibits
  • Providing toys and objects to manipulate
  • Training animals to respond to caretaker cue

Students chose the animals they want to work with and do original research. They worked with various species of animals at the Cameron Park Zoo, including elephants, gibbons, snakes, alligators, lions, tigers, giraffes, and many species of birds.

In addition to working at the zoo, several field trips were taken to other zoos and sanctuaries around Central Texas. Students also spent 5 days at South Padre Island, working with sea turtles.