TURTLES + ALPACAS + MONKEYS
HOW CAN YOU GO WRONG?
In this Virtual Field School, you will travel the seas of Costa Rica and Honduras, before heading into the high Andean mountains of Peru and the remote forests of Paraguay.
In Costa Rica, you will learn from biologist Daniel Arauz Naranjo about how Marine Protected Areas affect biodiversity and small-scale fisheries in coastal communities. He and his organization CREMA will take you on a few dives, where you can see first-hand how researchers tag sea turtles, sharks, and manta rays.
In another Costa Rican site, Dr. Vanessa Bézy will give you an inside look at the arribada phenomenon (where thousands of sea turtles nest at once). You’ll go on a boat expedition with her organization, Wildlife Conservation Association, and delve into the challenges of over-tourism and sustainable development through a local case study.
Conservationist Andrea Izaguirre will then take you to Honduras, where you will learn about coral reef ecosystems and monitoring methods. Here, she and her organization, the Bay Islands Conservation Association, will take you on a lionfish hunt in a remote dive site. You will also have the opportunity to visit a nearby village where you will hear from local fishermen about the environmental changes they have seen over time.
Social scientist Ashli Akins and her organization Mosqoy will then take you high into the Andean mountains of Peru where you will visit a remote glacial community of traditional alpaca herders. Here, Quechua artisans will teach you about their traditional knowledge, as you learn about the environmental, cultural, and economic changes they face amidst an oversaturated globalized market.
You will then arrive to your final destination, the lush forests of Paraguay, where you will learn from primatologist Rebecca Smith about the complex realities of conservation work in a country that is often overlooked environmentally. She and her organization Para La Tierra will take you through a day-in-the-life of working in the field with monkeys.
Through this carbon-free virtual field school across Latin America, you will not only witness stunning landscapes and meet local community members along the way; you will also have the opportunity to engage in complex conversations with your instructors - National Geographic Explorers who are waiting for you at their field sites. In each course, you will critically examine what “sustainability” means in practice, from an environmental, sociocultural, and economic perspective, while learning about the realities of community-based fieldwork.