Ecological Research Field Course - Madre Selva Biological Station

Location: Madre Selva Biological Station, Rio Orosa, Peru

Date: June 19, 2011 - June 28, 2011

Event Type: Education

(Note: dates are tentative)

 

For the past two years, graduate students from the University of Florida have volunteered their time, expertise and funding to teach a Spanish-language 10-day intensive field course at the Madre Selva station in the Peruvian Amazon. The objective of the course has been to provide Peruvian and Colombian undergraduate students with the opportunity to learn basic, but necessary experimental design for field work that uses a rigorous scientific approach. The ultimate goal is to produce independent researchers will have the capability to design and carry out innovated field research that will provide essential information for conserving, managing and studying the incredible biological diversity that is found in their home countries.  During the first course (2009), eight Peruvian and one Colombian students developed skills in bird banding, data collection, research design, and developed pilot projects focusing on avian ecology. The following year (2010), the scope of the course was broadened to involve other taxa as well, and eight Peruvian and three Colombian students spent 10 days in the field. They learned general research design, the scientific method, critical reading of journal articles and tools and techniques of ecological research. They also designed and executed a pilot project on of a topic of their choice, and presented their results to the larger group for review and critique. These experiences allowed students to develop scientific projects in the context of constructive critique by their peers. 

 

The course provides critical hands-on support to sustain a high quality of science-based research. Projects are encouraged to be solution driven and student participation builds involvement in other scientific endeavors as well. Five previous participants in Peru already have begun working on thesis projects to become licensed biologists under the mentorship of the University of Florida graduate students.

 

You can enable this program to have a long-lasting and pragmatic impact. The students that benefit from this progam will be the conservation and and wildlife and habitat management leaders in their countries in the very near future. A sponsorship of only $100 will enable a Peruvian student to participate in this valuable, yet very cost-effective program - the benefits will accrue rapidly over the lifetime of these students! If you would like to provide additional sponsorship funds for the purchase of field equipment for these students to use, that would be appreciated as well. All donations through Project Amazonas are tax-deductible for US residents. Acceptance into the program is highly competitive, but limited to students in South America - we want to attract and train the very best students in their countries. For additional information regarding the course, contact course directors Ari Martines (ari "at" ufl.edu) and Judit Ungvari-Martin (jungvari "at" ufl.edu). 

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