$27K Granted for Environmental Field Trips

$27K Granted for Environmental Field Trips

posted: October 11, 2007

Faculty and students from environmental programs and courses across the campus will be taking field trips this year. Through the Earth Institute Course Transportation Support program, nearly $27,000 was granted to faculty members to help provide field trips in a variety of programs for the 2007-2008 academic year.

As a result, nearly 275 students and 12 faculty members from across the university will travel this year to places like Costa Rica, California’s Death Valley, the Florida Everglades, and Black Rock Forest in Cornwall, New York, as well as several sites in New York City and New Jersey. “The Course Support program provides funding to faculty members who wish to incorporate fieldwork into their courses to expose students to a more robust and wide-ranging educational experience,” said Louise Rosen, Director of the Office of Academic and Research Programs at the EI. “The program offsets the limitations of teaching environmental issues in an urban location.”

The maximum award for each course is $5000, and faculty may use these funds to pay direct transportation costs, such as airline tickets, bus or van rental or gas and tolls, or to pay for accommodations, food, and fees to participate in certain activities or events. Applications were accepted this year from several departments, including Earth and Environmental Engineering (EAEE), Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology (E3B), and the Earth and Environmental Sciences (EESC) programs at both CC and Barnard College, and include such classes as Alternative Energy Resources, Forests and Environmental Change, and Field Botany and Plant Systematics, among others. The majority of the trips will be taken to Black Rock Forest (BRF), a 4000-acre natural living laboratory for field-based scientific research and education. At BRF, students in various classes will obtain fish samples, vegetation surveys and comparative studies of the forest in different stages of succession, among other activities.

Professor Matt Palmer, who teaches Conservation Biology (EEEB 3087) and Field Botany and Plant Systematics (EEEB W4910) said of the Course Transportation Support program: “This helps get students out of New York to expose them to a diversity of habitats, which is incredibly important when studying forest ecology or conservation biology. Having access to a van allows me to share with the students a broader range of environments and organisms.” Palmer’s students will travel to BRF, the New Jersey Pinelands, and the serpentine barrens of Staten Island, and Sterling Forest State Park in Orange, NY.