Ecuador is an amazing country rich in indigenous cultural and natural beauty. It is also a model for sustainable development successes and failures. This makes it an ideal place to explore how biology, culture and development interact to make sense of history and inform the future. In this interdisciplinary honors course, students will explore three regions of the country — the coastal lowlands, Andes and Amazon basin — to learn about their high biodiversity, vitality of indigenous cultures and successful models of sustainable development. Factors contributing to each will be compared and integrated to develop an understanding of how they interact. Students will explore what creates and sustains biodiversity, what promotes survival of indigenous cultures and how economic development can occur in a way that is compatible with both. Students will learn basic ecology, evolution and natural history as they explore the rain forest at different elevations. Students will learn different cultural beliefs about the forests and how they are used by the mestizo and indigenous cultures. Students will learn about different facets of economic development — ecology, economics, politics and culture — and reasons for their successes or failures at each site. This course will provide an unforgettable introduction to equatorial life in the Americas.
Join other honors students of all majors on a unique interdisciplinary course that explores Ecuador’s coastal lowlands, Andes, and Amazon rainforest to learn about their high biodiversity, vitality of indigenous cultures and successful models of sustainable development. The winter intersession trip to Ecuador (12/30/17 – 1/17/18) will be preceded and followed by required class meetings arranged around student schedules.
Course: Ecuador: Biology, Culture, and Sustainable Development
Credit Hours: 1-3
Instructor: Heidi Appel
Class Dates: tbd
Tour Dates: 12/30/17 – 1/14/18
$2,700 per student covers all expenses within the country, including room, board, transportation, and full-time bilingual Tour Director. Students pay tuition and airfare from the US to Guayaquil, Ecuador and from Quito, Ecuador to the US.
Special health/safety/environmental considerations:
The trip is physically demanding because of the intense schedule of travel within the country, the large amount of walking and hiking on uneven terrain, and visits to higher elevations. Unfortunately, few areas visited are handicap accessible.