CHANCE researchers take on global climate change in Panama
Eighteen undergraduates and four professors are conducting global climate change research in the wilds of Panama as part of the Penn State Lehigh Valley CHANCE program's (Connecting Humans and Nature through Conservation Experiences) 2013 field course. Their journey began June 28 and continues through July 14. All are invited to meet the participants and follow their experience on the CHANCE Facebook page (www.facebook.com/psuchance) and the CHANCE website (www.chance.psu.edu).
For the first half of their experience, the group will be based at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute's (STRI) Gamboa School House in Gamboa County, Panama. Their planned activities include learning from Smithsonian scientists, visiting the Panama Canal, visiting an indigenous village, and conducting research on plant and bird life on Barro Colorado Island.
Next, they travel to Bocas del Toro in West Panama to study the biodiversity of mangroves and coral reefs, followed by a transfer to the San San Beach WIDECAST station to participate in sea turtle conservation and manatee observation activities.
CHANCE was founded in 2004 as a partnership between Penn State and the Pennsylvania Department of Education to train pre-service and in-service high school science teachers in environmental science and conservation biology through research. The program also develops teaching strategies that can be used in classrooms to develop students’ knowledge of, concern for and skill sets to solve challenging environmental problems.
Through international field courses and online curricular tools, CHANCE participants engage in inquiry-based research opportunities and conservation efforts so they can better understand global environmental issues. The program strives to connect people to nature through real-world experiences that incorporate scientific concepts, techniques, data and interpretations so they can construct their own understanding of their local landscapes and better effect change that will sustain the planet’s biodiversity.