The entire study abroad program will be conducted in the state of Karnataka. Most of the travel will be around the city of Bangalore and Mysore and in the ecosystems of the Western Ghats. This entire region has a cooler climate in the months of June and July, because of the higher elevation and milder monsoons, relative to the plains of northern and central India. In addition there are many excellent research and conservation non-governmental organizations in that region. The Western Ghats offers numerous ecosytem types from high altitude grasslands interspersed with dense evergreen forest patches called shola, to moist deciduous and dry deciduous forests. Also the students will be able to understand: how forest dwelling populations live a subsistence life in these forests; human-wildlife conflict; and sustainable harvest of forest products. The Western Ghats (mountains) are brimming with large wild animals such as elephants, wild dogs, gaur, tigers, leopards, several deer species and students are likely to see several species while visiting protected areas.
Karnataka, in south India, is bordered by Goa and the Arabaian Sea on the west. The state has three main regions: the coastal plains abutting the sea; the Western Ghat Mountains running parallel to the coastline and the inland Deccan plateau. The Western Ghats is a biodiversity hotspot. Karnataka has 20% forest cover and is home to several endangered species including elephant, tiger, gaur, leopard, wild dog and numerous bird and amphibian species. Students are expected to see some of these spectacular species in Bandipur and Nagerhole National Parks that comprise the UNESCO designated Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. Students will also visit a Tiger Reserve, a Bird Sanctuary, an elephant corridor and a silk cottage industry village. Karnataka has emerged as a national leader in Information Technology, biotechonology, floriculture, and in the silk industry. Karnataka is also extremely rich in cultural history with numerous ancient temples over a thousand years old dotting the state. Students will also experience a taste of this rich musical, dance and architectural history.
The group will arrive in Bangalore and over the six-week period be taken to several destinations in Karnataka. The main orientation and fieldwork methods will be covered in a private restored forest near Bannerghetta Park, near Bangalore, and just outside Bhadra Tiger Reserve.
Ecologist and anthropologist, Dr. Geetanjali Tiwari has worked on diverse environmental and ecological issues all over India including the study of primate behavior, ecotourism development, polyandry, illegal trade in wildlife, herpetology and wildlife conservation.
Students will enroll in two courses for the program. Undergraduate and graduate levels listed below:
EVRN 460/EVRN 720 – Field Ecology (3 hours)
EVRN 420/EVRN 720 – Environmental Issues of India (3 hours)
Both courses are intended to help students gain a holistic understanding of environmental issues in India and to develop skills that will enable them to function as effective environmental field scientists, biologists, and natural resource managers while working with environmental data. Specifically students will learn how environmental field studies are designed, data collection techniques as well as analyses and interpretation of results.
For the first few weeks the group will be staying in permanent high quality tents in a private forest near Bangalore’s Bannerghettaa’s National Park, that has water, electricity, bathroom and kitchen facilities. The owner of this site is a conservationist who leases this property to educators for conservation education only. The group will also stay in a dormitory near a coffee plantation near Bhadra Tiger Reserve, Karnataka. Most of the field techniques and field training will be conducted in the above two places. During the remaining site visits, the group will move rapidly from one site to another and stay in local simple hotels along the way.
Almost all meals will be group meals included in the program costs and students will be responsible only for a minimal amount of extra snacks/food they may want to purchase individually.
Application deadline: March 1, 2013
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Open to undergraduate, graduate and professional students from any accredited U.S. college or university. It is recommended that participants have completed EVRN 148: Principles of Environmental Studies (or equivalent) prior to departure.
The Environmental Studies Program is encouraging graduate students from disciplines with a strong background in biology or environmental science to take advantage of a unique opportunity this summer to study in Karnataka, India.
Six hours of upper level undergraduate or graduate credit are granted by the University of Kansas upon successful completion of the program.
KU students who qualify for summer financial aid in the form of Stafford and/or other loans, Pell or SEOG Grants, and scholarships may apply the aid to the cost of a Study Abroad Program.
Environmental Studies majors may also be eligible for targeted scholarships. Contact the Environmental Studies Program (email@example.com) for details.
Non-KU students should check into the financial resources available to them at their home institutions.