Drexel Summer Break in Cameroon: Biodiversity & Conservation
The Tropical Biodiversity and Conservation Program is an NSF PIRE-sponsored program jointly coordinated by Drexel, UCLA and CAB Alliance. This is an intensive 3 week field course with a strong focus on hands-on experiential learning and training in biodiversity research. The overall aim of this program is provide training in the fundamentals of tropical field research. A total of 20 undergraduate students will participate in this course, half of which will be from U.S. institutions and the other half from Cameroonian and Equato-Guinean universities. Students will work collaboratively in teams to:
- Design an independent research project in tropical ecology
- Collect data and analyze results
- Write a report in the format of a scientific publication summarizing the aims, methods, results and conclusions of the research project
- Present project findings to participants and instructors at the end of the course
By participating in this program, students will:
- Understand the basic principles of conservation biology and evaluate how these principles are applied to problems in conservation.
- Read the assigned literature and be able to critically assess the key concepts in a discussion and written format.
- Demonstrate how to research data, work through spread-sheet exercises and manipulate software applicable to solving conservation problems.
- Co-design an original research project and work effectively as a team member in a group environment.
- Demonstrate an ability to effectively communicate research findings and key concepts through both oral and written presentation.
Drexel students will be registered for BIO 499 Special Topics, 2 credits during the Spring 2017 term
Non-Drexel students have the option of receiving 2 credits for this program and will be billed at the regular Drexel per-credit rate, $1,094 per credit as of November 2016. Please refer to the bursar's office website for more information. The 2 credits are not mandatory.
All students are suggested to have taken at least one college level French course, but preferably more. Course instruction will be in English.
All U.S., Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea undergraduate participants will be required to participate in a mandatory 1-3 week online seminar prior to the commencement of the program. For 2017, the seminar is scheduled to begin at the end of May-- students will be able to attend either virtually or in person. Topics covered include tropical field ecology and conservation research, health and safety guidelines, French language training, vaccinations and visa/passport issues. U.S., Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea students will also be placed into research teams and encouraged to get to know one another via Skype.
This course will be taught by faculty from the US, Cameroon, Hong Kong, and Germany.
Depart US: July 5, 2017
Arrive Cameroon: July 6, 2017
Depart Cameroon: July 27, 2017
Students will be provided with more details, including flight information, closer to the departure date.
Location: This course includes activities at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), International Bilingual Academy of Yaoundé (IBAY-SUP) and Regional Centre for Special Education in Agriculture and Forestry (CRESA) in Yaoundé, Cameroon, the Njuma research station of the Ebo Forest Research Project (EFRP) in the Ebo Forest, and the training center of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) at Mbam and Djerem National Park.
Program logistics: All students will spend the first three days of the program attending classroom-based lectures, literature discussions and guided seminars focused around the development of their team research project in Yaoundé. The entire class and instructors will then travel to the WCS training center at Mbam et Djerem National Park for ten days. During this time, students will be expected to collect field data in teams and organize their data for analysis. All students will be expected to keep a field log while they are at Mbam et Djerem. Students will then return to Yaoundé to analyze their data, present their research findings and write up their project report.
Accommodation: While in Yaoundé, students will be housed within easy reach of the IITA & IBAY-SUP campuses. At the Ebo Forest, students will stay in tents at the San Diego Zoo Global’s EFRP Njuma research station and at the WCS Training Center at Mbam and Djerem National Park (MDNP).
Travel: Students arriving from the U.S. will arrive at Yaoundé Nsimalen International Airport. A flight itinerary will be provided to students upon acceptance into the program. US students should arrive in Yaoundé no later than the evening of July 6th and plan on leaving Yaoundé no earlier than the evening of July 27th.
Visa: US students are also expected to be in possession of a valid passport, required Cameroon visa and take all required vaccinations prior to travel. While in Cameroon students will need to take appropriate malaria medication.
A $500 commitment fee is due within 2 weeks of acceptance into the program. This $500 payment will be refunded upon completion of the program.
This program is being generously funded by a National Science Foundation PIRE grant, in order to reduce the cost to students. Without this subsidy, the actual program cost would be over $4500 per student.
Included in Program Fee:
- On-site lodging, food, transport, and program activities
- US/Cameroon round-trip flight subsidy up to $2,150
- Cost for a visa for travel to Cameroon of up to $150
Not Included in Program Fee (out of pocket approx $600):
- Passport $140
- Vaccinations $160
- Spending money $200
- Other expenses $100
- Application fee $25