Applying the Knowledge: Students Enjoy the Tropical Heat

December 3rd, 2013

Seventeen students completed a tropical biology course by spending 16 days in the Central American country of Belize. The first part of the trip was spent at the La Milpa Field Station which is in the center of the Rio Bravo Conservation Area (245,822 acres), the largest private reserve in the country.  

The students learned first-hand about diversity by learning local birds (ex. parrots, toucans, motmots) throughout the trip. They also learned about current resource practices within the conservation area, village life, and the history of the Mayan civilization by visiting several archaeological sites. The third largest Mayan ruin in the country was within walking distance. Students then went to the foothills of the Mayan Mountains where they explored the geology of the region by canoeing rivers and through caves.

Students also visited a butterfly farm, the Belize Botanical Gardens and Mayan sites at Xunantunich and Cahal Pech. The last leg of the trip was spent snorkeling on the barrier reef (the second largest in the world). Students saw a variety of marine habitats which was highlighted by a trip to Shark Ray Alley in the Hol Chan Marine Reserve (4,448 acres). Students saw nurse sharks, a variety of rays, fish of many shapes and sizes, and unspoiled coral reef systems. In spite of daily temperatures of 95+ and 90 percent humidity, many students were disappointed when they had to return home.