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About Tropical Ecology Institute

June 18, 2012

Participants will experience several tropical habitats, including coral reefs, mangrove swamps, and rain forests. The daily program will include practical field experiences, basic biological information, and easily duplicated techniques for teaching natural sciences. During the trip, participants will provide daily updates to students in North Carolina via the Internet. This program is designed to give educators a direct experience with environments and concepts that are part of the classroom curriculum. Participants will spend time at a Belizean school interacting with teachers and students.

15 Comments leave one →
  1. Meg's Class permalink
    July 20, 2012 12:32 pm

    We wish we could go to Belize with you! ~Meg’s Class

  2. July 21, 2012 7:55 am

    Looks like your going to have a lot of fun. Hope the rainy season stalls while your there. My blog has some of the natural history stuff we saw when we visited Belize a few years ago see my side bar under labels : Belize at my nature blog

    • July 23, 2012 12:27 pm

      Thanks for the link, Randy, you’ve got some great photos of birds and butterflies of Belize!

  3. July 23, 2012 1:06 pm

    I noticed that your team consists of various individuals with differing teaching backgrounds. I saw teachers who teach first grade to teachers who are AP/IB certified. As your mission is to give “direct experience with environments and concepts that are part of the classroom curriculum”, the experiences that the team you send gains will likely have a direct impact on the curriculum and individual teaching styles. My question is, is each teacher going to take make their curriculum separately after this trip or will they discuss with each other to see what things will make a stronger curriculum? How effectively will teachers be able to replicate these experiences in the classroom so students can have the full benefit of these educators being able to go? Thanks.

    • August 8, 2012 8:41 am

      Ed, as one of the teachers who teaches Earth and Environmental Science I can promise you there is a direct correlation between what we did on the trip and what I cover in my classroom. Therefore, I will be able to take the specifics from the trip and bring them to my students to increase their connections. And while I may not be able to make direct connections with the k-5 teachers we still communicate about the trip and the specific experiences to keep them fresh in our minds.

  4. Gavindra Bharrat permalink
    July 23, 2012 5:54 pm

    I was wondering why in Belize, are there exotic species that are not found anywhere else in the world, when there are clearly places where there are similar conditions for their needs to be met and moved from one area to another, such as invasive species? 07/23/12-07/24/12

  5. Michelle permalink
    July 24, 2012 10:00 am

    We are so excited for you all! Happy Hiking!

  6. Gavindra Bharrat permalink
    July 24, 2012 3:50 pm

    I was wondering why the Maya Knobtail Dragonfly is found primarily in Belize and what efforts are being taken by the locals to save them?

  7. Gavindra Bharrat permalink
    July 25, 2012 4:28 am

    Are the areas being explored in Belize protected by the EPA or set aside by the government for study? And is there limited human interaction in the area or are there locals that dwell in the area?

  8. Mary permalink
    July 25, 2012 4:59 pm

    What is a Northern Jacana? That tattoo fern looks awesome. I’d love to have one of those tattoos. How long do they last? You all look great for 5am!

    • dominla permalink
      August 11, 2012 8:57 am

      A Northern Jacana is a beautiful small wading bird found in rivers, ponds, marshes and wet fields of low and mid elevations. They have long, greenish legs and incredibly long toes, drab brown and black body with bright yellow bill and forehead and bright yellow patches under wings that are exposed during flight. Ther are eight species worldwide with only one species occuring in Belize.

      The fern tattoos are from the spores and therefore come off if they get wet or rubbed off. In our case I believe they came off with the dripping sweat!

      5 a.m. greatness was only a result of all the excitement! It did finally catch up with us!

  9. Kelly permalink
    July 27, 2012 7:36 am

    I am so excirted for you all! I can’t wait to learn all that you have learned. Tracie – get all the medicinal plant knowlegde you can & share! The pictures & journal are awesome! Great idea! Much love & be safe!

    • July 29, 2012 6:11 pm

      Thanks Kelly! We wil be posting more stuff in the next couple days.

  10. Ray permalink
    July 30, 2012 3:35 am

    This sounds like an incredible trip. I’m interested in the Belizean school over there: How is it different from the ones here in NC? More specifically, how do they teach earth(/environmental) science there compared to how we teach it here?

    • August 8, 2012 8:52 am

      Ray, after speaking with both Belizean teachers and students I can say that after students graduate from our equivalent of high school their knowledge of ecology is on par with our students. There is a BIG push for local conservation and environmental awareness but I am not sure exactly how that is being articulated. Their classrooms often have more students per class than US schools and that the classrooms don’t necessarily have the same technology as US schools. I do know that some Belizeans do not attend a secondary school because they cannot afford to cost (anywhere from $50US to $250US). I hope this helps.

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