Students Spend Winter Researching Aussie Environments
2006. 01. 10.
Caldwell (ID) Blood-sucking leeches, crashing waterfalls, strange creatures and brutal humidity are all part of a regular day in the winter term for a group of 20 students and three professors from Albertson College of Idaho.
The biology class has taken its studies down under and is spending the winter term researching the unique ecology of Australia. The first stop is the rainforests of the continent. The second half of the trip will be spent studying the coral reefs of Heron Island. During both segments of the trip the students will design and conduct research projects. They plan to submit the research for presentation at both the Idaho Academy of Science conference and an Albertson College research day this spring.
'The students get to really spend six weeks focused on biology with no other distractions,' Associate Professor of Biology Chris Walser said. 'We are in some very remote areas and they get to see and experience unique ecosystems.'
Walser one of the faculty members leading the trip along with biology professor Bill Sype and geologist Dora Gallegos. This is the second winter term trip to Australia for Walser.
'I love to teach, and as a biologist interested in fish and marine topics, the coral reefs of Australia are a great venue for me, I get to teach about what I love,' Walser said.
The students prepared for the expedition with fall semester class work. The group spent two hours each week learning about the environments they would be studying and beginning to think about the kinds of research they might conduct.
Each year Albertson College students have an opportunity to travel abroad with faculty members during the six-week winter term. Past trips have taken students to London, Cuba, Thailand, and China. During this winter term, students and faculty are taking trips to Australia and France.
'These trips are life changing experiences for students, they see the world from a different perspective and come back changed in some way,' Walser said.
The Australia experience is chronicled with daily blog entries by both the students and the faculty members. To find out more, and view pictures, visit www.collegeofidaho.edu/academics/biology/Australia06/default.asp The trip is also being recorded by Boise State Radio's Jyl Hoyt who is following the group to capture the events.
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