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Research/Study Abroad Australia
School for Field Studies
SFS programs allow students to gain research experience in the field; their research centers in Australia, Baja, Costa Rica, Kenya, and Turks & Caicos provide a different research focus in each country.

Australia – Tropical Rain Forest Studies
Heather Moe, 3rd. year Biology student

The Australia program is about rain forest management. A great deal of their forest has been carved into fragments by agriculture and they are trying to reconnect the patches through riparian corridors (thinish strips of forest that follow the creaks and rivers). We learned about the different forest types and then visited different places ranging from original patches of forests to forests that are for logging to farms with corridors already constructed to state research sites.

One of the major portions of the class was working on a research project. Each faculty member there has a different research interest and you pick a project to work on while there. We work on a small section of the research in groups that then fit into the bigger research of the professor’s research. The three projects going on while I was there was on bird migrations, economic planning of corridors on a local farm and the effects of Cyclone Larry on the forests. I worked on the last project and we continued the research done by the previous semester students. When we finished collecting data each student was able to write a research paper like what would be submitted to a journal.

Some other things we did while there was to learn to identify birds and trees. We visited town shires to learn how their government gets involved in rebuilding the forests. We talked with Aboriginal people to get their views on how things have changed since Captain Cook came. We had Sundays off and did a variety of things on those days including going to the Great Barrier Reef, visiting local water falls and making didjeridoos (A musical instrument of the Aboriginal peoples of Australia, consisting of a long hollow branch or stick that makes a deep drone when blown into)

Heather Moe and Kerri Citterbart Australia making didjeridoos
Community service – every Friday we would do community service with local groups working on planting trees.