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Summer Earth Systems Science Field Camp

Earth Systems Science Summer Field Camp Programme


Frontiers Abroad’s Earth Systems Science Summer Field Camp Programme focuses on analyzing the Tonga and New Zealand Earth System through Māori, Tongan and scientific world views. We explore how both indigenous knowledge and western science are utilized to manage natural resources through field based education and scientific observation. The six-week summer program consists of a series of interconnected field modules in Tonga and North and South Island of New Zealand. It exposes students to environmental science, biological science, and geological science field techniques.

*Participants of the summer program are not required to take the semester component of the program.

Both courses are offered through a series of five distinct modules. Four of the modules are completed alongside Earth Systems students who are completing the semester-long program.

  • Ben gives a short talk at Red Crater, Mt. Ngauruhoe in the background

    A short talk at Red Crater, Mt. Ngauruhoe in the background

    Module 1: Volcanoes – giveth life and taketh away: Introduction to field observations through volcanology, hazards, and geothermal energy. Volcanoes bring to light a major problem in measuring and mitigating human environmental impacts, and that is the void in our understanding of how the planet has been impacting itself. Volcanoes can be a threat to society, but they are also a major source of geothermal energy New Zealand relies upon to meet its energy demands. The North Island of New Zealand is one of the most volcanically active regions on Earth. The magnitude, frequency, and environmental impact of eruptions from 300 thousand years ago to the present can be quantified in both time and space through careful field observations. In this module we will first observe and map the products of volcanic eruptions and discuss their impacts on civilization. A special focus will be placed upon introducing field mapping, observations and recording these observations in field notebooks. Finally we will look at how New Zealand is currently exploiting geothermal energy to meet its energy demands.

  • At the Marea with Dan!

    At the Marea with Dan!

    Module 2: Kaitiakitanga, Maori perspectives on natural hazards, resource management, and environmental restoration, Bay of Plenty. The concept of kaitiakitanga (which loosely translates as ‘guardianship’) played a crucial role in traditional Maori society, and is increasingly sought as an environmental paradigm in contemporary settings. As kaitiaki, Maori were responsible for ensuring the viability of land and resources for the following generations. Guidelines and methods were developed to meet the needs and requirements of traditional Maori communities. In this module, we will investigate some of the indigenous methods used and the challenges contemporary societies face when assessing how to implement the principle of kaitiakitanga in the 21st century. Students will be exposed first hand to the concept of kaitiakitanga by investigating various issues facing Bay of Plenty communities.

  • Module 3: Tropical Marine Ecology and Community Fisheries, Kingdom of Tonga.  Following the Bay of plenty, students fly to Tonga where they will spend two weeks in the South Pacific. the first week will be an introduction to the coral reef and associated ecosystems, including the land-sea interactions and geology of Pacific Island(s) with a focus on Tonga. The second week, students will also learn about offshore fisheries, inshore Special Management Areas and aquaculture in Pacific Island Nations, with a focus on Tonga’s experiences and projects.
  • Curious seals were subjected to student surveys

    Curious seals were subjected to student surveys

    Module 4: New Zealand Marine and Coastal Ecology, Kaikoura Peninsula. Following our two weeks in Tonga we head to the  South Island. Located 180 km north of Christchurch, the Kaikoura Peninsula is home to extensive rocky shores and a marine canyon only 500 m off the Canterbury Coast. It is also central to the forests, rivers and mountains of the Seaward Kaikoura Ranges. Students will begin the week in Kaikoura exploring the flora and fauna of the rocky shore, noting the changes due to recent earthquakes and observing oceanic influences of the peninsula and near shore environment. We will then be introduced to members of Te Korowai o Te Tai Marokura, a local community group, and assess potential avenues for research to complement the implementation of their marine strategy ‘Sustaining Our Sea’ vision. Specifically, students will learn how the recent earthquake has effected the local megafauna (fur seals) and intertidal zone!

Programme Details:

Credits/Units: 5 credits transcripted by the Skidmore College.

  1. Earth Systems Science Field Camp (5 credits)

Tuition 2018: $5,250 USD   ***Subject to change

  1. Tuition includes all 5-week field camp costs
  2. Travel and health insurance
  3. Academic advising
  4. Skidmore Transcript
  5. Pre-Departure Services
    1. Application and Visa Support Services