High School Programs

 Summer 2017

CONS 110 – Herpetology – Sunday, June 25 – Saturday, July 1, 2017.

This week long course will provide an immersive introduction to the study of reptiles and amphibians. Through lecture, discussion, and field trips, students will learn about the biology, taxonomy, and ecology of snakes, turtles, lizards, salamanders, and frogs. Students will gain hands-on experience in a range of field techniques for the capture, survey, and identification of common herpetofauna in the Northern Virginia area.  The class will focus on the roles that reptiles and amphibians play in ecosystems and threats that may face those populations. Students will meet with local scientists and specialists from the Smithsonian and elsewhere to learn what is being done to monitor and protect amphibians and reptiles around the world. Throughout the week, students will produce a field journal detailing their coursework and species observations as well as written assignments linked to course readings and case studies.

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Utilize field techniques to survey and study herpetofauna in the wild;
  • Differentiate between different types of reptiles and amphibians, and identify common local species;
  • Make observations of reptile and amphibian behavior in the field;
  • Explain how reptiles and amphibians are important to ecosystems;
  • Utilize their increased scientific literacy and technical skills to investigate issues related to amphibian and reptile conservation, especially pollution, climate change, and emerging diseases
  • Critically review conservation issues and responses based on scientific evidence;
  • Interact and network with leading conservation science and policy practitioners

Live and learn side by side with an international community of Smithsonian researchers and industry professionals – and earn 1-2 college credits through George Mason University!

  • Open to rising high school Juniors and Seniors and rising college Freshmen in good standing, with a demonstrated interest in conservation and the environment, and the ability to be exceptional representatives for their states and high schools. Applications will be reviewed in the order in which they are received.
  • Students will have the opportunity to interact with preeminent conservationists and explore the complexity of environmental problems in their social, political and economic contexts.
  • Highly qualified world experts, including Smithsonian scientists, Mason faculty, and colleagues from other U.S. and international conservation organizations provide students with direct connections to the most current research techniques and field work.
  • Earn 1 college credit through George Mason University at one of our immersive, one-week residential, field-based courses.
  • Course fees are $1965 and include instruction, room and board, tuition costs and all activity fees.



CONS 100 (2014)  Video Summer 2014!  CONS (2014) 100 photo album on Facebook.

CONS 110 (2014) Stream Ecology and Water Quality Video for Summer 2014!  CONS (2014) 110 photo album on Facebook. 

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Check out the CONS 100 Video Summer 2013!

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