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What You'll Study

Students will have the opportunity to learn how to:

  • Describe field marks for a variety of animal and plant taxa, including birds, mammals, herps, insects, wildflowers and trees.
  • Identify a wide variety of organisms within those taxa.
  • Correctly use observation and monitoring equipment such as binoculars and GPS units.
  • Deploy tools such as trail cameras and acoustic monitors to remotely monitor species.
  • Complete detailed field notes suitable for citizen science data collection.
  • Apply these skills and techniques to the natural world near their own homes.
Program Details
Dates

July 7 – July 13, 2019

College Credits

2 credits

Cost

$2,100
Includes instruction, room and board, tuition, and activity fees

Who's Eligible?

Rising high school juniors and seniors

Meet the Faculty

Jim McNeil
Assistant Professor of Conservation Studies
Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation
As an entomologist, Jim is interested in expanding awareness of issues related to monitoring and conservation of insect species. He is particularly interested in invasive insect species biology, especially invasive forest pests and how they can be controlled.
Joshua Davis
Assistant Professor of Conservation Biology
Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation
Josh is an ecosystem ecologist whose research explores the effects of disturbance and human influences on ecological processes. His professional background focuses on citizen science research, curriculum development, and assessment design.

Curriculum

In this one-week, residential field course, you will learn from Smithsonian Institute and George Mason University experts about how to observe and identify biodiversity in a variety of settings.  Through extensive hands-on activities and field trips, students will practice taking natural history observations for different animal and plant taxa.  Emphasis is placed on learning skills and techniques that can be applied to environments beyond the SCBI, so that students can practice their natural history skills anywhere.

By the end of the course, you’ll be able to:

  • Describe the field marks for a variety of animal and plant taxa.
  • Correctly identify a wide variety of organisms within those taxa.
  • Correctly use observation and monitoring equipment such as binoculars and GPS units.
  • Deploy tools such as trail cameras and acoustic monitors to remotely monitor biodiversity.
  • Complete detailed field notes suitable for citizen science data collection.
Take the next step toward a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity