Earth Expeditions

Baja: Fields Methods

Experience the spectacular desert and marine landscapes of two richly diverse biosphere reserves through ecological and social field methods.

Course Details
In Baja
California,
Mexico:
Baja I: June 11-19, 2020
Baja II: June 23-July 1, 2020
Baja III: July 8-16, 2020
Baja IV: July 20-28, 2020

Baja courses are open to first year GFP master’s students, any interested current students, or can be taken as a stand-alone course. Plan to arrive at least one day before course begins and depart the day after course ends.
On the Web: April – December
Credits: 7 graduate credits from Miami University; course can be applied to the Global Field Program.
Course Cost: Field course (in-country + web): $2,750
(price includes tuition for 5 graduate credits and in-country costs) + airfare (if needed) to San Diego. Ground transportation to San Diego may also be possible.

Fall project course (web, required): $600
(price includes tuition for 2 graduate credits)

Course Overview

Discover the rich marine, island, and mainland ecosystems of Baja. Students in this course stay and study in Bahía de los Ángeles, a UNESCO World Heritage site and biosphere reserve located on the Sea of Cortez.  The dramatic land and seascape of Bahía de los Ángeles includes a remarkable range of marine and desert habitats well suited to a broad range of studies. Students will stay at the Vermilion Sea Field Station, a historic center for marine studies, and at Rancho San Gregorio, a family-owned ranch in the heart of the Vizcaino desert, home to some of the most unique desert plant species on Earth, including the world’s largest cacti (Pachycereus pringlei), elephant trees (Bursera microphylla), and boojums (Fouquieria columnaris).

A key premise of this course is that field methods are not only essential for ecological research, they can serve as the basis for participatory education and for public engagement in science and environmental stewardship. A wide range of diverse investigators — from teachers leading schoolyard ecology to parataxonomists involved in ethnobotanical research — all share a need for reliable information obtained through robust field methods to build understanding and to promote informed action. Field methods — such as point sampling, capture/recapture, quadrant studies, pitfall traps, and line transects — are fundamental tools that allow investigators of all backgrounds to generate knowledge needed to become better informed environmental citizens. Students in this course will become familiar with a range of field methods and contribute to ongoing projects.

Prior to and following the field experience in Baja, students will complete coursework via Dragonfly Workshops’ Web-Based Learning Community as they apply experiences to their home institutions.