Earth Expeditions

Paraguay: Eco-Leadership

Students in this course co-develop an Eco-Leadership program in Paraguay with our partner, Para La Tierra.

Course Details
In Paraguay: TBD 2021
Add 1-2 days travel time. Students arrive at least one day before the course begins.
On the Web: April – December
Credits: 7 graduate credits from Miami University; course can be applied to the Global Field Program.
Course Cost: Projected 2021 Field course (in-country + web): $3,225 (price includes tuition for 5 graduate credits and in-country costs) + airfare to Asunción, Paraguay + additional course support costs.

Projected 2021 Fall project course (web, required): $790 (price includes tuition for 2 graduate credits)

Course Overview

Nestled in the heart of South America, Paraguay is home to the beautifully delicate Cerrado, the lush Atlantic Forest, the challenging Gran Chaco, and other rare and secluded ecosystems that have received little study and deserve far more attention. Some of Paraguay’s rather unusual fauna include the Chacoan peccary (first discovered in fossil form and thought to be long extinct, but as it turns out they are quite alive as seen in one of the banner photos above), owl monkeys, giant anteaters, guanacos, white-winged nightjars, and more than half the world’s species of armadillo, including such representatives as the greater fairy and the screaming hairy armadillo.

Environmental awareness is on the rise in Paraguay but contends with increasingly strong pressure from population growth, agriculture, cattle ranching, hunting, and construction. The presence of conservation organizations in Paraguay is quite limited, and there is a critical need to better understand and to build on the traditionally close relationship between local people and the land on which they depend.

Students in this course will have the unique opportunity to co-develop an Eco-Leadership program for Paraguay, working in partnership with Para La Tierra (PLT), a nonprofit conservation organization devoted to scientific research, conservation, and community engagement. The founding Director of PLT, Karina Atkinson, is a Global Conservation Fellow with Project Dragonfly. Her work has earned a Rolex Award, and she and the PLT team are deeply committed to supporting the next generation of conservation and education leaders.  Students will learn with Paraguayan youth and others the diverse skills required for effective eco-leadership, including methods for assessing wildlife populations; how to develop public exhibits, participatory media, and community events celebrating local biota; how to evaluate both educational and ecological outcomes, and how to support the ingenuity of local teams to foster local knowledge creation and informed environmental action.