ABEC Upcoming Travel Options

During each year, the ABEC department conducts a number of nature-focused trips for students. Some of these experiences are associated with academic credit; others are conducted solely as informal learning opportunities.

Here are the travel options for 2019-2020 and beyond. Note, however, that the details presented here remain subject to change as plans develop. Please stay tuned as more trips will be posted soon.

ABEC 351: Zoo Exhibitry
Students interested in working in zoos can register for Zoo Exhibitry (ABEC 351), a one-credit course. Students enrolled in this course travel to numerous zoos during fall break to learn about and critically evaluate zoo design. Each year the trip is focused on a different set of zoos and students can take the course multiple times. This year the theme is "Designing with Animal Welfare in Mind". Travel will take place over Fall Break and include Toledo Zoo, Brookfield Zoo, Lincoln Park Zoo, Shedd Aquarium, and Detroit Zoo. 

Important details:
Destination:  Five Midwestern zoos, 4 days
When:  October 12-15, 2019
What: Study of zoo exhibit design in practice
Sponsor/Mentor: ABEC/Suchak
Participation:  Any student who has completed ABEC101/102 may register for this course. Usually 40 seats. 
Cost Per Person: $300, due May 1, 2019
Deadline to apply/deposit: Register during spring semester as part of normal registration process. Payment in full due before the end of the Spring 2019 semester.

ABEC 403: Tropical Ecology and Conservation

Travel to Belize over winter break to study tropical ecology and conservation in this 1-credit course.  We will explore the amazing wildlife and habitats of northern Belize, and learn from local experts about the conservation issues that affect this unique environment.  Staying at field stations and ecolodges in the Rio Bravo Conservation Area, we will head out on foot and by boat to look for its diverse wildlife. The area is home to nearly 400 bird species and over 70 types of mammals – including the largest population of jaguars in Belize - as well as numerous reptiles, amphibians, and insects.  Our trip will include forest hikes, nocturnal wildlife spotting, presentations by local experts, visits to the zoo, wildlife sanctuaries, and grassroots conservation organizations, and even the chance to climb an ancient Mayan temple. Students are expected to read several short papers before and during the trip, participate in discussions, and keep a daily journal/field notebook.  At the end of the trip, each student will write a short, reflective paper on one aspect of the experience.  In addition, this year students will have the opportunity to participate in three start-up research projects in the Rio Bravo Preserve.  Gain valuable experience with field techniques including camera trapping for mammals and herpetofauna, infrared surveys for nocturnal mammals, and tarantula surveys. 

Important Details:
Destination:  various locations in Belize
When: Winter Break 2019 – 12 days (Approximate dates 12/29-1/9)
What: Mesoamerican rain forest ecology, tropical conservation issues, wildlife observation, grassroots conservation initiatives, Mayan history and culture, human-wildlife coexistence
Sponsor/Mentor: ABEC/Foster
Participation: Participation is limited to 12 students. Application required, spots awarded competitively.
Cost per person: $3000 (estimated, all-inclusive)
Deadline to apply/deposit: Applications due September 12, deposit date September 30 ($500)


FAH 273: Field Excursion: Connections Between Animal Portrayals in Museums and Zoos

This one-credit course can be taken on its own, or in conjunction with FAH 272 (Animals in Art) as a one-credit add-on. Animals in Art covers Field 3, Arts and Literature. The course is open to students in any major. ABEC students should note that while this course will count towards the zoo biology minor, it will not count towards the ABEC major. Indulge in the rich art culture of Germany as you visit some of the world’s most notable museums. Experience the wild side of the country at its many zoos. In addition to the wonderful art museums and historic locales, we will visit three world class zoos: Hamburg Tierpark, Berlin Zoo and Lepizig Zoo.

Important Details:
Destination:  Germany
When: Spring Break 2020
What: Art and animals
Sponsor/Mentor: FAH/Widenor; ABEC/Margulis
Participation: Participation is limited
Cost per person: $2500 per person (approximate cost, subject to change). Cost inclues: flights, hotels, admissions, ground transport, and some meals.
Deadline: TBD, early fall. 


ABEC 404: Wildlife Ecology and Conservation in Africa
This capstone course is open to students who will be seniors in Fall 2020. This experience will provide you with training in field methods for wildlife ecology and behavior by immersing you in a research experience. We will be traveling to South Africa, where we will stay at the Lajuma Research Centre. We will be living and working together for almost 3 weeks, hiking in the Soutpansberg Mountains. Days will be spent following habituated monkeys, maintaining camera traps, working with the Small Mammal Research Team from the University of Venda, the resident research staff at Lajuma, and the students and research assistants of the Primate and Predator Project. We will travel to Kruger National Park for several days during the trip, and will hike to and stay at Leshiba Wilderness (home to rare white rhinos and other wildlife). Students register for the course during Fall 2020, and complete research projects initiated in South Africa. Readings will cover topics including behavior and ecology of samango monkeys, human-wildlife conflict, and South African history and culture. The people, landscapes, and wildlife are spectacular.

Important details:
Destination:  Lajuma Research Centre and Kruger Nat’l Park (South Africa)
When:  May 18- June 8, 2020 (plus required 3-credit course in the fall) (Please note: dates are approximate, and may shift by 1-2 days)
What: Field study of monkeys, and other highland wildlife endemic to the hill regions of South Africa.  Kruger National Park and Leshiba Wilderness for observations of additional wildlife species endemic to scrubland habitat. Part of three-credit capstone course to be completed during Fall 2020 semester. 
Sponsor/Mentor: ABEC/Margulis
Participation:  Participation is limited to eight students, rising seniors only.  Seats competitively awarded.  
Cost Per Person: $3,500 (estimated, food included, subject to change)
Deadline to apply/deposit: Applications due TBD, around mid-November.