This program has a research component, and students complete an independent study project for 5 of the 15 weeks. Preferred experience: previous college coursework and/or other significant preparation in environmental studies, ecology, biology or related fields, as assessed by SIT.
This program explores the terrestrial and marine ecosystems of far North Queensland and the relationship of traditional and contemporary human cultures with the environment. Students interact with scientists and local experts from organizations such as the Lizard Island Research Stationand the Wet Tropics Management Authorityto gain a firsthand understanding of ongoing conservation efforts in an exceptionally diverse environment.
The program's field-based modules allow students to:
Examine the diversity of habitats and environments within the Wet Tropics Bioregion
Study coral reef conservation and management issues
Experience traditional Aboriginal lifestyles and culture
A Leader in Tropical Conservation Australia is the planet's only developed country containing significant tropical rainforest and coral reef systems. Because of this, many people regard North Queensland as a "proving ground" for conservation efforts of tropical forests and coral reef systems worldwide. North Queensland's economy emphasizes agriculture and nature-based tourism.
The region's well-educated public, strong conservation infrastructure, and extensive science and community involvement in nature conservation efforts, are other important factors explaining why the region can serve as an example for tropical ecosystems management and conservation globally.
Throughout the program, students examine the regional landscape and particular histories, perspectives, and values of its diverse inhabitants.
Excursions to different ecosystems with high biodiversity and landscape values are a major emphasis of the Australia: Rainforest, Reef, and Cultural Ecology program. Therefore, much of the program's academic delivery takes place outside of Cairns. The program's four field based modules are designed to integrate field observations, lectures, and direct experience with theoretical considerations learned in the classroom and from course readings.
Orientation Students gain immediate exposure to the themes of the course during orientation. These themes include the ecology of rainforest and reef systems, and the cultural interactions that people of the region have with these specific environments. During orientation, students travel as a group to points of interest along the coast and upland areas surrounding Cairns. During these short excursions, students examine ecological patterns and processes and the influence they have had on historical and contemporary human environmental attitudes and settlement patterns. Students become increasingly familiar with the regional geology, geography, and biota, as well as traditional and modern approaches to living in the landscape. Students visit rainforest protected areas and two Aboriginal cultural heritage enterprises. A day on the Great Barrier Reef launches the program’s reef ecology studies and helps students better understand the connections between marine and terrestrial ecosystems. The orientation period aims to give students a "taste" of the main program components and helps them narrow their research interests for their Independent Study Project.
Aboriginal guides, associated with the SIT program for more than 15 years, enthusiastically share with students their diverse knowledge of traditional Aboriginal lifestyles and culture. Students explore the environs around their campsites and investigate how traditional Aboriginal culture viewed and interacted with their environment. Group discussions focus on the practical realities of survival in the Australian environment, and students contemplate how environmental realities affected the development of the world's oldest living culture. Students address contemporary problems facing Aboriginal cultural survival and discuss the means by which Australian society in general, and North Queensland in particular, can reconcile its sometimes violent and tumultuous past, with a future that includes the First Australians.
The Wet Tropics Bioregion: A Landscape Ecology Perspective The 10 day rainforest module examines the diversity of habitats and environments within the Wet Tropics bioregion. The program adopts a landscape ecology approach to emphasize the development of the region both from an historical and contemporary perspective. Students examine the linkages between geology, geomorphology, climate, human activity, and the ecological systems of the Wet Tropics. Day trips to a variety of sites allow students to examine a range of different structural "types" of rainforests as recognized by scientists. Students are required to develop their observation skills and knowledge of forest physiognomic characteristics in order to categorize the structural features that account for these differences. At each site students are required to place the site within its overall landscape context and relate the larger scale patterns and processes they observe, in order to integrate their understanding of the natural and human communities of the bioregion. Students are expected to become "experts" on local flora and fauna, and throughout this module the identification of organisms and knowledge of the phylogeny, taxonomy, and life history of the biota is emphasized. During this module, students also complete a two day field study in which they develop a research question and methods, and analyze and report their findings to the rest of the group.
Coral Reefs: Ecology and Conservation The coral reef ecology and conservation module is delivered primarily during the 10 day excursion to Lizard Island Research Station on the Great Barrier Reef. During this module, students develop an in-depth understanding of the ecological patterns and processes of coral reef ecosystems. Students examine coral reef conservation and management issues from both local and global perspectives. The research station provides six-person boats which are used to survey the diverse fringing reefs surrounding Lizard Island. During morning snorkeling sessions (usually about 3 hours in duration) students learn underwater data collection and fish observation skills, and become proficient in the identification of major coral groups and reef fish families. Students must collect data for a scientific report they write as part of their coursework. During afternoon snorkel sessions (usually about 2.5 hours in duration), students explore various reef habitats around the island, observing how environmental parameters influence reef structure and species composition. On these snorkeling excursions, students often see marine turtles, stingray, octopus, and the occasional moray eel.
When not in the water or at lectures, students may interact with the researchers working at this world-class research facility. Many students in the past have collaborated with researchers at the station on their Independent Study Project.
• One of Australia’s most prestigious universities, modeled after Oxford • Main campus next to the laid-back, trendy Glebe neighborhood with a cafe culture and a New Age attitude • More than 100 teaching departments organized into 16 faculties • A magnificent 1857 quadrangle regarded as a national treasure • The modern Fisher Library, the largest of its kind in Australia • An active student union with dining services, recreational facilities, medical centers, dental clinic, banks, pharmacies, travel agencies, hairdresser, news agents and food outlets • More than 200 student societies and clubs to give students a rich and diverse experience • Great sports facilities, including indoor pool, rock climbing, tennis pavilion, gymnasium and recreation center, plus a ski hut • A short bus ride from the central business district, Darling Harbour and Circular Quay, and about 30 minutes from the closest beach
Reknowned for its multicultural flavor, Sydney is without a doubt one of the most amazing cities in the world. The possibilities for education, culture, entertainment, and sports are nearly endless in this thriving metropolis. At its heart is a spectacular harbor, home to the famous sails of the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. When you're looking to unwind from the fast pace of Sydney, visit the Blue Mountains in the west or sample wines int he Hunter Valley to the north of Sydney, where some of Australia's best wines are made.
• One of Australia’s leading research and higher education institutions in the heart of a cosmopolitan city • A wide range of subject choices, especially in the arts, science, economics and commerce • Interesting and innovative interdisciplinary programs • An impressive main library and 15 branch libraries in faculties and departments • On-campus health service, post office, banks, restaurant, cafe, bistro, food cooperative, pharmacy, dental service, hair salon, news agent, bookstore, computer store, travel agent, cinema, theatres, art galleries, and stalls selling fruits, vegetables, clothing and general merchandise • An energetic atmosphere due to an active student union that sponsors concerts, speakers and cultural events • Union House, the hub of campus social life and home to many of the 160 clubs and societies • Great indoor and outdoor athletic facilities, including a mountain lodge
Frequently voted one of the world's most livable cities, Melbourne is Australia's capital of sophistication. It's also the arts capital of Australia, baosting theaters, concert venues, galleries, arts events and a thriving local music scene. Among its world class sporting teams ans events are Aussie Rules football, the Melbourne Cup (horse racing), the Australian Open (tennis), and the Australian Grand Prix (Formula One racing). You can seim at great beaches just outside the city, hike or ski, or travel the coastline to see penguines and magnificent views of seascapes. Melbourne has many distinct neighborhoods, unique architecture, thousands of cafes and restaurants, and great public transportation to easily explore the entire area.
Brisbane is the third largest city in Australia (1.8 million), Brisbane is the third largest city in Australia (1.8 million), the state capital of Queensland and considered to be one of the more desirables places to live. It is a multicultural city of tropical charm with a laid-back outdoor lifestyle and offers a cosmopolitan atmosphere, plenty of cultural events, and access to amazing parks. Brisbane's selection of restaurants, cafes and nightlife provides a truly urban experience.
Perth, Australia is the capital city of Perth, Australia is the capital city of the state of Western Australia, and although distant from other large cities, it has skyscrapers, a great cafe life and access to endless beaches.
The University of The University of Technology, Sydney is located near downtown Sydney, a city of four million people. The UTS campus is just a short walk or bus ride away from an exciting selection of entertainment, shopping, and sightseeing.