Columbia offers new ecology program in Dominican Republic

With the help of a two-year $125,000 grant from Theodore W. Kheel, the Center for Environmental Research and Conservation (CERC), will offer a five week long course to undergraduates from around the world beginning July 21, 2003. The Summer Ecosystem Experiences for Undergraduates Program (SEE-U) earns six credits from Columbia University. Through a special scholarship arrangement, three students from the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo will also enroll in the course.

SEE-U is a field ecology methods class offered by CERC to further the training of the next generation of environmental leaders and citizens. This summer will be the fourth consecutive season in which the course has been offered, and will be the first to include both the Punta Cana Biodiversity Laboratory in the Dominican Republic, as well as the Ecological Research Institute (IPE) of Brazil, where the course has been offered annually since 2000.

Students in the SEE-U program are involved in the development and collection of exploratory data for original research, as part of both the collaborative group activities and their individual research projects on a topic of their own design. Graduates not only have a solid grounding for continuing in the fields of conservation, ecology, and environmental biology, but will have also been given the tools to be good environmental citizens.

"This is exactly the type of program we hoped the Punta Cana Biodiversity Laboratory would be used for: introducing students to the study and conservation of their natural surroundings, " said Mr. Kheel, chairman of Grupo Punta Cana where the Laboratory is located. "If these students leave with an appreciation of the essential nature biodiversity worldwide plays in their daily lives, we will have accomplished our mission."

Don Melnick, Executive Director of CERC said "Ted Kheel's timely and generous support has given CERC the opportunity to develop the SEE-U program in a new location, givi

Contact: Robert DeMicco
The Earth Institute at Columbia University

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