Essner and Dr. Peter Minchin, Department of Biological
Sciences, SIUE, will be taking a group of students to Panama
during Spring Break, 2009, to study the ecology and
biodiversity of this beautiful tropical country.
As the meeting point between two continents, Panama has
extremely high biodiversity, with 1,000 species of birds
and 8,200 species of flowering plants, 1,200 of which
are found nowhere else on Earth. Initially the
trip is open to all students enrolled in Biology 365
(Ecology), Biology 490 sec 002 (Wildlife Management) and
Biology 490 sec 003 (Ornithology) in spring 2009.
If we have vacancies, the trip may be opened to other
Saturday, March 7: Fly from St. Louis to
Panama City, Panama. Overnight in Panama
March 8: Bus to
Chiriquí highlands of western Panama.
Check in to
Hotel Los Quetzales, Boquete.
March 9 - Tuesday, March 10: Visit
ecosystem sites, including
Sendero Los Quetzales,
where we will observe the aptly named
Resplendent Quetzal. This area is famous
for its magnificent mountains, such as
Wednesday, March 11: Bus to
La Peregüeta, a privately owned nature reserve
in the central lowlands, where we will study
biodiversity of tropical savannah and dry tropical
forest and stay one night. Birds will we see
here include the
Lance-tailed Manakin. Manakins are
for their complex
Thursday, March 12: Bus to Panama City, where we
will check into our hotel for the last three nights
of the trip and visit
Parque Natural Metropolitano, a nature reserve
within the city limits. We will also visit
Miraflores Locks on the
March 13: Day trip to lowland dry tropical
rainforest near Gamboa, where we will visit Pipeline
Road and the
Rainforest Discovery Center and climb a tower
into the canopy of the forest to observe birds and
epiphytic plants at close quarters.
Saturday, March 14: Day trip to
Barro Colorado Island, a rainforest research
site of international significance managed by the
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.
March 15: Return from Panama City to St. Louis.
How to Apply
If you are
interested in coming on this trip, the first step is to
download and complete an international travel study
student application form, which you will find at
this link. You will also need to write a
one-page, single-spaced essay in which you describe
yourself and your career goals and explain why you would
like to take part in this excursion and what benefits
you hope to derive from it. Submit your
application form and essay to either
(Science Building room 3331c, phone 650-2975) or
(Science Building room 3327c, phone 650-2338) no later
than Tuesday, November 25, 2008.
We will then
contact all applicants to arrange interviews, after
which we will select up to 12 students to come on the
trip. If you are selected, you will then have to
pay your airfare (approximately $800) by Tuesday,
December 2, 2008, so that flight bookings can be made.
students will need to purchase an International Student
Identity Card (ISIC), which provides overseas accident
and medical insurance, emergency medical evacuation and
repatriation coverage. The card costs $22 and can
be purchased online at
link or through the
SIUE Office of Study Abroad. Students
will also need to have a valid passport. A
passport application form can be downloaded from the US
State Department Passport Office at
this link. Passport applications must be submitted
no later than January 7, 2009. The current total
passport fee for persons aged 16 and older is $97.
costs for the trip are being generously subsidized by
International Programs at SIUE and by travel grants from
the College of Arts and Sciences, SIUE. We expect
that each student will have to pay approximately $800,
which is equal to the cost of the airfare alone.