Field Studies in Ecuador:
The Galapagos Islands, Andes Mountains and Tropical Rainforest
July 15 – August 6, 2001
Dr. Betty Smith, Department of Geology and Geography
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This field program will provide a cross cultural and scientific experience as participants, over a three week period of time, traverse and explore unique ecological zones along the Equator. The course combines the study of geography and earth science. Participants will study the volcanic landscape forming processes of the region and observe the impacts of these processes on topography, hydrology, soils, agriculture and settlement patterns. Various forms of agriculture and associated problems of erosion are observed. The geography of human-land interactions are examined in the tropical rainforest of the Ecuadorian Amazon, in the high Andes Mountains, and on the Galapagos Islands located 600 miles off the coast of South America.
During this intensive three week course students learn about the physical and cultural geographic landscapes of Ecuador through personal experience and observation. The course is a combination of lecture and guided observation in the field. While in Ecuador, students participate in evening round table discussions where the events and observations of the day are reviewed and issues debated.
COURSE LEVEL: This is a special off-campus course that provides upper division undergraduate or graduate level semester credits at Eastern Illinois University. Participants enroll in Geography 4998 or Earth Science 4998 for 5 credits and may choose to enroll in an additional 3 semester credits of related Research GEG/ESC 4996. See separate syllabus for 3 credit Research in Ecuador GEG/ESC 4996.
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisite for GEG/ESC 4998 is one geography or one earth science course or permission of the instructor. Ability to speak or read Spanish is not required. If you have taken some Spanish, it will be useful. All majors are welcome.
EVALUATION METHODS FOR DETERMINING GRADE (5 Credits)
UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS: Final grade will be based upon student participation during Field Course (30%), one test while in the field (40%), and a journal* (30%).
GRADUATE STUDENTS: Final grade will be based upon student participation during Field Course (30%), one test while in the field (40%) and a journal* (30%). A higher level of performance will be required of graduate students.
* The journal is to contain a description of personal observations, experiences, interpretations and reactions to the physical and cultural geography of Ecuador.
OPTIONAL READING: This book is not required reading, however, many of the topics examined in the book will be discussed during the field course. As background reading, students may wish to refer to this book before or after participating in the course.
The following book may be found at libraries, purchased in bookstores or ordered over the internet. Price quoted is from www.amazon.com on the internet.
Southgate, Douglas & Morris Whitaker, 1994 Economic Progress and The Environment: One Developing Country’s Policy Crisis, New York: Oxford University Press. (ISBN #0195087860, only available in hardcover, 150 pages, $55.00)
This book is particularly relevant to the study of Ecuadorian human-land interactions. The book is entirely devoted to the conflicts between economic development and environmental degradation. The issues are examined in the context of various ecological zones of Ecuador, including specific case studies. Chapter headings include the following:
1. Environmental Crisis in the Latin American Countryside
2. Causes of Increasing Resource Scarcity
3. Policy Crisis and Environmental Degradation
4. Case Study on Tropical Deforestation
5. Case Study on Farmland Degradation
6. Case Study on Waste and Misallocation of Water Resources
7. Case Study on Oil Industry Pollution in the Ecuadorian Amazon
8. Case Study on Shrimp Mariculture and Coastal Ecosystems
9. Case Study on Tourism and Species Preservation in the Galápagos
10. Development and the Environment: Some Common Fallacies
11. Resolving the Policy Crisis