Polk State students will leave the classrooms behind this summer, fulfilling their science requirements during a first-ever field experience in the Bahamas.
Polk State science professors Anthony Cornett, Logan Randolph and Natalie Whitcomb have organized the International Science Field Experience.
Students will complete six weeks of online coursework, then head to the Andros, the largest but least developed of the Bahamian islands, for the lab portion of the courses.
During their two-week stay, students will be based at Forfar, a research station operated by International Field Studies, a nonprofit for teachers who run field study programs. Each day of the two-week trip will be filled with eight to nine hours of field work, studying topics such as the 160-mile Andros Barrier Reef, erosion patterns and the effects of saltwater intrusion on the island. Students will also participate in a beach cleanup, which will include analyzing collected items.
The trip will be similar to ones Randolph has led for Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and Florida Southern College. Andros is also where Randolph completed his doctoral work in Ethnobiology with a specialization in Bahamian Biology.
“This will be a life-changing opportunity for students. It will bring biology to life, the science to life,” he said.
Cornett said Andros offers much ecological variety, not to mention the chance to explore a culture with which most are unfamiliar.
“Andros has pretty much every environment you could find, from limestone grasslands to hardwood forests, rocky beaches to sandy beaches,” he said.
“A lot of our students have barely left the state. They will see so many things they’ve never experienced or seen before.”
The trip will be followed by four more weeks of online study.
The trip will take place June 29-July 13. The cost is $2,300, which includes airfare, ground transportation, and room and board. The price does not include tuition and fees for the Polk State courses. A $300 deposit is required by April 1 to reserve a spot.
Priority will be given to students taking two of the following three courses: Environmental Science, Introduction to Marine Biology and Oceanography.