Welcome to the Sonoma State University Biology 497 webpage. Biology 497 is a single four-unit upper division course that specifically examines the “flying taxa of Belize” – the birds, bats, and insects of Belize. All three taxa will be studied with lectures as well as extensive field work (including mist netting for birds and for bats). It is open to students majoring in Biology who have completed at least one year of the Biology Majors curriculum AND have received instructor approval. This course is upper division and transferable as elective units – however, if you are with an institution other than Sonoma State University, you would need to get approval from your department to transfer the course units…contact your major advisor.
The course will meet at Sonoma State University on June 2 and June 3, 2016 for pre-trip lectures and an introduction to the course. June 6, 2016 is a travel day to Belize and we will depart Belize on June 17, 2016. In between those travel dates, we’ll be staying at the Tropical Education Center in the Pine Savanna of Central Belize for three nights and the rest of the nights at the field station facilities of the Toucan Ridge Ecology and Education Society in the tropical broadleaf forest of the Northern Maya Mountains.
Course Advisory: These courses occur during the early summer in the tropical rainforest where temperatures and humidity often exceeds 95 degrees F and upwards of 90% humidity. In addition, moderate levels of hiking are required to reach field study locations. Students would need to be in good health to participate in course activities. Students would also need to remain aware of their surroundings at all times due to potential encounters with venomous and poisonous organisms in the tropics. In addition, if you wish to handle any mammals during the field work you will need to have your pre-exposure vaccinations for rabies. This would need to be completed before the end of May and takes three to four weeks to complete the vaccinations.
Course Prerequisites: Completion of Biol 130a (130) and Biol 130b (131) (course numbers at Sonoma State University) or equivalents with a “C” or better AND instructor consent is required to enroll in this course. Prerequisite equivalencies will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and instructor and University approval must be acquired prior to enrolling in the course.
Expected Costs: $2,600.00 – this includes the University tuition cost ($1,325 – due May 15, 2016) and the course costs in Belize (including in-country transportation, lodging and meals in Belize, park entry fees, and professional guides) – (approximately $1,275). A payment of $637.50 is due to TREES on April 6, 2016 and the remainder $637.50 is due to TREES on May 6, 2016 (the second payment could be reduced by an increase in the number of students in the class). This price excludes airfare, meals while in-transit to Belize, and personal expenses – all of these are the responsibility of the student.
Itinerary: An itinerary of our class is provided HERE or you can click on the Itinerary tab in the website menu.
Application Packet: An application packet is available from the instructors. Please contact them at the emails provided below. Instructor emails: Dr. Fran Keller (firstname.lastname@example.org) or David Wyatt (email@example.com).