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Tropical Biology and Conservation in Belize

Photo of Brandt LaRoy

My path to where I currently am in career has been quite the journey. I am a first-generation college graduate and the first grandchild on both sides of my family to receive a graduate degree. After a single, 4-year enlistment in the US Air Force followed by a number of factory jobs, I began my academic career as a non-traditional student at the age of 27 with a wife and three kids under 5. With my wife’s continued support, I was able to go from no college education to a PhD in ten years. This educational journey resulted in an AA degree from State Fair Community College in Sedalia, MO, followed by a BS in Biology from Missouri State University in Springfield, MO. I then obtained an MS in Biology from the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, MO where I had the opportunity to take a study abroad course to Jamaica in Marine Ecology (I knew at that I wanted to offer study abroad courses for my future students). The next step in my education was a PhD in Entomology from the University of Kansas. Once at my first position in academia, I began offering study abroad courses to Belize and also to Costa Rica.

(More Info)

Faculty:
Dr. LaRoy Brandt (More Info)

Course:
Tropical Biology and Conservation in Belize

Program Dates:
May 16, 2023 - May 29, 2023

Honors Credit:
Available

WKU Course:
TBA

Discipline(s):
Biology , Earth & Environmental Science

Course Description:
Study and explore one of the most biodiverse regions of the globe -- by engaging all your senses as you see, hear, smell, feel, and yes, even taste both tropical rainforest and marine environments. At Blue Creek Field Station, you will live and work within a primary rainforest with remarkable biodiversity. While on Ambergris Caye, you will snorkel along the longest coral reef in the Western Hemisphere, studying reef structure, mangrove forests and grass beds, while marveling at the brilliantly colored reef fish and corals. You will learn about how and why tropical biodiversity differs from other regions of the world and also gain new understanding of the challenge of tropical conservation.

Prerequisites:
An introductory biology, earth science, environmental science, or equivalent course; or instructor permission

Physical Activity Requirements:
Expect to walk 4-6 miles on most days. Activities will take place in the summer in a tropical climate students should be prepared for this environment. Breathable closed-toed hiking shoes are a required.

Course Highlights:
“My goal is to provide students an opportunity to learn about and experience environments and ecosystems that are very different than those they are more familiar with near and around their home schools. Furthermore, this course will provide a cultural contrast to those commonly more familiar in the US.” - Dr. LaRoy Brandt