University Honors Program

University Honors Program

Landscape and Environmental Change: Trinidad

Landscape and Environmental Change on the
Edge of the Caribbean - Trinidad
Honors Seminar with Study Tour, Spring 2014
GEOL3080/GEOG3080, BoK - NS
MW 3:35-4:55pm

**This seminar has been canceled due to low enrollment.**

Trinidad is situated at an extremely interesting geographic position within the Caribbean, sandwiched between the Windword Islands and the South American mainland & Amazonia. Geologically, anthropologically, and culturally, Trinidad is fascinating and provides a superb natural laboratory to examine the interaction between natural equatorial systems and humans. This honors course will examine how the landscapes in Trinidad have developed from its geologic origins to its occupation by humans some 7,000 years ago, to post-Columbian settlement, and into the present day. Aspects of how humans have influenced Trinidad’s landscapes and how they will continue to in the coming years will be considered from geologic and anthropologic perspectives. In addition, the course will examine how natural processes such as earthquakes, landslides, floods, and extreme weather threaten the inhabitants of Trinidad. A key component of this course will be to develop scientific hypotheses to test during a 10 day study tour to Trinidad to help faculty and future students develop a long-term commitment to examining environmental change and landscape evolution in Trinidad and adjacent regions.

The class will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays, and will comprise two informal lectures/tutorial sessions per week. Each week the class will address a new topic building on the prior week’s work. Students will be assigned individual projects in groups of three, and will include topics on issues such as soil erosion, earthquake hazard, deforestation, water pollution, and habitat destruction.

Tentative schedule of course topics:
Week 1: Introduction to Trinidad and study methods
Week 2: Geologic background – coasts, mountains and earthquake
Week 3: Climates of Trinidad
Week 4: Landscapes of Trinidad
Week 5: Flora and fauna
Week 6: Soils of Trinidad
Week 7: Ecological studies
Week 8: Early human occupation of Trinidad
Week 9: Colonization and landscape change (Guest lectures by Ken Tankersley and Brooke Crowley)
Week 10: Planning for field projects
Week 11: Study Tour to Trinidad - Spring Break
Week 12: Student Projects
Week 13: Student Projects
Week 14: Student Presentations
Week 15: Exam week

Click on the pictures to the right for a slide show that highlights some of the geological and geographical characteristics of Trinidad that you will be studying in class.

Tentative Itinerary
This study tour will be traveling to Trinidad over Spring Break.  Throughout the week, the group will be conducting various field research projects around Trinidad.  These projects will be conducted in the outdoors and may require rigorous physical activity.  The group will stay in two different accommodations while in Trinidad.  Half of the the time, the group will be staying at a basic, local hotel.  The other half, the group will be in a rustic field station that lacks air conditioning.  While each student will have their own bed, these may be cots or bunk beds.  Additionally, the group may share responsibilities for preparing meals while at the field station.

Day 1-Friday Travel to Trinidad

Accommodation: Hotel near Airport or Hamgel

Day 2-Saturday Matura

Activity: Pit tagging turtles at Matura with Turtle Village Trust

Accommodation: Hamgel, Alta Vista Rainforst Resort

Day 3-Sunday Northern Range I

Activity: Guppy stream/pond; Geology project

Accommodation: Hamgel, Alta Vista Rainforest Resort

Day 4-Monday Northern Range II

Activity: Wildlife office/UWI Museum: Meet officials, Tour Museum, Do some museum work.; Asa Wright Nature Center

Accommodation: Hamgel, Alta Vista Rainforest Resort

Day 5-Tuesday Northern Range III

Activity: Hike to Altimira Falls; Bird banding

Accommodation: Hamgel, Alta Vista Rainforest Resort

Day 6-Wednesday Tamana Cave

Activity: View vampire bats at Tamana Cave

Accommodation: Hamgel, Alta Vista Rainforest Resort

Day 7: Thursday Nariva Swamp

Activity: Nariva kayak trips

Accommodation: Royal Hotel

Day 8-Friday Cedros

Activity: Use GPS to "re-discover" the Cedrosian shell midden; Dig at the site, characterize shells; Examine, describe, hypothesize the geological formation on coast

Accommodation: Royal Hotel

Day 9-Saturday La Brea

Activity: La Brea's Pitch Lake, largest asphalt reservoir; Visit cocoa plantation

Accommodation: Near Airport

Day 10-Sunday-Return to Cincinnati-Early flight

Course Information

     •  This class is crosslisted as GEOL3080, BIOL3080, and GEOG3080

     •  Meeting days and time are TBD

     •  Course Attributes: H, I

     •  BoK: NS

     •  Credit hours: 3

     •  Honors Seminar

Course Expectations

Students are expected to meet the instructors' academic and behavioral expectations during the class time leading up to the travel component. Students who do not meet academic and/or behavioral expectations will not be permitted to travel. Students in this situation will not receive a refund.


**This seminar has been canceled due to low enrollment. .**

Applicants will be contacted for an interview with at least one of the faculty directors at the beginning of fall semester.

UC undergraduates who are not in the University Honors Program are welcome and encouraged to apply to participate, provided the student has a cumulative university GPA of 3.4 or above. Graduate students are not eligible to enroll. Although priority is given to University Honors students, we are often able to offer spaces to other students as well.

A waiting list will be maintained.

Total expected cost to be paid to UC is $2400. The actual cost per person for UC is $3600, but this will be offset by a $1000 grant from University Honors and a $200 grant from UC International Programs, making the actual total expected cost $2400. All participants will receive these grants.

Costs include airfare from the US toTrinidad, some meals, ground transportation in Trinidad, accommodations, project supplies.

Costs do not include immunizations, passport, ISIC card, some meals or other personal expenses.

Students have the choice to purchase an ISIC (International Student Identity Card) from UC International for $25. This is not included in the total expected cost.

Vaccinations and Health Precautions
You are encouraged to visit and re-visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's web page for Trinidad & Tobago.  Consult with your doctor regarding any vaccinations, if any, or other health precautions you should pursue.  Generally, Yellow Fever, Hepatitis A, and Typhoid vaccines are recommended.  Please keep in mind that vaccines may cost a few hundred dollars.

Faculty Directors
Dr. Lewis Owen, Department of Geology
Dr. Nicholas Dunning, Department of Geography
Dr. Daniel Buchholz, Department of Biological Sciences

Contact a faculty director or André Durham in University Honors.