Berry College students have opportunities to experience a variety of exciting learning experiences at off-campus sites. Off-campus learning locations that have been provided through the School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences are listed below. We also encourage our students to study a semester abroad through Berry's Study Abroad Program.
University of Stellenbosch, located in a beautiful rural town near Cape Town, South Africa. The University provides excellent academic preparation in a number of disciplines. Academic facilities, computer access, library resources and support elements of the college are excellent. Student living accommodations and activity center maintain a high standard.
Following one-week of lectures on campus, this course finishes with a 3-week field experience at contrasting field sites in Costa Rica: La Selva (lowland tropical rainforest), Ecolodge San Luis (tropical cloud forest and agricultural region), and Hacienda Pinilla (dry tropical forest and coastal marine habitat). Lectures and field experiences focus on the biology and conservation of tropical ecosystems, while permitting exposure to the politics, culture and language of a developing Latin American country. This course also introduces students to ecological field-based research, and to the basic physical and ecological principles that are pivotal to the sustainable management of our earth's ecosystems.
An International Study Program, Dr. Bill Davin’s course in Coral Reef Ecology (BIO 482) takes students on an intensive field-oriented excursion to the Roatan Institute of Marine Science in order to provide students with a first-hand investigation of the coral reef biome, including corals, invertebrates, fishes, algae, and rooted macrophytes. Through these first-hand experiences, students develop an understanding and appreciation for the ecology of the coral reef and for the biology of the common coral reef organisms found in the Caribbean Sea. Coral Reef Ecology is a field-oriented marine course designed to familiarize students with the various organisms that inhabit that biome. The field component is conducted on the barrier reef off Roatan Island in Honduras and involves an extensive amount of time visiting various reef sites.
Invertebrate field studies in Canada.
Coral Reef Ecology is a field-oriented marine course designed to familiarize students with the various organisms that inhabit that biome. The field component is conducted on the barrier reef off Ambergris Caye in Belize and involves an extensive amount of time visiting various reef sites.
A field-oriented course that exposes Berry College students to geologic features that are unseen in Georgia and are only scarcely seen in other parts of the United States including: geothermal springs, glaciers, extensional rift systems, dynamic fault zones, glacial/fluvial/lacustrine sequence stratigraphy, volcanoes (strato, cinder, and composite types), and volcanic features (pillow and pahoehoe lavas, pyroclastic debris). This course requires a week of in-class preparatory study at Berry College and is followed by a two-week guided field study of Iceland. As you can see from the photographs, the geologic events that have taken place over the past 18 million years have sculpted breathtaking scenery. In addition, the uniqueness of Icelandic culture is part of our daily studies and experience.
The three-week field studies abroad course, The Geology of Italy, was offered for the first time in summer 2010 for general education science credit and also for upper-level credit as a special topics course in geology. Italy provides a wealth of geologic diversity and a long history of planning around natural disasters; therefore, instruction focused on the tectonics of Italy, the influence of seismic activity on construction and infrastructure, the formation of volcanic arc complexes, and the history of earthquake and volcanic events. The students visited the buried city of Pompeii, took day hikes to Mt. Vesuvius and Mt. Etna, the Aeolian Island chain, explored earthquake remnants, learned about Italian approaches to natural hazard mitigation and remediation, and examined sediment transport and coastal geomorphology along Ustica Island.
Within the United States
Gulf Coast Research Center
The Berry College biology department is affiliated with the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory (GCRL) in Ocean Springs, MS. Students can take biology courses at this institution for transient credit. For more information on the GCRL, please visit their web site.
Geology is an exciting and dynamic science that has practical application needed by students who are either science or non-science majors. Students enrolled in a geology course should not only leave the course with the ability to interpret the beauty of the natural environment around them, but the material covered in laboratory should prepare them as thoughtful citizens that understand the processes behind geologic hazard.
The goal of the professor is to provide the highest quality learning experience possible. Therefore, having our students study geology in a field setting undoubtedly provides a stimulating and engaging learning experience for them. Field trips are essential. Introductory Physical and Historical Geology students participate in a Saturday field trip to look at local geological phenomena, including DeSoto Falls and Cloudland Canyon. Upper division geology courses take several field trips during a semester; typically, they are one-, two-, or three-day trips. Past experiences have included visits to a hydroelectric plant, nuclear energy facility, coal burning facility, limestone quarry, and mines in Bartow Country. The Geomorphology class also made trips to the Blue Ridge Parkway (TN and NC) and to Tybee Island/Wassawa Island (GA).
Ecological Research Center
The Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center at Ichauway is a 30,000 acre outdoor laboratory that was once Robert W. Woodruff's quail hunting preserve. It is now a state-of-the-art research site that focuses on both pure and applied ecological science. Ichauway, a field-trip destination for Conservation Biology students, is located in southwest Georgia and contains some of the best remnants of the longleaf pine ecosystem that are found anywhere in the U.S.
Highlands Biological Station
The Highlands Biological Station, located in the Southern Appalachian Mountains of southwestern North Carolina, is one of the country's premier biological field stations. Its mission is to promote research and education that focuses on the area's rich array of biodiversity. Berry students have the opportunity to take summer field-based biology courses at the Station. In addition, several biology courses taught at Berry during the normal academic year use the Highlands Biological Station as a field-trip destination.
Botany Field Experiences
Students in the sciences learn best when they have opportunities to examine first-hand samples they have seen and heard about in classroom laboratories or in their textbooks and through other media. Field experiences in botany are essential to cultivating the appreciation of the study of botany--the structure and function of plant tissues, and the physiology, ecology, systematics and evolution of flowering and non-flowering plants, including tropical forest ecology and ecological biochemistry. Students sharpen their skills of observation, data collection and analysis, and learn to distinguish among species. Berry College, with its 27,000-acre outdoor classroom, provides abundant opportunities for field studies in several areas of scientific study. Faculty and students make good use of this valuable resource for short-term and long-term original or collaborative research projects and also travel to off-campus learning sites for comparative studies and/or to learn about other sample types not found here.
Invertebrate zoology is the final frontier of organismal biology. With more than 98% of all animal species being invertebrates, it's easy to understand why the study of invertebrate zoology is essential to learning about animal structure and function. There is a wide range of structural differences among invertebrates, yet all invertebrates must accomplish the same physiological tasks in order to survive. This interesting diversity of form, and its relationship to various types of environmental adaptations, are examined in a combination of lecture and indoor and outdoor laboratory settings. Invertebrates have a direct impact on us as humans; they can be both potentially devastating and invaluable. The subject of zoology is fascinating!
Off-campus field work has included extended trips to the Gulf Coast Research Lab in Mississippi, Campobello Island on the Bay of Fundy in Canada, and Harvard University's Museum of Comparative Zoology in Massachusetts.