Aloha Term III – Students Experience the Big Island of Hawaii

July 12 2017
Category: Academics

Term III at Elmira College provides the opportunity for students to explore subjects and concepts through travel and experiential learning. One class titled, “Field Biology and Advanced Ecology,” took Dr. Corey Stilts, Associate Professor of Chemistry, and Dr. Daniel Kjar, Associate Professor of Biology, and their students to the beautiful island of Hawaii.

The class spent four-weeks on campus studying how soil chemistry changes during succession as well as the theory of island biogeography in understanding species diversity and distribution. Students also visited various ecosystems in the Southern Tier of New York while learning about volcanology, sampling methods, tree identification, and Hawaiian history and culture. 

After generating hypotheses, collecting data, and evaluating their findings on campus, the group traveled to the Big Island of Hawaii. Over eight days between the cities of Kona and Hilo, students explored the local geography, volcanoes, ecology, and culture.

Some of the trip highlights and stops included the Volcanoes National Park, Akaka Fall Park, green and black sand beaches, Ka’u Coffee Plantation, and snorkeling with spinner dolphins off the Kona coast.