Students Study Tropical Ecosystems and Organisms in Belize

Posted: June 10, 2019

[ BELIZE ] Six current Hope International University students – Desiree Chance (NCC), Brianna Gamez, Joshua McBride, Katy McGuire, Claire Murphy (NCC), and Herminia Perez-Jiminez — traveled to Belize for an immersive 10-day educational experience studying tropical ecosystems and organisms firsthand. In addition to unique field trips including the Smithsonian Institution Marine Research Station on Carrie Bow Caye, and the Tobacco Caye Marine Station, the group also enjoyed multiple snorkling opportunities, encountering sea turtles, nurse sharks, spotted eagle rays, and other local marine life. The group spent five days in the lowland broadleaf rain forest and three days in the savanna wetlands.

“Studying in Belize was much more than just an awesome and adventurous opportunity to earn 4 units of lab science credit. This trip allowed us to see God, the Creator, in a new light,” reported HIU junior, Katy McGuire. “In just 10 days, we were able to visit four very different ecosystems: savannah, lowland broadleaf rainforest, marine habitats, and inland wetlands. By the end of this trip, we returned with a new appreciation and understanding of tropical ecosystems and organisms.” 

HIU offers this immersive study abroad experience as a 4-unit course, Tropical Ecosystems with Lab. The trip was coordinated and led by HIU Assistant Professor of Science, Karen McReynolds, with assistance from the Tobacco Caye Marine Station, who led the marine unit of the course. “It was fabulous to meet with the actual scientists who write the peer-reviewed papers we had been summarizing all week,” adds Professor McReynolds.