• Cuba field course 2017
  • Costa Rica and Panama field course 2017
  • Participants with rakes and shovels
  • A newly planted tree

Welcome to CHANCE

Today, humanity faces this reality – the environment is broken most of which is a result of negative human impact on the health (loss of biodiversity) of our world's ecosystems.

CHANCE (Connecting Humans and Nature through Conservation Experiences) is an accredited environmental education and engaged scholarship program, whose overarching goal is to teach conservation biology and global sustainability at the frontline. To do this, CHANCE creates unique learning environments which include international field courses and online research modules that immerse its participants, students and teachers, in real-world research and conservation efforts.

The ultimate goal of CHANCE is to prepare global-minded citizens who understand the importance of restoring and protecting the biodiversity of our planet's ecosystems, and who are willing to address the challenges of our time such as energy, air, food, water, and climate change through their efforts.

Since ecosystems cross national borders, CHANCE strives to view, and to define sustainable answers for, environmental realities from a global perspective.

About CHANCE »
Online Modules. Try one today

Donate To CHANCE

Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to one of our CHANCE Funds. We can now accept online donations through the support of Penn State University’s secure online forms. Visit our Donate page to learn more.

Donate Today »

CHANCE Newswire

07 February 2017
Aerial view of the Great Barrier Reef
Photo Credit: Michael Amendolia/Greenpeace
How Natural World Heritage Sites Are Being Spoiled
When a place is designated a Natural World Heritage Site, it is a recognition that it has “outstanding universal value” and must be protected. But a new study shows many of these sites are being severely damaged by human activity and are deteriorating rapidly.
Read Yale 360 article »

30 January 2017
Illustration of bacteria with electrical currents
From the Swamps of the Potomac, New Hope for Green Electronics
Protein filaments called "nanowires" that are produced by certain species of bacteria could be a key to environmentally friendly electronics manufacturing.
Read Anthroprocene Article »

26 January 2017
Lehigh Valley professor receives esteemed Jefferson Science Fellowship
Jacqueline McLaughlin, associate professor of biology at Penn State Lehigh Valley, has been appointed to serve in the 2017 Jefferson Science Fellowship program by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. Penn State President Eric Barron nominated McLaughlin for the Jefferson Science Fellowship.
Read more »

17 January 2017
Arctic Sea Ice Extent graph 11 Ways to See How Climate Change Is Imperiling the Arctic
The latest data is sobering. These visualizations show just how perilous the situation is.
Read National Geographic article »

View All Newswire Features »

Field Courses

Tree frog with tadpole
Costa Rica 2017 Field Course
May 19-28, 2017

The Conservation and Sustainability of the Tropical Rainforest with a Field Practicum in Costa Rica program promises both a Course-based Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) in ecology and a Service Learning experience in conservation.

Field Course Website »

Images from CubaCuba 2017 Field Course
July 7-15, 2017

Exciting news! With the changing nature of the US travel restrictions, we ARE NOW ABLE to visit Cuba this summer, July 7-15, 2017. We are generating the new itinerary and will quickly make the information available.

This CHANCE field program, Environmental Protection, Conservation, and the Sustainability of Cuban Ecosystems with a Field Practicum in Cuba, is an immersive research and conservation journey in western Cuba. It is comprised of online education and an international field course. Participants will research the biodiversity of both terrestrial and marine protected habitats, the exploitation of environmental resources, and the policies and practices needed to enhance both Cuba’s current and future needs to sustain its natural ecosystems. The conservation efforts for this session include working in a sea turtle rookery.

Field Course Website »

Collage of kangaroo, sea turtle and rainforest photos
Australia 2018 Field Course
Summer 2018

Our first international field course partnership with James Cook University is titled: Conservation Biology and Global Citizenship - A Field Course in Select Natural World Heritage Sites of Australia. Field course website will be available end of 2017. Thank you for your patience while we coordinate our itinerary with our partners!

Featured Sponsor

ATAS International LogoCHANCE would like to recognize ATAS International Inc. for its support and commitment to the environment.  

ATAS International, Inc. is a leading manufacturer of metal roofing, metal wall and ceiling panels, and sustainable building envelope technology. A family owned business for three generations, ATAS is proud of its green initiatives to bring the sustainability consciousness to all levels of operation.

During day-to-day operations, ATAS looks after the environment by producing less waste, optimizing materials, using energy-efficient equipment, and manufacturing sustainable construction products. Their green initiative efforts include reusing or repurposing cardboard boxes, “scrap” metal, skids, and fiber cores; donating scrap wood to the community; and, donating surplus product to worthy causes. Of course, all unusable metal is recycled. Motion sensors and improved lighting have been incorporated into all of the manufacturing facilities to make the buildings brighter and more energy efficient. Styrofoam products are not allowed and everything that can be recycled is. ATAS also believes in limiting paper waste; customers can access all technical and product information on the corporate website, www.atas.com. Any printed brochures are created on FSC-certified paper.

As a manufacturer of sustainable products—a transpired solar air heating system called InSpire and a building integrated photovoltaic roof called ATA-Solar—ATAS continues to strive for improved sustainability and energy efficiency.

CHANCE thanks ATAS for its recent donation to our Field Course Fund and General Fund. Their donation helped defray the cost for eight students to travel to China to participate in the 2015 CHANCE China program – China's Water Realities and Sustainable Solutions. 

Their donation also assisted in the filming of a documentary on CHANCE's good work in China to study the pollution of the Yangtze watershed and promote world-wide conservation efforts. A link to its preview: https://vimeo.com/171162365. By year's end, the full documentary will be released and this company will be listed as a top sponsor.

Donate »

Featured Video

January 2017

What the Earth would look like if all the ice melted

Many of the effects of climate change are irreversible. Sea levels have been rising at a greater rate year after year, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates they could rise by another meter or more by the end of this century.

Other CHANCE featured videos »

CHANCE Fellows

02 February 2017 Angela collecting water samples along a creek
Angie Spagnoli Tackles Polluted Wastewater

Angela's co-authored article, Adsorption of Methylene Blue on Cashew Nut Shell Based Carbons Activated with Zinc Chloride: The Role of Surface and Structural Parameters, was recently accepted for publication in the Journal of Molecular Liquids. Her research project was advised by Penn State Abington chemistry professor, Dr. Svetlana Bashkova, and utilized agricultural waste (cashew nutshells) obtained from an African Cashew company and created by a Penn State alum. Using this product yields benefits to orphaned children and poor farming communities as they get 90% of the profit. Angie used the shells to make highly adsorbent activated carbons which work to remove toxic dyes from waster-water poured into streams from textile industries. Through her research at Penn State and her experiences with the CHANCE program, she is learning how to apply science and research to real conservation efforts across the globe.

Our Other Fellows »

Resources For Educators

02 February 2017
Summer Workshop logo
Renewable Energy Teacher Summer Workshop (NEWBio)
Spend a week at the Penn State University Park campus to learn about current bioenergy research from nationally recognized faculty. Participate in inquiry-based classroom activities based on the work being done by university scientists and engineers. These classroom research projects are aligned with state and national standards.

Benefits: Travel, lodging, and meal expenses provided to all participants; $300 stipend; and, classroom materials to implement research activities.

Apply now »

26 January 2017
Conference banner Outdoor PAEE Conference Promises Connections with Nature
Registration is now open for the 2017 Pennsylvania Association of Environmental Education (PAEE) Conference on March 13th and 14th at the McKeever Environmental Learning Center, Sandy Lake, PA, and the pre-conference Project WET Facilitator Workshop on March 12. McKeever is the perfect location for Deepening Connections, Inspiring Innovation because it features nature-friendly facilities and miles of wooded trails to take workshops outdoors and to explore during breaks. The bunkhouses provide a fun and affordable on-site lodging option, or separate arrangements can be made at nearby hotels for a reduced conference rate. Visit the lodging and accommodations page to learn more. Information about conference scholarships can be found at the bottom of the registration page.
Learn more »

View All Educator Resources »

Resources For Students

02 February 2017
AIBS logo

Participate in the Biological and Ecological Sciences Congressional Visits Day
Scientists and graduate students who are interested in communicating the importance of federal investments in scientific research and education to lawmakers are invited to participate in the Biological and Ecological Sciences Coalition (BESC) Congressional Visits Day in Washington, DC.

This event is an opportunity for scientists to meet with their members of Congress to discuss the importance of federal funding for biological research and education. Event participants advocate for federal investments in biological sciences research, with a primary focus on the National Science Foundation, as well as other federal agencies. The deadline to sign up is March 1, 2017.

Learn more about the event »

18 January 2017
Students wearing hard hats
Now Hiring: Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps Crew Members

The Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps offers young people the opportunity to serve on a team completing conservation projects to protect, enhance and restore Pennsylvania’s public lands. Join a crew of 10 members and two leaders working on trail maintenance, habitat restoration, vegetation management, park maintenance, light construction and more. Environmental education and job skills trainings are also provided. Please note the work is physically demanding and takes place in an outdoor setting in all weather and seasons.

Dates: February 2017 to November 2017


  • Be between the ages of 18 to 25 at the start of the program.
  • Be able to conduct physical work in challenging, outdoor conditions.
  • Be enthusiastic about working on a diverse crew.
  • Have an interest in conservation and natural resource management.
  • Be able to model safe and professional behavior at all times

To Apply or for more information »

17 January 2017
AIBS logo

Public Input Sought on Climate Science Report
The U.S. Global Change Research Program is accepting public comments on a draft Climate Science Special Report, which updates the physical climate science findings in the 2014 Third National Climate Assessment. The report will be used to inform the next quadrennial climate assessment. Public comments are due by 3 February 2017.
Learn more »

View All Student Resources »