• Costa Rica and Panama field course 2017
  • Sea turtle swimming underwater
  • 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

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 »

05 January 2017
Broken egg and yolk next to an egg beater A New Map of Earth’s Ecology-scrambling Climate Patterns
Temperature and precipitation patterns shifted an average of 3.7 kilometers per decade during the 20th century, and 3.4% of Earth’s surface has entered a novel climate regime.
Read Anthropocene article »

27 December 2016
Hand of cards It’s Time to Double Down on Humankind’s Methane Emissions
Climate change mitigation efforts have focused mainly on carbon dioxide until now. And those efforts might be paying off: carbon dioxide emissions have tapered off in recent years, mostly due to a switch from coal to natural gas. Now there’s more reason than ever to turn our attention to a more potent greenhouse gas: methane.
Read Anthropocene 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 field course in Costa Rica will be taking place in May 2017.

Field Course Website »

Collage of kangaroo, sea turtle and rainforest photos
Australia 2017 Field Course
June 29 - July 16, 2017

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 launch mid-January. Thank you for your patience while we coordinate our itinerary with our partners!

Image of Cuba's coastlineCuba 2018 Field Course
New dates to be announced

Due to the changing nature of travel conditions, and in an effort to visit the sea turtle rookeries during their active period in Cuba, we have made the hard decision to postpone this new program until 2018.

This CHANCE field program, Cuba - Environmental Protection, Resource Management and the Sustainability of a Developing Nation, is an immersive research and conservation journey in western Cuba. It is a collaboration between The Pennsylvania State University, Cuba Marine Research & Conservation Program - a project of the Ocean Foundation, and Center for Marine Research (CIM) of the University of Havana, and is comprised of an online education and an international field course. Participants will evaluate 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 and removal of invasive species.

Field Course Website »

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

22 December 2016 Photo of Amanda helping dig for turtle eggs
CHANCE Fellow publishes research on biofuel production using algae

Amanda Geis, a 2016 CHANCE Costa Rica Fellow, is now finishing up her junior year at Penn State Brandywine, with a degree in Biology, vertebrate physiology option. Amanda has recently teamed up, by becoming a brand ambassador, with companies like Sand Cloud and DavinityLA that donates profits to conservation groups like STC (Sea Turtle Conservation), SSCS (Sea Shepherd Conservation Society), and the International Elephant Foundation (IEF), among others. It was in Amanda’s sophomore year when her interest in conservation was ignited while working in the biology lab at Penn State Lehigh Valley to help answer questions focusing on biofuel production using algae. Amanda published her work as cited here: Geis, A., Sampson, W., Huang, T.-Y. & McLaughlin, J. S. (2016) The Effects of LED Lights on the Growth of Chlorella vulgarus. Journal of Introductory Biology Investigations, 3(5), 1-7. She also presented her group's research at several undergraduate research symposia, including the 2016 Undergraduate Research at the Capitol -- Pennsylvania event wherein her research group was one of eight posters selected to represent Penn State University. Currently she is focusing on her upper level coursework in biology. She plans to join the Peace Corps upon graduating in May of 2018.
Go Amanda!!

Our Other Fellows »

Resources For Educators

05 January 2017
IARC logo Free Glaciology and Marine Programs for Girls Seek Applications
Inspiring Girls Expeditions is accepting applications through January 31, 2017, for free summer science and wilderness expeditions in Alaska and Washington for girls ages 16 to 17. Three teams of up to nine teenage girls and three instructors will spend 12 days exploring and learning about mountain glaciers or fjords with tidewater glaciers. They’ll conduct scientific field studies with professional glaciologists, oceanographers, artists and mountaineers.

The three Inspiring Girls trips of 2017 will include Girls on Ice Alaska, Girls On Ice Cascades and Girls in Icy Fjords. They are operated through IARC and the UAF College of Natural Science & Mathematics.
For more details »

30 November 2016
EPA logo
PIAEE Teacher Award Application Due March 1
The Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators (PIAEE) recognizes outstanding K-12 teachers who employ innovative approaches to environmental education and use the environment as a context for learning. Award winners receive up to $2,500 to continue their professional development in environmental education. Additionally, the teacher's local education agency also recieves up to $2,500 to fund environmental education activities and programs. Applications are due March 1, 2017.
Learn more about the PIAEE program »

View All Educator Resources »

Resources For Students

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 »

27 December 2016
AIBS logo
Applications Now Being Accepted for the AIBS Emerging Public Policy Leadership Award
The American Institute of Biological Sciences recognizes the science policy accomplishments of graduate students currently pursuing a degree in the biological sciences or science education. Award winners receive a free trip to Washington, DC, to meet with congressional policymakers about funding for the biological sciences. Participants also receive a day of policy and communication training. The deadline to apply is January 9, 2017.
Learn more »

12 December 2016
Screenshots of the Merlin ID App
New Merlin Photo ID App
The Merlin team has been working hard on a fun new feature for Merlin Bird ID. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Visipedia have been collaborating on new advances in machine learning and computer vision, and they are excited to bring Photo ID to all Merlin users. Just snap a photo of a bird, and get real-time ID on your phone. Sound too futuristic? The future is now.

Photo ID is available in the free Merlin app for Android and iOS devices.

View All Student Resources »