• Costa Rica and Panama 2015 Field Course
  • We are drowning in information while starving for wisdom. The world henceforth will be run by syntheizers, people able to put together the right information at the right time, think critically about it, and make importnat choices wisely. - Edward O. Wilson
  • China 2015 Field Course: China's Yangtze River: Problems and Sustainable Solutions. Tentative Dates - July 2015
  • Explore. Research. Conserve.
  • Field Course participants standing in front of sign for Norris Geyser Basin and Museum

Welcome to CHANCE

Today, humanity faces this reality – the environment is broken on local, state (province), national, and global scales most of which are a result of human impact on natural resources and ecosystems.

Penn State CHANCE is an environmental education and professional development outreach program that uses real-world experiences to challenge students to think critically about conservation issues while transforming them into the problem solvers that our society desperately needs.

About CHANCE »
Online Modules. Try one today

CHANCE Newswire

23 February 2015
USGS and ESRI logos
The Most Detailed Ecological Land Units Map in the World
The US Geological Survey (USGS) and Esri are pleased to announce the publication of the most detailed global ecological land units map in the world. This exciting new global data set provides a science platform for better understanding and accounting of the world's resources. Scientists, land managers, conservationists, developers, and the public will use this map to improve regional, national, and global resource management, planning, and decision making.
See the custom map and learn more »

10 February 2015
Polar Bear
Image credit: Conservation Magazine
Climate Change Divide is About Group Identity, Not Politics
Ninety-seven percent of scientific papers about climate change agree that it is human in origin. Yet the proportion of the US public that shares that belief is staggeringly low. According to one survey, it's less than half. We were reminded just this past week that while some so-called "deniers" have come around to face the...
Read Conservation Magazine article »

10 February 2015
Senate Rejects Human Role in Climate Change
The Senate on Thursday again voted to reject two measures related to the Keystone XL pipeline that declared that humans are a cause of climate change — the second set of votes on the issue in two days.
Read New York Times article »

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Field Courses

CHANCE Costa Rica/Panama 2015 Field Course

A Penn State University and Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS)/La Selva collaboration. The focus of this program, Conservation Biology and Sustainability of Select Tropical Ecosystems, which includes spring, 2015 online and summer, 2015 field course components, is to explore rainforest, coral reefs, sea grasses, and mangrove root ecosystems. The word explore is all encompassing here as it not only means to physically experience theses ecosystems with all the human senses open, but to question the phenomena that are affecting the maintenance, loss, and restoration of the biological diversity within these fragile environments through research. A highlight of the field course will be working with nesting sea turtles and hatchlings to ensure the recovery and sustainable management of depleted sea turtle populations worldwide. DATES for field course: June 15 - July 1, 2015
Visit field course website for applications

OTS Jiangnan University logo Nanjing University logo

CHANCE China 2015 Field Course

A Penn State University, Jiangnan University (Wuxi, China), and Nanjing University (Nanjing, China) collaboration. The focus of this program is on China's fresh water supply and efforts needed to restore and conserve it. Twenty-four undergraduate students (8 from each university) will be selected from all three institutions to participate in a 17-day journey to study the Yangtze River watershed, which consists of the longest river in Asia and the third-largest in the world. Locations to be explored include: Shanghai; YiChang, Hubei Province; Wuxi, Suzhou and Nanjing, Jiangsu Province; and, Beijing. Field research will analyze efforts to reverse the pollution and resulting eutrophication of Lake Tai, China's third largest lake, as a result of the rapid economic growth in the surrounding cities of Wuxi and Suzhou. Also, all involved students and faculty will investigate the impact of urban development on the tributaries of the Yangzte in the Nanjing area. Highlights for this program include an international student-run panel discussion in Beijing on the sustainability of China's fresh water supply, and participation in a restoration project in the Yangtze watershed with members of Green Oasis, an NGO based in Shanghai.
DATES for field course: July 6-23, 2015.
Field course website coming in February, 2015!

Penn State University logo Jiangnan University logo Nanjing University logo


CHANCE Recognition

Organization for Tropical StudiesCHANCE would like to recognize one of its partners, Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS), La Selva Biological Station, for its work to advance research, education and conservation of tropical ecosystems. This work was recently recognized in a front-page piece in the New York Times.

For five decades, OTS has been the world's leading institution in the study of tropical biology with more than 350 graduate-level courses in the ecology and management of natural resources and over eight thousand students participating in its programs and conducting research annually.

Research at the OTS stations has added significantly to what is known about tropical biology and forest ecosystems - more than 300 scientists from 25 countries work at OTS sites each year. The traditional focus on education and research has broadened to encompass quality-learning options for natural history visitors and local schoolchildren who come to the OTS stations just for short visits.

Together CHANCE and OTS are breaking new ground in involving undergraduate students in participating in real research activities in Costa Rica, specifically at the La Selva Biological Station. With a combination of on-line learning and in-the-field experiences, their joint programs are changing students' perceptions and values, bringing to them transformational experiences that help them set their future careers.

Featured Video

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10 February 2015
Researcher in jungle

CHANCE Fellow Studies Saki Monkeys in the Peruvian Jungles

According to CHANCE Fellow, Erica Charnock, her favorite memories of CHANCE 2013 was when Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) scientist, Eric Griffin, took her research group off the trail on Barro Colorado Island to follow a group of black howler monkeys. So, when the opportunity came up to study monkeys in the Peruvian Amazon a summer latter, she jumped at the chance. This hardy, young lady spent two months living in the Los Amigos Biological Field Station; a full day's trip up the Madre de Dios River into the jungle. There she worked as a research assistant to Dara Adams, a PhD student at the Ohio State University. Together they studied the predator-prey dynamics between bald-faced saki monkeys (Pithecia irrorata) and their predators, such as ocelots, eagles, boas, etc. It appears that this undergraduate can't get enough biodiversity! CHANCE looks forward to her next research adventure!!

Our Other Fellows »

Resources For Educators

26 February 2015
Citizen Science Opportunities
Many Research Learning Centers (RLCs) across the United States provide opportunities for the public to actively participate in scientific data collection in an increasingly popular pastime known as citizen science. Citizen science engages volunteers of all ages, some with little or no prior scientific training, in collecting scientific data related to important issues faced by the parks.

For more details on citizen science opportunities at National Park Service (NPS) RLCs, please visit the following links:

10 February 2015
Share Your Best Science Practices in Providence
NABT logoThe education community has long recognized that to increase science literacy, students must learn to think more like scientists. As a result, the emphasis in curriculum design has shifted from inquiry-based to science practices. Vision and Change, AP Biology, and the Next Generation Science Standards all highlight science practices as an integral component of student-centered instruction. The National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT) invites you to share your best methods and modalities to help students think like scientists at the 2015 NABT Professional Development Conference which will be held November 11th – 14th at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence, Rhode Island.. Your science practice can have broad applications, or may be tied to a single core concept, big idea or core idea. In addition to the traditional hands-on workshops or paper presentations, NABT will consider sessions for alternative formats such as posters, 10-minute mini-sessions, and speed sessions where a single resource is highlighted. Deadline for session proposals is 11:59pm EDT on Sunday, March 15th.
Submit a session proposal »


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Resources For Students

10 February 2015
OSTP Accepting Applications for Student Interns
The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is currently accepting applications for its Summer 2015 Policy Internship Program. OSTP advises the President on the effects of science and technology on domestic and international affairs. The office serves as a source of scientific and technological analysis and judgment for the President with respect to major policies, plans and programs of the Federal Government. Student Interns are accepted for one of three annual terms (Spring, Summer, or Fall), which each last no more than 90 days. Students in undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs in all fields are encouraged to apply. The application deadline is 11:59pm on Sunday, March 15th
More information and application instructions »

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