Fifty Years of Field Ecology
Cornell’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology has been offering graduate student field ecology courses at Archbold Biological Station in Florida since 1970. In March of that year, Assistant Professor Dick Root, first took a handful of Cornell graduate students to Archbold Biological Station (ABS) in South-Central Florida. Since that time, Root (until his retirement), Dr. Peter Marks (until his retirement), Dr. Jed Sparks, Dr. Harry Greene, and Dr. Kelly Zamudio have brought graduate field ecology classes to ABS. The full impact of these courses on students, the Station, and the field of ecology is immeasurable. In 2018, the course will be offered for the 25th time, spanning a total of 50 years. Now known as BIOEE 6602, the Florida field course is designed to give graduate students experience in defining questions and designing field investigations. Although the bulk of the class is conducted at ABS, strategic side trips are made to several other distinctive ecosystems, including sand pine scrub, cattle ranches, cypress swamps, and Everglades National Park.
Send Students Into the Field
$15K will cover housing, transportation, field equipment, field trips, and lab fees for approximately 12 grad students during a 2-week field program at Archbold Biological Field Station in Florida. Thanks to the amazing support of our donors, we exceeded our goal -- THANK YOU! This effort is part of a $200K fund-raising campaign to endow field courses offered by the department. The newly formed Root-Marks Fund for Field Teaching will serve to endow field courses offered at Archbold into perpetuity.
The Impact of Your Gift
Because the Florida field course has been taught for nearly 50 years, we hear about the impact of the course on the careers of generations of professional scientists. It is a common refrain among alumni of the course to state that the Florida field course was one of the defining experiences they had in graduate school. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology students commonly describe the biannual pilgrimage to Florida as the spark that ignited their academic career. Time spent in the field with peers and faculty synthesizes and cements collegial relationships, and equips young researchers with the skills and tools needed to become top-notch investigators and advocates for global conservation and biodiversity. We have been immensely proud to meet, in the course of attending national meetings in ecology and evolution, alumni ranging from graduate students to members of the National Academy of Science, all talking effusively of the influence and legacy of the Cornell Florida course. This course is at the core of our graduate program and its influence stretches far beyond Cornell's scientific community.
Department faculty, administrators and generous donors have successfully fought to keep field courses a reality for 50 years, but we need YOUR help! Support from fellow Cornellians can secure the financial future of field teaching; lets work together to make this project a resounding success!