Experience Patagonia with the Wilderness Institute this wintersession. Learn about Patagonia’s unique ecology, conservation efforts, culture, and tourism while traveling through some of the most beautiful landscapes on earth. The majority of the course will be backpacking through pampas, old growth forests, and alpine ecosystems while learning about ecological principles and conservation issues. In addition to readings and assignments, you will learn from interactions with South American cowboys known as guachos, talking with conservation leaders, and learning about current environmental issues from local people.

Course Description

This course explores conservation, contemporary livelihoods, development, and ecotourism in the Aysen region of Chilean Patagonia. The Aysen is a landscape of fire and ice; in a short drive you can see penguins in the ocean, parrots in the canopy of a temperate rainforest with glaciers hanging above, to grassy pampas with lakes studded with flamingos and gauchos herding sheep. Using the public and private lands as models to explore the complex interactions between natural resources, local people, NGOs, government agencies, tourism providers, resource managers and tourists. We will focus our discussions on livelihoods, livelihood change and nature-based tourism in the context of sustainable development.

Students will earn six upper division credits by taking two courses:

PTRM 391 - Conservation and Restoration in Patagonian Forests

NRSM 391 - Biogeography and Ecology of Patagonian Mountains

A Note on Conduct:

We will be living in a group setting in remote environments and as travelers we will be representing both our group and our country. Therefore, personal conduct is integral for a safe and rewarding trip. We will educate you on proper expedition behavior and expect you to follow the guidelines set forth. Students are expected to refrain from abusive drinking and illicit drug use. Students will also be expected to respect the cultural norms of Chile and act accordingly. We will not tolerate inappropriate behavior.

About the Instructor

Natalie Dawson, Director of the Wilderness Institute and faculty in the Department of Ecosystem and Conservation Sciences

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2018 dates TBD


The program cost is TBD. The fee will include:

  • Tuition for six upper-division credits (Credits will be included in your spring semester credits), and
  • A program fee (which covers accommodation at hostels and motels, group activities and excursions, emergency and international health insurance, in-country transportation, and some meals). Airfare not included.

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