Tropical Ecology Summer School, Latin America

In February 2016 World ORT brought together 30 outstanding students aged 15-17 from across Latin America: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Spain and Uruguay. This regional summer school, which run in Spanish, is aimed at students who are passionate about Ecology and are intending to specialise in Ecology or a related field in their post- high school studies. Participants are expected to have academic knowledge of Ecology and experience of field investigations.

The two-week Summer School took place on the edge of the rainforests of the SoberanĂ­a National Park, Panama. Scientific advisors and teachers assisted students to develop their investigative skills through carrying out independent field projects ranging from studying leaf-cutting ants, hummingbird behaviour, agouti diets, and butterfly colour preferences. Students interacted with researchers from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in topics such as amphibian decline, bird mist-netting, plant physiology, and bat research at night. Students also conducted field studies to investigate ecological differences between the two great oceans found in Panama: the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.

This project will allow students, who are passionate about the natural environment and have a good level of background knowledge about the scientific study of Ecology, to more and to develop new skills in this area.