Students in this course co-develop an Eco-Leadership program in Paraguay with our partner, Para La Tierra.
- Collaborative leadership
- Natural history of Paraguay
- Guarani socio-ecology
- Public engagement in science
- Inquiry and participatory education
- Community-based conservation
A typical Earth Expeditions day in Paraguay is likely to include:
- Study at field conservation sites
- Team-based strategic planning and program development
- Interactions with experienced and emerging eco-leaders of all ages
- Student-led discussions on key course topics
- Journal writing
- Open inquiries
- Projects supporting the mission of Para La Tierra (e.g. environmental education, primates, reptiles and amphibians)
Planned Sites in Paraguay
Students will fly into Asunción, the capital of Paraguay and a historic South American city. Here, shaded streets and local squares, where Guarani vendors sell exquisite needlework and hand-crafted leather, exist alongside more industrial zones and upscale malls. Asunción is the transportation hub of Paraguay and a gateway to the country’s diverse biological and cultural landscapes.
San Rafael 'Designated' National Park
Located in Eastern Paraguay, San Rafael is the country's largest remaining fragment of the once extensice Atlantic Forest. Still under threat from poachers, loggers, and agriculture development, the region is critically important for conservation in South America. This biodiversity hotspot boasts more than 430 species of bird - 60% of all the birds registered in Paraguay are found in this expansive forest reserve. Para La Tierra's primate team is currently working with ProCosara to study the behavior and range of Hooded Capuchins.
Also known as 'The City of Birds,' Pilar is a quaint town on the coast of the mighty Paraguay River. Surrounded by a network of marshes, streams, and lakes, there is a deep tradition of nature appreciation in this area. Howler monkeys coexist with people in the city, using power-lines and rooftops to travel from fruit tree to fruit tree in the city's squares and plazas. Pilar is also home to Para La Tierra's Center for Investigation, Development, Environmental Education and Leadership (Centro IDEAL). In addition to wildlife research, the Center oversees a community-wide program that engages children in the conservation of local forest and wetland ecosystems.
Student Reflection from Paraguay
"The more I learn about conservation and the more I travel, I have come to realize that conservation is less about plants and animals and more about people and our relationships," said Christina Thompson. "It’s not that I think plants and animals aren’t important or worthy in and of themselves, but it’s more that conservation is a people-centric science, and I think that’s okay." Read more here.
Dragonfly Workshops Web-Based Learning Community
Upon acceptance into the program, students will join instructors and classmates in Dragonfly Workshops' collaborative Web community to complete pre-trip assignments. After returning home, students will continue to work in their Web-based community through early December to develop projects initiated in the field, discuss assignments, and exchange ideas. All students should expect to spend two to three hours a week contributing to their Web-Based Learning Community from their home or school computer. Navigating the Web platform is easy--it's designed for people with no prior computer experience. To learn more about this unique Web experience, visit dragonflyworkshops.org.