Global Field Studies: Belize

Monkey River Town JessWatershed Analysis in Belize

The impacts of land use on the Monkey River watershed.

This 3 credit Sterling College field study program is an opportunity for Sterling College students to diversify their northern Sterling experience with an intensive field course in Belize, a tropical Central American country. This research oriented course builds on skills learned at Sterling College and allows students to implement these skills in a tropical ecosystem. A one credit Introduction to Tropical Ecosystems class is offered during the fall semester and is recommended for participation in this field study program. Partnering with local non-profit biological research stations, Sterling students have the opportunity to explore the impacts of land use on the Monkey River watershed and a coral reef.

Course objectives include:
  • To develop an understanding of the various components of a tropical watershed: biological, chemical, physical, and cultural.
  • To observe the effects of human use patterns on tropical streams, soils, natural plant and animal communities, and the coral reef.
  • To understand what influences the process of decision-making by the Government of Belize, conservation organizations, and other NGOs with regard to regulating the use and conservation of natural and cultural resources.
  • To compare all aspects of a tropical watershed with those of a temperate watershed.


IMG_1323During the trip we will live at research stations on a remote caye as well as in the lowland rainforest. We will work closely with Belizeans who are Mayan, Creole and Garifuna. The course will culminate with a presentation of our watershed monitoring to Monkey River village residents on the shores of the Caribbean.

Research in Tropical Ecosystems is open to non-Sterling students – please contact faculty advisor Farley Brown for program details or the Sterling Admission office for application information.

For more information please contact Farley Brown, 802-586-7711 ext. 156.