Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

A Belizean day in the life

The course is designed to make the most of every minute on the two-week field trip. Professor Scott Shumway offers a snapshot of the typical day in the field:

A typical day began with 7 a.m. breakfast, perhaps preceded by a moment of solitude walking the shoreline or out on the dock. After breakfast, we would gather in the classroom for instructions. Most mornings we boarded a boat for a 20-minute ride to one of the snorkel sites.

Afternoons were spent studying the patch reefs near the island. Between lunch and the afternoon snorkel, Professor Shawn McCafferty would lecture on coral identification or fish biology. After dinner the students would reassemble in the classroom for an overview of the day’s activities, a showing of the photos that Professor McCafferty took during the day, and planning the events of the next day. The final two days were devoted to the student patch reef projects.

After dinner activities also included student presentations. During the fall semester each student wrote a paper about a particular species that lives on the reef or in the rainforest. Each student was required to give a presentation, teaching the class about their particular species. Some of these “expert species presentations” took place in the classroom, but most occurred in the field while the entire class was looking at the species in question. So when we were ankle-deep in mangrove muck, Rachel Giannone ’14 gave her presentation on mangrove ecology.

About Michael Graca

Michael Graca is the college's Assistant Vice President for Communications.