A May term class in Hawaii is no longer available to students. The class had a limit of ten students and those ten spots filled up quickly. The trip was coordinated by Dr. Katie Weakland, assistant professor of biology at Bethel. These May term abroad students will depart from Indiana on May 10, returning on May 28. The group will spend a week on the Hilo side of the island of Hawaii, a weekend at Hakalau Forest north of Hilo and several days near Kino. “Each island has a subculture all its own, so it’ll be so eye-opening to see such a rich culture that is so diverse, yet a part of our own country,” said Callie Hartman, one of the students who has signed up. Students will go snorkeling in coral reefs, hike through the Hawaii Volcano National Park, witness volcanic lava firsthand, see geological points of interest, view Waipio Valley, visit museums and national monuments and explore the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens. There will also be opportunities for hands-on involvement. Students will spend a weekend at Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge, where they will plant trees to restore a native rain forest and see endangered species. Students will also spend a day at the beach. Assignments for the May term will include readings, exams, quizzes, a field notebook and a journal. There will be a spiritual side to the trip as well as an ecological and academic side. “Students will come away with a sense of pride and accomplishment from helping to restore the native rainforest of Hawaii,” said Katie Weakland, the trip coordinator. “This is true Christian stewardship of natural resources, and therefore it is a mission that is building the kingdom of God on Earth.” Students will attend class from May 10 to 14, and spend the 14th to the 28th traveling. Participating students will pay $2000, which includes air fare, transportation, food, lodging and field trip expenses. The cost does not include May term tuition, which they must pay separately. Academic credit for the trip will be equivalent to a science course with a lab. “This is a great hands-on learning experience,” concluded Weakland. “It is an amazing experience to see molten lava up-close and to swim next to sea turtles, tropical fish and dolphins.” The students are excited for the trip. “It will be so amazing to actually experience what we would have just spent hours upon hours learning about,” concluded Hartman. “The textbook material will come to life.” For Christy Brink, another participating student, the trip is “a dream come true.” She added, “The thing I’m most looking forward to is seeing the volcano! Volcanoes have always interested me, and to see them in real life is beyond my wildest dreams!”
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