Campus News

May term offers tropical experience

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 A group of May term students will depart for Hawaii on May 10, returning on May 28. The group will spend a week on the Hilo side of the island, a weekend at Hakalau Forest north of Hilo and several days near Kino. The trip is coordinated by Dr. Katie Weakland, assistant professor of biology at Bethel.

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.

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.

"Each island has a subculture all its own," said freshman Callie Hartman, a participating student. "It’ll be so eye-opening to see such a rich, diverse culture that is so diverse, yet a part of our own country."

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 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 Weakland. "This is true Christians 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 14 to 28 traveling. Interested students can apply at the Semester Abroad office. The cost is $2000, which includes air fare, transportation, food, lodging and field trip expenses. The cost does not include May term tuition, which must be paid separately. Academic credit for the trip is equivalent to a science course with a lab. Up to ten students can sign up for the trip.

"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."
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