Jennifer Lewis jlewis33 at gmu.edu
Tue Feb 6 22:47:34 PST 2024



Hosted by George Mason University (Virginia, USA), this 6-credit course will take place in summer 2024 (July 6-Aug 3) on the South Island of New Zealand. It can be taken as undergraduate or graduate course, and at any stage of your career (students, professionals, or retirees).


  1.  Significant practice in critical thinking for brainstorming solutions. The class is structured to teach about all marine mammals listed as endangered by the IUCN. Students become familiar with each case in detail, including the laws that are available to protect each, the historical and current situations, the stakeholders involved in each case, and what has been done to date. Students are led in discussion-based problem solving for each species case, and brainstorm about what worked, what did not, and what more could be done. Leave with practice on many very different situations, with a tool kit of ideas. Prepared for solution development in species or resource management.

  1.  Gain field experience learning how to fully investigate conservation issues. Conservation solutions require a detailed understanding about the species, the issues facing them, and the people involved. And the only way to gain that knowledge is by examining firsthand. As a part of this class, students will be trained to research and to collect data relevant for conservation questions focusing on the species off the coast of New Zealand (including sperm whales, Hector’s dolphins and the NZ fur seal). This will be at sea (for cetaceans) and on land (for pinnipeds).  Field exercises will also involve learning about stakeholders for these species and the social, cultural and economic aspects that are important to consider in conservation (e.g., learning from the indigenous Maori about their ecotourism business on sperm whales).

  1.  Networking with world renown managers, lawyers, researchers, and other experts (e.g., journalists who cover conservation stories). Joining us in person or over zoom, students will learn from the people working right now to save marine mammals from disappearing forever.

  1.  Practice developing action plans. As a final project we work as a team to research one specific conservation problem in New Zealand, collecting information on the issue firsthand. Students then develop a detailed action plan to give to resource managers.

BONUS 1: IT’S IN NEW ZEALAND!!!!!!!! One of the most gorgeous spots on the globe, perfect for people who love exploring the outdoors from the sea to the land. Picked as the location to film LOTR for a good reason. It is off the charts in natural beauty.

BONUS 2: Dr. Lewis will work with all students enrolled to locate a suitable internship pre or post trip. Might as well get the most bang for your buck! Think NZ, Australia or even SE Asia. This is not part of the class (and is optional). But something very cool to consider.

Locations visited will be on the South Island NZ, in Christchurch, Kaikoura and Akaroa. The course is structured to give 3-day weekends at each location so exploring during the trip is easy and HIGHLY recommended. Students can also arrive early or stay late to explore more.

Cost (4400USD). This includes tuition for six credits (at in-state rate for everyone), lodging for the entire trip (one month), all ground transportation (taxis and buses to locations), and our trips to sea (4 trips). Payments not due until summer semester begins for George Mason University (and these can be divided into multiple payments). Airfare not included in this. Dr. Lewis will work with all students to get the best flight deals possible (sharing all her travel hacks) and prices may be lower than usual because it is the off season for NZ. Financial aid can be applied to this, including GI benefits. If you are a student, if you consider that you likely spend 2200 a month for rent and bills and transport and fun anyway (if in USA), then why not pay a cheaper tuition amount (in state rate) and spend that cash in a MUCH more amazing space on the adventure of a lifetime.

Cap at 20, so grab your spot now and reserve with a deposit that is applied to final balance (200USD). Application deadline March 10.

To apply go to the following link and click APPLY NOW: https://masonabroad.gmu.edu/index.cfm?FuseAction=Programs.ViewProgramAngular&id=10677

To learn more, contact Dr. Jennifer Lewis through email (jlewis33 at gmu.edu<mailto:jlewis33 at gmu.edu>) or WhatsApp: +17039752661

You can also join an upcoming information session:

Monday Feb 12 and

Monday Feb 26

at 7:30pm (EST, Washington DC)


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