Study abroad: Alaska, marine biology, and writing about the natural world

Ready for a unique study abroad experience? Interested in biology, fishing, nature, or creative writing? Then you may want to sign up for the study abroad opportunity Special Topics in Biology: Marine Biology of Alaska/ Creative Writing Special Topics: Writing about the Natural World.

Ready for a unique study abroad experience? Interested in biology, fishing, nature, or creative writing? Then you may want to sign up for the study abroad opportunity Special Topics in Biology: Marine Biology of Alaska/Creative Writing Special Topics: Writing about the Natural World.

Study Abroad in Alaska -- learn more at UAB Education Abroad. This team-taught interdisciplinary course — led by Adam Vines (Department of English) and Jim McClintock (Department of Biology) — will focus on coastal sustainable fisheries resources and the natural history and human enterprises of the region that support the fisheries.

Each day you will participate both in experiential learning in the field (hikes and intertidal field trips reached on foot from the science center, boat trips with professional nature guide captains, short bus rides to tour a fish hatchery, fish cannery, etc.) intermixed with lectures from UAB faculty and a consortium of local guest lectures by local experts made available to science center-based faculty and their students. Guest speaker topics related broadly to the theme of sustainable fisheries include Introduction of Southeastern Alaska territorial ecosystems, island energy issues, introduction to fisheries and aquaculture, culture and the environment, and marine mammal data acquisition, among others.

During your stay in Sitka, Alaska, you will be engaged in:

  • hands-on research experiences, including quantitative surveys of intertidal marine life
  • writing exercises, including writing workshops focused on poetry, flash fiction, and creative nonfiction essays that are informed by the field trips, lectures, and argot related to Sitka
  • seminars grounded in poets and prose writers who focus on the natural world and ecological concerns

The course will culminate with a public reading at the recently refurbished 200-seat Odess Theatre on the campus of the Sitka Fine Arts Campus. The reading event will be advertised community wide and well attended by the Sitka community at large.

Additional experiences available to enrich the course curriculum include bird watching with a local expert, the opportunity to learn about the intertidal sites near Sitka studied by famous marine biologist Ed Ricketts (known as 'Doc" in Steinbeck's Cannery Row), round table discussion with a local seafood restauranteur and chef whose Sitka restaurant has competed for national awards, sustainable subsistence shore salmon fishing practices, and a tour through the community with a local historian.

Learn more and sign up at UAB Education Abroad.

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