Madagascar is a world apart, evolving from a set of unique, isolated environmental circumstances.
Live and study in Fort Dauphin.
The program is based in Fort Dauphin (Tolagnaro), a town of approximately 50,000 people. Situated on a peninsula at the southern end of a chain of rainforested mountains, Fort Dauphin is surrounded on three sides by the Indian Ocean and is home to some of the country’s cleanest and most beautiful beaches.
Five very distinct ecosystems exist within a fifty-mile radius of Fort Dauphin, making it a great base from which to take a variety of educational excursions. You will be able to appreciate the wonders of rainforests, spiny thicket, gallery zones, coastal vegetation, and transitional areas.
Examine Madagascar’s long-term conservation and development needs.
You will not only be exposed to spectacular natural settings, you will also explore the human pressures placed on the country's ecosystems and possibilities for the future. You will grapple with a host of issues pitting conservation against development in a variety of ecosystems. Further questions will be raised amidst seemingly irreconcilable choices, compelling you to study, learn, and contribute to possible solutions.
Explore a variety of integrated themes in collaboration with Malagasy partners.
The program offers thematic units on biodiversity, lemur ecology, conservation and environmental management, environmental impacts of mining and economic development, forest types and land use over time, ethnobotany, ecotourism, and marine studies.
The Environmental Research Methods and Ethics seminar allows you to experiment with a wide range of social and natural science field techniques alongside Malagasy counterparts studying environmental management.
Enhance your French while learning Malagasy.
The program is based in a country that is part of francophone Africa, enabling you to improve your French, while studying the environmental and conservation issues about which you are passionate. Learning Malagasy allows you to connect more deeply with Malagasy people. You will have multiple opportunities to improve your speaking skills in both languages through time in the classroom; on field excursions; and with host families, friends, and Malagasy students and through conversations with the program’s extensive network of partners and contacts.
Community ecology project with Malagasy students
During the village stay, you will work closely with your Malagasy counterparts on a community study using participatory rural appraisal techniques. Project activities may include ecological inventories, community maps, resource flows, market studies, and interviews, which together illuminate how local peoples view and use natural resources, as well as their impacts on the environment. You will synthesize your data, and present your findings in French on the physical, cultural, and social aspects of the village upon return to Fort Dauphin.
Visit key sits related to Madagascar's contemporary ecology and conservation.
Madagascar is an incredibly rich country in terms of flora and fauna. During excursions outside Fort Dauphin, you will directly witness current conservation challenges, such as deforestation for cattle grazing and mining, slash and burn agriculture, charcoal production and fuel wood use, production of non-food cash crops, and the illicit trade in endangered species. Madagascar’s national system of park management is juxtaposed with local livelihood practices, where people view the forest as a source of food, shelter, energy, and medicine.
Complete an Independent Study Project.
During the final month of the semester, you will focus on an Independent Study Project (ISP) in which you will conduct primary research on a selected topic. The ISP is conducted throughout Madagascar in appropriate locations.
Sample topic areas include:
- Behavioral ecology of lemurs
- Community-based resource management
- Conservation assessments of endangered species
- Coral reef management and conservation
- Cash crop production and links to local livelihoods
- Medicinal plants in the marketplace
- Carbon sequestration and financing
- Land tenure reform and agricultural production
- Payments for ecosystem services
- Sacred forests
- Sustainable land use techniques