Announcing our Latest College-level Course: Conservation Biology

Written by Tim Vargo
    Wednesday, 06 September 2017
Announcing our Latest College-level Course: Conservation Biology

If you’re familiar with the term lifelong learning, the idea is that the desire to learn about the world remains strong with people who aren’t enrolled in a course at an institution of higher learning. Here at the Center we’ve previously offered college-level courses in Tropical Ecology and Plant Systematics, and now we’re excited to announce a course in Conservation Biology.

What is Conservation Biology and why are we teaching it?

Conservation biology is a branch of biology that relates to preserving the diversity of plants and animals on Earth. Most of us agree that knowledge about the natural world is important in and of itself, but being able to apply that knowledge to help conserve the amazing plants, wildlife, natural systems and health of the living portion of the planet for future generations is an even nobler goal.

The field of conservation biology is young (less than 40 years old) and was born out of the movement to save tropical rainforests from deforestation and slow the extinction rate of related species. This course will be multi-disciplinary, focusing primarily on the natural systems but also how they interact with social and economic systems.

costa rican bat research
Conducting bat research in Costa Rica. Photo: Leighton Reid

We will cover biodiversity and how we value it, as well as the threats to biodiversity such as climate change, invasive species and genetic factors. We will also look at how biologists today are applying their knowledge of population biology to conserve biodiversity and restore degraded ecological systems.

We’ll explore diverse topics: from the role of national parks as both an economic and conservation driver to the incredible diversity of microbes that live in and on humans; from the economic value of bats as pollinators to why frogs are disappearing and what that means to humans; from de-extinction to the use of drones in conservation.

The cost of the 6-week course is $150 ($100 for Urban Ecology Center volunteers and anyone who took Tropical Biology or Plant Systematics). There is also scholarship pricing available. It will run on Thursday evenings from 6:00 – 8:00 at the Riverside Park branch from September 14th through October 19th.

Register now!

This is a great way to learn about the world and discuss important topics with like-minded people without enrolling at a university (and without the homework). We hope you’ll join us!

Tim Vargo

Tim Vargo

Tim’s vast experience in applied biological research with an emphasis on conservation biology, tropical biology and ornithology has allowed him to carry out research around the world, including Australia, Bolivia, Costa Rica and Panama, and throughout the United States.

Tim received an undergraduate degree in biology from Macalester College in 1995 and a Masters Degree in Biology from Purdue University in 2001.

Tim is the Manager of Research and Community Science at the Center and in his spare time, Tim enjoys playing Ultimate Frisbee and Disc Golf, relaxing at home with a good book, and fossil-fuel free (green) birding.


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