Our classroom, in Patagonia
Round River is dedicated to conservation strategies that preserve and restore wild places; to that end, we strive to develop and support traditions that sustain wildness. These efforts are anchored in the principles of conservation biology, supported by field research and community planning.
“I can say without a doubt that Round River was the best program I could have chosen, as I continue to reap benefits from my experience to this day.”
- Tripp Burwell, Middlebury College, Namibia Program 2007
Round River semester and summer research and study abroad programs are field-based experiences that offer small groups of students the opportunities to contribute to and learn from participating in wildlife conservation efforts in big, wild landscapes. While earning college credit, students from diverse backgrounds study and immerse themselves in the ecology and culture of unique wild landscapes. Round River is entrenched in these places, and dedicated to fulfilling obligations to our local partners. While on a program, students become part of this effort, working alongside our local partners with Round River researchers and instructors.
Full Semester Student Programs
Round River works in the Kunene Region of northwestern Namibia, a rugged and vast desert ecosystem representing one of the last true wildernesses in southern Africa. This seemingly inhospitable ecosystem supports free-roaming wildlife such as the mountain zebra, black-faced impala, desert adapted elephant, black rhino, lion, and much more. Students help local communities with wildlife monitoring and habitat assessments, and have opportunities to interact intimately with local people from various ethnic backgrounds.
Okavango Delta, Botswana
Botswana is home to some of the world’s most abundant and diverse wildlife populations. The Okavango Delta, an immense wetland, supports some of Africa’s largest concentrations of carnivores and elephants. Students will assist with conservation research in the Delta on projects ranging from habitat and vegetation mapping, to wildlife studies, to outreach in local communities.
The Chacabuco Valley, the spectacular heart of the future Patagonia National Park, is located in a transitional zone between the semi-arid Patagonian steppe and temperate beech forests, thereby boasting amazing scenery and a span of habitats, from grasslands and wetlands to high alpine peaks. While camped in the Valley, students will spend days hiking and exploring the vast and diverse landscapes, and have the opportunity to directly impact the success of the future Patagonia National Park. Students may learn from local residents and park guards how to track the local wildlife, survey and restore critical habitat, and document the biodiversity of this ecologically rich and important region.
Summer Semester Student Programs
Taku River, British Columbia
The Taku River is the largest intact salmon-bearing watershed in North America. It is a vast wilderness of glacial rivers, boreal forest and snow-packed peaks harboring many charismatic species such as grizzly bear, moose, wolf, lynx, stone sheep, mountain goats, caribou, wolverine, and all five species of Pacific salmon. Round River works with the Taku River Tlingit First Nation to conduct research and develop community-based land and resource management plans. Students take part in a backpacking trip into the Taku Watershed along a traditional Tlingit trail, conduct habitat studies, climate change research, and wildlife surveys, as well as spend time with Tlingit elders and other community members in this stunning landscape.
Wind River Mountains, Wyoming
Areas within the 18 million acre Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem are some of the wildest remaining in the Lower 48. Students spend time backpacking and conducting research in these remote and iconic areas, as well as visiting with ranchers, government management agencies, and non-profits examining issues around climate change. Projects have involved studying the loss of white bark pine due to a mountain pine beetle infestation, the effect of this change on species such as the grizzly bear, recording distribution shifts of the American pika, and water issues.