In this three-week long faculty-led program students will live in the city of Santa Cruz (5 days) and in two autonomous indigenous territories in Bolivia, Guarayos (Amazon Forest, 7 days, with Guarayos indigenous peoples) and Lomerio (Chiquitano Dry Forest, 7 days, with Monkox/Chiquitano indigenous peoples). Students will carry out service-learning projects prioritized by indigenous communities, such as website development, promotion of non-timber forest products (medicinal oils, honey, coffee, tea, nuts), arts and handicrafts with women’s cooperatives, ecotourism, environmental education, invasive species removal, waste reduction and recycling, sustainable transit, monitoring extractive industries (mining, logging, industrial farming) with multimedia, Global Positioning Systems (GPS), Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and satellite imagery, public health, as well as documentation of cultural history, music, language and native foods. In Guarayos students will observe the production of musical instruments and listen to performances at the Urubichá Music Institute, renowned internationally for its mastery of indigenous/Baroque music playing and violin manufacturing. In Santa Cruz city students will visit World Wildlife Fund Bolivia and PROBIOMA, a Bolivian non-profit that promotes sustainable agriculture and community ecotourism as well as Guembe Biocenter - a water park which has one of the world’s largest butterfly sanctuaries, 15 natural pools, lagoons and an animal shelter. We’ll go on a tour of the city, have an interactive workshop with local non-profits and indigenous organizations, and conclude with a farewell dinner at El Aljibe, a traditional Bolivian restaurant.
Students will learn from indigenous peoples themselves and look at a range of lenses through which indigenous peoples and other actors view the environment. This program will focus on pressing contemporary issues, including self-determination and autonomy; indigenous peoples and climate justice; oil/gas/mining conflicts on indigenous territories; legal developments and challenges; natural resource management in indigenous territories (e.g. community-forestry); development encroachment (e.g. industrial farming and logging); conservation of biodiversity related to indigenous peoples’ intellectual property rights; and indigenous agroecology.
Scholarship Opportunity: Scholarship funds are available for students accepted to this program. If interested, please refer to the Scholarship Essay in the program application, and speak with your GEO advisor for more information. The due date for the Scholarship Essay is February 15, 2020.
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** GEO programs are under continuous review during this period of global uncertainty and limited travel. All program details outlined on this page, including program cost, are subject to change if global or location-specific conditions require modifications to program structure.