Tasmania Program Costs, Winter 2017
Tasmania Program Costs, Winter 2018
|Watch the trailer for SIXTEEN LEGS, a celebrated documentary filmed in Tasmania about their famous cave spider. Our own Wildlands Studies students were there on-site conducting research and are interviewed in the film! Although our Wildlands Studies students are not featured in the trailer, it is exciting to be a part of this historic documentary.|
Join us in exploring one of the most remarkable island ecosystems on the planet, Tasmania! Often described in superlatives—spectacular, magnificent, striking—it is one of the last regions in the world that contain areas which may be deemed as “true wilderness,” “Tassie” is indeed a special place.
Long isolated from the Australian mainland, Tasmania’s natural and geological diversity is as staggering as it is contrasting. It offers glaciated alpine landscapes with volcanic dolerite peaks to deep limestone cave systems; towering ancient rainforests with the world’s tallest flowering plants to native grasslands, meadowlands, and heathlands; storm-battered mountains in the southwest to serene stretches of sandy beaches in the northeast; and pristine coastal waters to valleys and plains under duress from human activity. Tasmania is perhaps most notable for its abundant wildlife which has remained relatively intact and protected from non-native species. Charismatic terrestrial marsupials such as pademelons (similar to tiny kangaroos), quolls (small carnivorous marsupial), platypus and wombats, coastal fauna such as penguins and seals, and the enigmatic yet threatened Tasmanian Devil all still find a home on the island.
Tasmania’s contrasts extend to the human and social arena as well: the region has a rich colonial history marked by convict settlements and ruins, but which equally tell a story of Aboriginal displacement and annihilation. Nowadays, we also find Tasmania divided along the lines of those who promote a “green” lifestyle and those who remain staunchly pro-industry. Proposed industry expansion into sensitive ecological areas continues to fuel emotive public debate and political controversy. Yet underneath all these human layers persists a tranquil island of natural wonder and breathtaking beauty.
Our journey in Tasmania will take us from exquisite coastal islands and peninsulas to the inland mountains and temperate forests of Tasmania’s famed wilderness areas, home to charismatic wildlife. Here we have a unique opportunity to immerse ourselves in the region’s ecology and to learn relevant research methodologies and field techniques. Our field studies will be diverse, ranging from surveying coastal biodiversity to monitoring threatened species populations in mountain and forest ecosystems. We will examine and research iconic wildlife, their behavior and their habitats. In particular, we will work with biologists who are focused on saving the Tasmanian Devil from the spread of the poorly understood facial tumor disease. We will examine the theme of "rewilding" from many angles as our team discusses the merits, impacts, and controversies surrounding the reintroduction and translocation of endangered wildlife, habitat conservation, and the eradication of exotic species.
Our team will examine the controversies and trade-offs between economy and ecology, yet also identify where synergies, opportunities and common ground may be found. We will research the impacts of both climate change and tourist access to vulnerable areas as Tasmania asserts itself as a growing ecotourism destination. Throughout the course we will study Aboriginal and colonial European cultural history and their combined influence on present-day environmental interactions and legacy. From these experiences we will gain insight on the concept of wilderness and its meaning in a society with changing norms and expectations.
We will sharpen our naturalist skills and gain highly relevant hands-on research experience as we examine wildlife conservation issues and management practices which influence the future of this unique island. All the while, we will attend to the social and ecological contrasts and curiosities that make Tasmania a place of both beauty and intrigue.
Ph.D. in Conservation Ecology/Transdisciplinary Doctoral Program in Sustainability, Stellenbosch University, 2014
Matt is a conservation ecologist with experience in facilitating action research approaches for collaborative landscape restoration and stewardship in South Africa and Australia. His research interests lie in coastal-marine ecosystems, naturalist mentoring and community-focused outreach. Matt’s Ph.D. research drew on integral ecology, psychology and education to explore how meaningful nature experience supports transformative learning for sustainability. Matt has been teaching with Wildlands Studies since 2009 and has taught in Australia, South Africa and Tasmania. Matt currently leads our South Africa and Tasmania Projects.