CCAC Biology students preparing for expedition to Galapagos Islands in January

Article by: CCAC Public Relations

Galapegos.jpgPITTSBURGH-Biology students at Community College of Allegheny County's Allegheny Campus will embark on the trip of a lifetime January 3 to 13, when they travel to the Galapagos Islands to study the environment where Charles Darwin formed his theory of evolution. Leading the group will be Associate Professor Adam Wells Davis. Heather Klenovich, associate professor of Biology, will also accompany the group.

Davis teaches his General Biology 2 classes about Darwin's visit to the Galapagos and the things he observed there that got him thinking about evolution and natural selection. After telling a class about the unique environment of the islands last year, one student remarked that maybe he should take them on a field trip there. Davis thought it was a great idea. The professors and 10 students will travel to Ecuador and spend nine days exploring four of the islands, retracing some of Darwin's steps. They will see unspoiled habitats that are home to extraordinary creatures, some of which are found nowhere else in the world, including giant tortoises, marine iguanas, Galapagos penguins, lava lizards, sea turtles, reef sharks and blue-footed boobys. The group will also visit an active volcano and crater lakes. Davis constructed a curriculum in collaboration with Explorica, an educational travel tour group.

"I'm hoping the students get a chance to see in action the evolutionary forces and the amazing habitats we're talking about in class," said Davis. "They will be natural historians and get to study these organisms first hand instead of reading about them. The Galapagos is a place every biologist wants to visit, and I feel very privileged I get to satisfy my dream while also introducing students to this extraordinary environment."

The cost of the trip is $4,300 per student. The group held a couple of fundraisers with limited success, and each student is now trying to raise money on his or her own. Currently, the difference between what has been raised and what is needed for the entire group is approximately $19,000. Anyone who would like to make a donation to help the students meet their goal can do so at: gofundme.com/ccac-galapagos-islands-expedition.

For more information about CCAC's Biology program, go to: ccac.edu/biology_page.aspx

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