Castleton Faculty Led Courses

Iceland: Life in Fire and Ice – Spring 2020

This travel course covers aspects of geology and biology that have particular application in Iceland: volcanism, glaciation, renewable energy and environmental hazards. We also explore life on this island of environmental extremes: the adaptations that native and introduced plant and animal species have acquired to survive, as well as the unique genetics of those that live on this island (humans included!). The course meets weekly during the spring semester, and shortly after Commencement we will go to Iceland, traveling the Ring Road all around the country, seeing glaciers, volcanoes, waterfalls, black sand beaches, geothermal power plants, hot springs, puffins, seals, and lots more. A focus of the course concerns reforestation – we will be planting trees for the Icelandic Forest Service, and learning about Iceland’s efforts to combat global climate change. We stay in International Hostels (some of which have their very own geothermal hot tubs), do some of our own cooking and also experience Icelandic cuisine, and get to visit some fairly remote and beautiful regions. Come with us to the land of fire and ice!

This course fulfills four credits of Science/Math for General Education. Financial aid can be used to cover travel costs (anticipated to be approximately $2300; this covers airfare, accommodations, transportation and meals). We anticipate that we will travel to Iceland the day after Commencement, and return about nine days later.

Semester in the American Southwest - Fall 2020 

Castleton’s Semester in the American Southwest provides a hands-on, multicultural experience in a unique and fascinating region of the United States. Few places within the U.S. borders offer such a rich opportunity for the study of ancient and contemporary Native American cultures, the arts, anthropology, and the natural environment.

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Natural History of the Mojave Desert – Spring 2021

Deserts contain diverse, fascinating, and unique life forms.  The open desert landscapes result in outstanding exposure allowing for the study of ancient and modern geological processes and features including volcanoes, sand dunes, and dry lakes.  Natural History of the Mojave explores biological and geological aspects of the Mojave Desert in California.  Topics include the biogeography of plant species, plant and animal adaptations to desert climates and habitats, and the geological forces that shape and maintain those habitats.  The course includes a field trip to primitive areas of the Mojave Desert where hiking on rugged terrain is required.  The field trip occurs in the week following commencement and the laboratory fee covers all travel, food, and lodging costs (expected to be between $1000 and $1500).