Why Study Natural History?
Naturalists combine field skills and experience with a wide knowledge-base and a passion for science and wildlife. Such generalists in an age of specialization are themselves becoming endangered species, but without these students of natural history, we risk losing a vital component of the academic ecosystem. Naturalists observe and describe organisms, characterize their relationships to the environment, and embroil themselves in taxonomy and systematics. Their work has had enormous implications for management and innovation in such diverse fields as health, agriculture, and conservation.
It is amid mounting cries (1, 2) for a renewed respect and zeal for the study of natural history that we at FPI have developed our field biology courses. Our goal is to introduce students from every background to disciplines ranging from herpetology and primatology to ornithology and entomology. Participants learn field methods and techniques alongside lessons focused on physiology, ecology, and conservation issues.
These courses are intended not just for undergraduates pursuing careers in the biological sciences, but also anyone (over 18) from any background whose interest in plants and wildlife motivates them to join one of our rigorous educational programs. Much more than simply offering ecotourism experiences in the most bio-diverse regions of the planet, FPI aims to graduate competent and informed students with the tools to make a difference in whichever field they pursue.