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Grant to allow Birmingham-Southern professors to establish travel course to study Peruvian rain forest, language

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—Two Birmingham-Southern College professors have each received $2,000 curriculum grants from the Associated Colleges of the South to establish a January 2004 Interim travel program to Peru designed to introduce students to the importance of conserving rain forests, while using their Spanish-speaking skills.

The grants will support Dr. Megan Peterson, assistant biology professor, and Dr. Barbara Domcekova, assistant Spanish professor, as they travel to Peru next summer to initiate an interdisciplinary program that will combine environmental studies of the rain forest with Spanish translation and interpretation.

The program is based on a partnership between Birmingham-Southern and the Amazon Center for Environmental Education and Research. ACEER is a U.S. and Peruvian nonprofit organization founded in 1991 to promote knowledge, conservation, and stewardship of rain forests.

Domcekova and Peterson will work with ACEER staff members to create an Interim program that will provide students with a better understanding of the importance of conserving rain forests, help them utilize their Spanish-speaking skills, and teach them about the activities of ACEER.

“The growing number of Spanish students and the current emphasis at BSC on environmental studies led us to consider developing a travel Interim to Peru,” said Domcekova. “The group project will combine the interests of students in Spanish, environmental studies, and Latin American studies courses.” Interim is a four-week period each January that gives BSC students an opportunity to develop their creative potential by exploring topics of interest in the U.S. or overseas. The college offers several group study-travel projects each year and students gain academic credit for their experiences.

Associated Colleges of the South is a consortium of 16 liberal arts colleges and universities in 12 Southern states that work cooperatively to strengthen academic programs of the member institutions and to promote to others the nature of a liberal arts education and the vital role it plays in society.


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