The Grand Canyon Colloquium
The Grand Canyon Colloquium covers central aspects of the geology, biology, anthropology and history of the US Southwest, concentrating on the areas contiguous with the path of the Colorado River through what is today Northern Arizona. After a semester of classroom work, familiarizing you with the geography, geology, flora, fauna, peoples, cultures and histories of the region, we will travel to Lee’s Ferry, 15.6 river miles below Glen Canyon Dam and then float for seven days on Hatch River Expeditions rafts through a natural laboratory for these physical and social sciences.
A preview of the biology: On our field trip we will experience an amazing range of life zones, from riparian woodlands to desert scrub. Each dramatic change in ecosystems is characterized by a unique community of plants and animals, some familiar, some like nothing you’ve seen before. We will share our campsites and hiking trails with diverse arthropods, reptiles, mammals, and in wet years, an impressive display of wildflowers. For much of our journey we will be accompanied by violet-green swallows and bighorn sheep. Sightings of the recently re-introduced California condor are just about guaranteed. The morning and evening hours are greeted by the cascading trill of canyon wrens, while Lucy’s warblers are easy to spot in the willows. At the confluence of the Colorado and Little Colorado Rivers, we may observe fish traps being used to study the survival and reproduction of the endangered humpback chub. To preview the fauna we may encounter check out:
For several summers I’ve travelled with Dr. Beth Wee (Assistant Dean of Undergraduates in SSE and Professor of Neuroscience) and Dr. James MacLaren (Dean of Newcomb Tulane College and Professor of Physics) to teach Tulane students abroad in Copenhagen. The trip is coordinated with the Danish Institute for Study Abroad (DIS) where Tulane students may also study in the fall and spring semesters. For the last three years I’ve taught an animal behavior and a natural history course. Each course we offer is enriched with guest lectures, field trips and a weekend study tour so that we can take full advantage of the unique environments and culture of Denmark.