Summer and International Programs

Island Ecology Program

The Island Ecology Program is an interdisciplinary summer field school. Following a seminar during the spring semester (Environmental Studies 140, a half course), students study geology, hydrology, soils, plant communities, land use, coastal marine biology, invertebrate zoology, vertebrate ecology and animal behavior for five weeks on St. Catherines Island, a barrier island off the coast of Georgia. The experience emphasizes the interdependence of these disciplines by exploring how the island ecosystem functions.

Island Ecology Program alligator in handNow in its 33rd year, the Island Ecology Program has inspired a generation of Sewanee students. It provides the unique opportunity to live and work on St. Catherines, one of the largest undeveloped islands on the Atlantic coast of the United States. The program involves faculty from multiple departments at Sewanee and outside experts with long experience on St. Catherines.

Further information about St. Catherines Island can be found here.  A short video about the island ecology program can be found here.

The Island Ecology Program was recently reviewed in the Sewanee Magazine (Island Ecology Article).

The summer field school (Environmental Studies 240, two full courses) satisfies the science and laboratory science general distribution requirements and one writing-intensive credit. The program also counts as an upper level elective course for Biology, Ecology and Biodiversity, Forestry, and Natural Resources majors. The program is open to students from all academic majors and interests, and successful participants have included majors in subjects as diverse as philosophy, theater, chemistry, and political science. Costs are similar to other summer school programs and need-based financial aid is available.

An information session about the program is held in early November. Applications are due before Thanksgiving, and spaces in the program are offered and assigned before the winter break. The program is not open to graduating seniors.

Program founder Timothy Keith-Lucas retired in 2011 after 25 years as Director of the Island Ecology Program.

For more information, contact the Island Ecology Program faculty:

Our current students who participated in the program:

Valeria Bridgewater, Henry Fisher, Madison Freedy, Cole Johnson, Wilder McCoy, Vanessa Moss, Lam Ngo, Connor Peach, Lindsey Sikorski, Youjin Song, Tori Beth Surratt, Sara Thompson, Levi Trumbore, Leslie Vargas, Megan Wade, Eli Walker, Bonnie Wakefield, Julia Wren, Emma Zeitler.