Saturday, February 12, 2011

[EmergingEthnoNetwork] Fwd: [SEB-Student Network] Ethnobotany Field Course in Nicaragua

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Cassandra Quave <>
Date: Fri, Feb 11, 2011 at 09:45
Subject: [SEB-Student Network] Ethnobotany Field Course in Nicaragua
To: SEB students <>

Plants, People, Medicine, and the Ecosystem: Neotropical Ethnobotany Field Course in Nicaragua

Dr. Mark Merlin & Laura Shiels, MS Botany

July 22-August 16, 2011


What are you doing this summer? How does a 3 ½ week long field ethnobotany course on a lush beautiful island in Nicaragua sound? 


Here are some details about this safe, fun, interesting, exhilarating learning and research opportunity in an ethnobiologists's and outdoor adventurer's paradise:


  • Dates:  July 22-August 16, 2011
  • Location: Maderas Field Station, Ometepe Island, Nicaragua (an enchanting 276 km2 island located inside of Lake Nicaragua dominated by two majestic forested volcanoes, inhabited by incredible wildlife, and full of fun outdoor adventure activities)
  • Undergraduate and graduate college credit can be arranged
  • Gain real hands-on ethnobotany experience interviewing local people about the plants they use and interact with under the guidance of professional ethnobotanists
  • Learn about plants, people, herbal medicine and the ecosystem hands-on from multidisciplinary perspectives
  • Hike lush volcanoes, swim in gorgeous waterfall-fed streams and beautiful beaches, kayak, bike, interact with monkeys, birds, and other enchanting wildlife
  • Course Instructors: Dr. Mark Merlin, Professor of Botany, University of Hawai`i (,  Laura Shiels, MS Botany, Herbalist, Ethnobotanist, and Instructor University of Hawai'i (,


For more information and a full course description, please visit:


E-Mail:; Telephone: 305-666-9932 (9am - 5pm EST); Fax: 305-666-7581


US $2095.00 includes:

Registration fee, program/station fee, three meals a day, room and board, transportation to and from the airport. Airfare and Credits are not included.


Thank you for helping us spread the word.  Education and conservation shapes the future of our tropical forests!


Further information

Major Topics:

·         Overview of the science of ethnobotany

·         Comparison of natural history and ecology of the "old" and "new" world tropics

·         Land management, the environment, and health

·         Natural history, volcanism, botany, and ecology of Ometepe, a world heritage site

·         The cultural history of Ometepe

·         Ethnobotanical research ethics, methods/techniques, and project design

·         Major tenets and comparison of different types of healing systems in the world which incorporate plants

·        Botanical history of medicine

·         How plant medicines work in the body

·         Herbal medicine making and medicinal specimen collecting workshops

·         The food-medicine-poison continuum and food/herb-drug interactions

·         Psychoactive plants

·         Conduct original ethnobotanical research in a unique cultural and ecological environment



This course requires motivation, a positive attitude, and an inquisitive, open mind.  There are no pre-requisites for this course and it is suitable for students of any educational background and level.  Hands-on activities and research opportunities will be tailored to the preparation and goals of individual students.  We will engage in several outdoor excursions and hikes in the beautiful environment of Ometepe as part of the class.


Course Objectives

  • Gain a deeper knowledge and appreciation for the relationship between people and plants, diverse cultures and ecosystems, knowledge transmission and the role of globalization
  • Learn how plants have contributed to society as we know it and how our relationship with plants shapes the future to come
  • Develop a conceptual framework for finding solutions to social and environmental challenges
  • Learn how and why people have utilized plants as medicine, for material culture, for spiritual enlightenment
  • Learn how people shape environments and the associated consequences for health and the environment
  • Learn to conduct ethnobotanical research/improve research skills
  • Contribute beneficially to the community and environment of Ometepe
  • Develop meaningful friendships with people with similar interests
  • Optional:   Publish original research results


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