Learning Outside

Think about an academic subject that inspires you. Describe how you have furthered this interest inside and/or outside of the classroom.

Studying the feeding habits of exotic Nicaraguan birds, documenting the traits of Zanzibar's Red Colobus monkey and tracking elephant populations in Tanzania's Mikumi national park were all part of my curriculum growing up. I have a long-term and intense interest in nature and the environment, an interest awakened by the unique experiences I had during my elementary and middle school years. Those moments in nature laid the foundation for my attraction to environmental science.

My most valuable experience with the subject occurred last summer, during a month-long internship in Candelaria, a small agricultural town in Southern Honduras. I volunteered with a local nonprofit to research the effects of sustainable agriculture projects in the region. I prepared myself for the living conditions of rural life, hoping to learn more about growing basic crops and coffee in harmony with the environment. In Candelaria, I collected soil samples, calculated crop yields and identified plant species, but more importantly, I worked directly with small farmers to see the impact conservation agriculture can have on an area. Two decades ago, Candelaria was a scorched landscape, surrounded by barren hillsides and never-ending smoke trails, a result...

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