Study and explore first-hand the various environments of the Swiss Alps along with their political, economic, and tourism systems.

Alpine EcologyJuly 12 - 27, 2017
(Arrival Date: July 11 | Departure Date: July 28)

This three-credit course will introduce students to the ecological systems of environments found in the Swiss Alps. The broad goal of this course is to make students familiar with the basics of alpine ecology and geology, and to understand how the Alps are used and managed. Following an interdisciplinary approach, the course will also explore the economic, political, and social aspects of the Swiss Alps. The course will offer several off-campus excursions to local points of interests including the lakes of Ritom and Cadagno in Val Piora, the river Brenno, a visit of Gruyere and an underground lake.

Program Details

The Alpine Ecology program is taught and directed by Dr. Patrick Della Croce, Assistant Professor of Environmental Science, with support from a Summer Campus Monitor who will provide assistance to students with respect to living in the residence halls.

Course Schedule
Subject to changes. All changes will be announced in class.

Tuesday, July 11th
All day Arrivals and initial orientation
   
Wednesday, July 12th
Morning Course introduction and introduction to ecology and evolution
Afternoon With Summer Campus Monitor
   
Thursday, July 13th
Morning Concepts of food web ecology: introduction to food webs, nutrient cycles, and types of biological interactions (predators, parasites, etc)
  Possible visit to the Laghetto di Muzzano
  Discussion on benefits and challenges of nature reserves in urban landscape
Afternoon Trip to Natural History Museum (Museo di Storia Naturale) in Lugano
  Natural history of Ticino, and discussions on the role of museums and collections
   
Friday, July 14th
All day Lake ecology and brief history of Ticino
  Boat ride on the Lugano Lake (to Gandria and the Custom Museum)
  Lunch outside
  Walk back to Lugano
   
Saturday, July 15th
Morning Introduction to Swiss geology, meteorology, and politics (with a specific focus on the Alps)
Afternoon With Summer Campus Monitor; Preparation for field trip
   
Sunday, July 16th and Monday, July 17th
All day Trip to Val Piora and Lake Cadagno
  Introduction to hydropower, Alpine lake ecology, adaptation to life in the Alps, and Alpine economy
  Overnight in an alpine hut (http://www.capannacadagno.ch)
   
Tuesday, July 18th
Morning With Summer Campus Monitor
Afternoon Water quality, pollution and eutrophication (possible visit to waste water plant)
   
Wednesday, July 19th
All day River and Floodplain ecology
  Day trip to the Brenno River (in Valle di Blenio)
   
Thursday, July 20th 
All day Understanding fossils and evolution, geological formations, human land use (vineyards, pastures, current and past use of forests etc)
  Field trip to Monte San Giorgio and Museum of fossils
  Boat ride to Brusino and back to Lugano
   
Friday, July 21st 
Morning With Summer Campus Monitor
Afternoon Chestnuts forests and invasive species: trip to Carona
  Visit to the Carona Swimming pool
   
Saturday, July 22nd
Morning Departure for Gruyere
Afternoon Visit of Gruyere Castle
  Overnight in Gruyere
   
Sunday, July 23rd
All day Visits of cheese and chocolate factories in Gruyere
   
Monday, July 24th
All day Departure for Canton Vallis
  Visit of an underground lake and an alpine glacier
  Return to Lugano
   
Tuesday, July 25th
Morning With Summer Campus Monitor
Afternoon Work on presentations of projects
   
Wednesday, July 26th
Morning With Summer Campus Monitor
Afternoon With professors and Summer Campus Monitor, preparation for presentations of projects, exam
   
Thursday, July 27th
Morning Project Presentations
Afternoon Closing Activity (TBD)
  Dinner together at a local grotto and course closure
   
Friday, July 28th
All day Departures
   

Costs

     
Tuition, room and board CHF 3,380 USD 3,380*
*Residents of the U.S. and Canada pay in U.S. Dollars (USD).  All others pay in Swiss Francs (CHF).