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The Department of Geological Sciences invites junior and senior-level geology majors and minors to participate in multi-week field trips that run in January of odd-numbered years. The trips aim to provide students a rare field experience coupled with a research experience. All trips emphasize learning geology in the field and practicing basic field methods; most include some camping, hiking, and warm(er) weather! The last three trips have been to Trinidad and Tobago (2005), Cyprus (2007), and the South Island of New Zealand (2009). See the photo gallery for highlights of these trips.
Students prepare for the trips by participating in the Geology Seminar (GSCI 391) in the fall, which includes attending weekly meetings and completing a research presentation and term paper on a topic relevant to the field trip. The term paper becomes part of a field guide issued to all participants of the field trip.
While in the field, students are responsible for designing a small-scale research project, usually with the aid of a faculty member, that can be carried out during the spring semester following the field trip. Students present the results of their research in the spring Geology Seminar.
Although the field trips are partly subsidized by the Department of Geological Sciences, students bear some of the cost of travel. Most recently, some students have participated in fund raising for field trips by volunteering on 3 or more Sundays per fall semester at home games of the Buffalo Bills. Led by Dr. Laabs, students operate a concession stand (in section 102 of Ralph Wilson Stadium) to earn commission and salary, which are donated to the Geology Club and used to offset costs of the trip. In fall 2008, students raised more than $6000 through this effort, and each student who volunteered at 2 or more games was allotted $374 toward the costs of the field trip. The field trip for 2011 will benefit from two seasons of fund raising.
The field trip in January 2011 will likely be to either Puerto Rico, Texas, or the American Southwest. The destination will be announced soon to the classes of 2011 and 2012!