The SFS Center for Mekong Studies

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1 The SFS Center for Mekong Studies My environmental studies education at my university has been nothing but exceptional but there are just some things that you can t know and understand unless you re there and you see people living it.

2 Webinar Outline Introduction to SFS Why Cambodia and Vietnam Where We Operate Academics Excursions Research Community engagement Advising Q & A

3 Brief SFS Overview Founded in (c)3 nonprofit School of Record: University of Minnesota SFS students can also receive direct credit from their college Academically rigorous study abroad program with resident faculty at eight global Centers

4 Brief SFS Overview AUSTRALIA BHUTAN CAMBODIA COSTA RICA PANAMA PERU TANZANIA TURKS & CAICOS

5 The Center for Mekong Studies Cambodia

6 Where in the World?

7 Why Cambodia and Vietnam? Lower Mekong Basin supports million people directly, 300 million peripherally for livelihoods Supports the largest inland fishery in the world -- 2% of the world s catch Biodiversity hotspot -- is second only to the Amazon River in biodiversity Mekong River Basin supports a vast array of geographic and climatic zones Image : Great Rivers Partnership

8 Why Cambodia and Vietnam? Threats: Development, pollution, extraction of resources (over fishing, illegal logging) Demand for power (hydropower). Dams disrupt water flow, fish migration and reproduction, biodiversity, local ecosystems. Climate change: flooding, seasonal rainfall disruptions, sea level rise, and salt water intrusion threatens agriculture and habitat/land loss Potential for creating millions of environmental refugees through loss of livelihoods, food security issues, and the displacement of local populations

9 Where We Operate In & Around Siem Reap: Gateway to Angkor UNESCO World Heritage Site 10 minutes to downtown and markets Surrounding areas: Silk farms and rice paddies Phnom Kulen National Park Tonle Sap Lake (stilted fishing villages and wildlife sanctuaries)

10 Field Station 10 minutes to downtown Siem Reap by tuk tuk Private campus, two-story dorm, covered outdoor dining area, green space for recreation, outdoor pool Dormitory Includes spacious, light-filled rooms for up to 4 students per room, with en suite bathrooms Common area with loft, couches, TV, books

11 Typical Week

12 Where We Operate 3+ week excursion through Cambodia and Vietnam Following the path of the Mekong

13 Webinar Outline Introduction to SFS Why Cambodia and Vietnam Where We Operate Academics Excursion Research Community engagement Advising Q & A

14 Academic Program Conservation Science and Practice (4 credits) Ecosystems and Livelihoods (4 credits) Environmental Ethics and Development (4 credits) Directed Research (4 credits) Language and Culture of Cambodia and Vietnam (2 credits) 18 credits

15 Conservation Science and Practice SFS 3800 (4 credits) Conservation theory: concepts, frameworks, principles Conservation practice: applied conservation on the ground Threats to lake, floodplains, forests and mangroves Conservation efforts of fish, water birds, bats, dolphins, and turtles Firsthand perspectives of diverse stakeholders: communities, NGOs, scientists, government, rangers Compare/contrast conservation practices between Cambodia and Vietnam

16 Conservation Science and Practice Learning Outcomes: Identify major threats to biological diversity Identify key questions being addressed by diverse conservation projects Employ field techniques and analytical tools to address conservation issues Conduct stakeholder analysis Design conservation project to protect keystone species or ecosystem upon which community depends

17 Conservation Science and Practice Example of Field Exercise: Mekong Ramsar Site: Home to Giant Mekong catfish, Irrawady Dolphin, Cantor Giant softshell turtle Conservation implemented by provincial Department of Environment Students meet with officials and rangers to learn about efforts and challenges Students develop and present conservation project grant proposal to address issue

18 Ecosystems and Livelihoods Along the Mekong SFS 3810 (4 credits) Examines the human/environment interface across multiple ecosystems Human systems, livelihoods, and cultural and historical context structured around ecosystems visited Themes: Rural livelihood strategies Terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and threats Community-based resource management Strategies for sustainable balance between human needs and preserving biodiversity

19 Ecosystems and Livelihoods Along the Mekong Learning Outcomes: Understand the diverse ecosystems of Cambodia and Vietnam Identify fauna and flora associated with livelihoods (consumption, trade, and tourism) Recognize drivers of change in livelihood strategies and challenges facing each region Comprehend diversity and complexity of the human dimension in Cambodia and Vietnam

20 Ecosystems and Livelihoods Along the Mekong Example of Field Exercise: Trapeang Sangke: Three villages (mix of Muslim and Khmer people) community project restoring mangrove and fish stocks Sleep for two nights in stilted cottages within the estuary near community mangrove nursery Plant mangroves in the restoration zone, learn about the project from the head of the community fishery Conduct livelihood interviews in the village with fishing families

21 Environmental Ethics and Development SFS 3820 (4 credits) Environmental decision-making through an applied ethical lens Application of ethical principles amidst complex socio-political decision making processes in rapidly developing region Uses thematic scenarios: Pollution in a Cambodian village and national park Population growth and management in a protected area Dams, food production and the Mekong Delta Indigenous people s access to natural resources and conservation

22 Environmental Ethics and Development Learning Outcomes: Understand the role that Cambodian culture and spiritual beliefs play in ethical outlooks Unpack and express the ethical issues in an environmental scenario Recognize the practical complexity of environmental decision-making Appreciate the complexities of the varying perspectives of different stakeholders in an ethical context Example: Consider the impact of development on the survival of the virtually extinct (80 remaining) Mekong population of the Irrawaddy dolphin

23 Environmental Ethics and Development Example of Field Exercise: Anlong Pi: Open landfill site for municipal waste Managed by private company Examine the challenges and opportunities of private-public sector partnerships

24 Culture and Language of Cambodia and Vietnam SFS 3820 (2 credits) Cambodian and Vietnamese society and culture Khmer Language Incorporates learning opportunities, experiences, community service

25 Community Outreach HUSK Community English school in Kompheim Village SFS students develop and team-teach environmental education lessons to 7 th graders: Recycling stations, Compost organic material, Waste management and repurposing rubbish, Seed planting in recycled containers

26 Excursion through Cambodia and Vietnam Trip Route Source: Google Maps

27 Stung Treng and Mekong Ramsar Site

28 Kratie

29 Phnom Penh

30 Kampot, Bokor and Trapeang Sangke Mangrove

31 Excursion through Cambodia and Vietnam Trip Route Source: Google Maps

32 Vietnam: Chau Doc

33 Cat Tien National Park

34 Webinar Outline Introduction to SFS Why Cambodia and Vietnam Where We Operate Academics Excursion Research Community engagement Advising Q & A

35 Research Themes Biodiversity and Ecology Livelihoods and the Environment Interface Sustainable Development and Responsible Tourism Natural Resource Governance and Management

36 Research Partners CMS partners with a range of local stakeholders, including: Government agencies such as the Forestry Administration, the Ministry of Environment, and the Ministry of Cults and Religions Non-governmental partners such as FACT (Fisheries Action Coalition Team), Angkor Center for Conservation and Biodiversity, Archaeology and Development Foundation, and Wildlife Conservation Society Pannasastra University, one of Cambodia's leading private university Ministry of Environment

37 Directed Research (DR) SFS 4910 (4 credits) Learning Objectives: Responsible conduct of research Design a field research project Conduct field data collection Manage, interpret, and analyze data Communicate research results to diverse audiences

38 Student Directed Research Examples Medicinal plant usage in rural communities and the transmission of traditional ecological knowledge Niche partitioning of fish and fecundity of a snakehead fish species The impact of fishery reform on fishery resources and conservation management on the Tonle Sap Lake Role of Buddhist monks in environmental awareness and conservation Awareness and knowledge of protected area categories in Phnom Kulen National Park

39 Webinar Outline Introduction to SFS Why Cambodia and Vietnam Where We Operate Academics Excursion Research Community engagement Advising Q & A

40 Student Life & Free Time Homestay with family on Tonle Sap floating village Access to Siem Reap Festivals, pagodas, circus, Apsara dance performances, Angkor temples Local as well as tourist markets, restaurants, shops, lively and fascinating downtown On-campus swimming pool and recreation areas Morning birdwatching with staff

41 Advising Tips Best for students who: Want to engage in social science, as well as natural science. Program contains more social science elements than other SFS programs. Are flexible, open and easy-going Can handle life in urban and rural communities, time on the road, and limited down time Considerations: Students with allergies (especially nuts or shellfish) or strict dietary restrictions should consider other programs due to local cuisine preparation. Structured program Weather can be very hot and wet Cambodia s recent history and sites can bring up difficult emotions.

42 Advising Tips Semester course prerequisite: One college-level biology, environmental studies/science, or ecology course Rolling admissions: No deadline Apply up to one year in advance

43 For More Information For more information about SFS: Advisors section of Contact your Institutional Relations Manager SFS Admissions: (800) or About SFS Cambodia:

44 Stay Connected Call (800) Visit Read Watch

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