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Study Agricultural Adaptations to Climate Change in Chiapas, Mexico

This innovative two-week course will provide students with the opportunity to study the political, ecological, and historical aspects of sustainable agriculture in and around Chiapas, Mexico.

This four-credit course is offered jointly by Vermont Technical College and Sterling College. Students will explore this complex, fertile, and productive region. Faculty from Sterling College, as well as an on-site community facilitator and researcher, will guide students through the impacts of climate change in Chiapas, as well as through ecological adaptation strategies such as organic horticulture and community collaboration.

The region offers a unique living classroom for students to learn about climate change and sustainable agriculture. Chiapas has coastal mountain peaks and cloud forests that are home to traditional milpa agriculture and coffee production, as well as plains that have been deforested by conventional ranching. The area also has coastal mangroves that serve as a key watershed resource for local fisheries.

Students will learn firsthand about the pressures of climate change on agriculture and they will have the opportunity to observe solutions in action, including integrated watershed management, agroecological production systems, shade-grown coffee, and community development programs. In the coastal plains, community ranching groups are re-foresting pastures. In the Chiapan jungle, students will meet with indigenous groups to discuss links between the global economy, deforestation, and palm oil plantations, as well as explore the Mayan heritage of the region.

Students will learn about real world solutions to the challenges of climate change, then strategize how to implement these solutions back home, in research, and in service work around the world.

For more information on program details or registration, please contact Molly Willard at Please note that registration for this course closes November 20, 2014.