Tropical Rainforests

Tropical Rainforests

Winter Quarter, 2000

John T. (Jack) Longino
Susan Aurand


This program will focus on tropical forests from both scientific and artistic perspectives. Tropical ecosystems are home to most of the world's biodiversity, and our understanding of the origins and maintenance of this diversity relies on principles of community ecology, evolution, and biogeography. At the same time, images of tropical rainforests have been a powerful inspiration for artistic expression, and aesthetic concerns are strong motivations for conserving tropical forests. The program is designed for advanced science students, and no previous experience in the arts is required. Skill-building will include technical scientific writing, quantitative analysis of diversity data, drawing, scientific illustration, and visual literacy skills. The program includes 7 weeks of on-campus instruction, followed by a 3 week field trip to Costa Rica.

Student Fees
Credit Distribution
Meeting Times and Rooms
Art Studio (see Susan's handout)
Species Account
Diversity Lab
Costa Rica Field Trip
Spring Quarter Tropical Research

Student Fees and expenses:
The on-campus portion will cost about $150 in art and lab supplies, plus about $10 for local field trips. The field trip to Costa Rica will cost about $700 in airfare, and $905 for all food, lodging, and transportation costs in Costa Rica. The $905 will have to be paid to the college as a student fee.

All students must deposit $905 in the college student fee account by Wednesday, 5 January 2000. Please pay at the cashiers office. The account number you will need is 218122-0140.

You must show Jack Longino your receipt at the beginning of lab on Thursday of week 1.

Financial Aid
Chris Ciancetta ( has kindly prepared this document on financial aid, and offered to talk with you if you contact her.


Evaluation will be based on (1) participation in all parts of the program, both on-campus and in Costa Rica, (2) writing a technical research report on a particular rainforest species, (3) participating in the quantitative analysis of biodiversity data, (4) writing weekly essays for seminar, (5) learning from lecture material and being able to demonstrate learning on exams, (6) producing an expressive art work for the "Rainforest Bazaar," and (7) maintaining a journal during the field trip. The field trip journal will be evaluated for (1) scientific content, (2) aesthetic content, (3) visual arts skills, (4) writing skills, and (5) quantitative observations.

Credit Distribution:

* indicates upper division science credit

We will not be working closely with any particular ecology or evolution text book, but you may want access to general ecology and evolutionary biology textbooks, to review certain topics. Examples of popular texts include Futuyma (Evolutionary Biology), Begon, Harper, and Townsend (an introductory ecology text that emphasizes plants); and Ricklefs (an intro ecology text that emphasizes animals more). The main book we will rely on in class is:

Kricher, J. 1997. A neotropical companion, second edition. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey. ISBN 0-691-00974-0.

Books we will discuss in seminar are:

Forsyth, A., and K. Miyata. 1984. Tropical Nature. Touchstone, New York, New York. ISBN 0-684-18710-8.

Soule, M. E., and G. Lease, ed. 1995. Reinventing Nature? Responses to Postmodern Deconstruction. Island Press, Washington, D.C. ISBN 1-55963-311-5.

Terborgh, J. 1999. Requiem for Nature. Island Press, Washington, D.C. ISBN 1-55963-587-8.

On-campus Schedule, weeks 1-7:
Monday, 9:30-11:30am, Arts Annex, Critique Room: Art workshop/work discussion.
Monday, 11:30-2:30pm, Arts Annex, 3-d Design Studio: Open studio/conference time.
Tuesday, 9-11am, Lab I, rm2033 and rm3033: Seminar.
Wednesday: no class
Thursday, 9am-4pm, Lab I, rm3046: Biology Laboratory.
Friday, 9am-noon, Lecture Hall 2: Lecture.
Monday-Friday, 7am-11pm, Arts Annex, 3-d Design Studio: Open studio.

For students who did not take Temperate Rainforests, there will be supplementary art workshops on Tuesday afternoons of weeks 1 and 2.

Thursday of week 6 will be an all-day field trip to Seattle, times to be announced.

Friday of week 7 will be the Rainforest Bazaar, which will last until 2:30pm.

There will be no on-campus activities planned week 8. Students must arrive in Costa Rica by Wednesday evening, 23 February. We will rendezvous at the airport or the hotel; details to be announced.

Rainforest Research program for Spring Quarter:
For those wishing to enroll in Rainforest Research, we will postpone selection until week 2 or 3 of Winter quarter, after some initial assessment of students' preparation for independent research work. More information on this program is on the Rainforest Research homepage.

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John T. Longino, The Evergreen State College, Olympia WA 98505 USA.

Susan Aurand, The Evergreen State College, Olympia WA 98505 USA.

Last modified: 31 December 1999