Australia Study Abroad (Rainforests)

Much of the world's rainforests (the Amazon, Central America, Southeast Asian and Southern Africa) are disappearing at an alarming rate. Some estimates show 1,000 acres per day.

Though the rainforests of North Queensland are some of the oldest in the world and hold an astonishing amount of biodiversity, parts of these rainforests were heavily logged, cleared and burned for agriculture and timber usage during the 1960s. Since the 1980s the Australian government has made these rainforests World Heritage Sites and they are now protected. The extensive fragmentation of these rainforests has now presented an immense issue; how does fragmentation affect rainforest communities and their underlying structure? Issues like this will be used as case studies during my program. As a biology student with a focus in ecology and conservation, studying these rainforests will provide a unique opportunity to refine my scientific research skills and grow as an individual.


Living adjacent to a World Heritage site and cherishing the idea that I will help secure the future of some of the most endangered ecosystems in the world are all things I look forward to experiencing in North Queensland, Australia.

Help fund my trip to the Australian Rainforests!!

This spring I was accepted in the Rainforest Studies program with the School for Field Studies in North Queensland, Australia. This program is an intensive three-month long, undergraduate study abroad program that focuses on academic as well as hands-on scientific research. This program starts September 2nd 2013 and lasts until December 5th 2013. This program will grant me college credit that will go toward my major at the University of Illinois at Chicago (Biological Sciences) and provide me with an unsurpassed amount of experience in fieldwork and research.



I have recently been a recipient of a generous School for Field Studies Scholarship, but it is not nearly enough to buy plane tickets to Australia. The cost of these tickets is around $1,900. So, this is my plea to everyone I know family, friends and co-workers. Even a small donation of $10 adds up.

As a token of my eternal gratitude for those who donate, I will promise a small gift from these rainforests I visit.

The chance to study in Australia has become a personal and professional life goal and I anticipate this journey having a profound impact on me. As a young child, I was fortunate to live overseas; Australia was my home for two years and while I did not realize it at the time, it served as my inspiration to study the natural sciences. Just as the experience in Australia as a child has stayed with me and helped shape who I am, I feel that what I learn about others and myself through this international experience, will help shape who I will become in the future. Ultimately I foresee this study abroad program expanding my undergraduate education and providing me a jumpstart to post-graduate studies and research, as I hope to pursue a profession in the field of biology. I am excited to be a part of a group of students who will live and breathe the rainforest. To see the world again, to see Australia again-the rainforests are waiting.

Again I thank you for looking at my webpage and I do hope you donate!!

Town near by the field station I will be studying at.
http://queenslandplaces.com.au/yungaburra

Below is a photograph of me at Warren Dunes in Michigan.




(Updated 6-5-2013)
Classes I will be taking:
BI/EE (NS) 369 Rainforest Ecology (4 credits)
EE (NS) 370 Principles of Forest Management (4 credits)
EE (SS) 302 Environmental Policy and Socioeconomic Values (4 credits) EE 491 or 492 Directed Research (4 credits)



Interested in more?

School for Field Studies: http://www.fieldstudies.org/australia/semester

World Heritage Website/Info: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/368


Wet Tropics World Heritage Area Website: http://www.wettropics.gov.au/home


Daintree Rainforest info: http://www.daintreerainforest.net.au

UIC Biology Department website: http://www.uic.edu/depts/bios/
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Lucas Vonderlinden 
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Chicago, IL
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