Since 2016, Professor of Biology Leah Knapp, DVM, has facilitated trips to the Kino Bay Center for Cultural and Ecological Studies, a Prescott College field station located in Sonora, Mexico.
In 2016, five students spent the fall semester living on site at the Center, and two students participated in internships at Kino Bay the following summer. Knapp took her ornithology class to the Center for eight days in 2018. At the station, students explored habitats, went birding, spent time with researchers and visited the local Comcaac tribe, among other activities.
“Students experience a part of the world different from their own,” Knapp said. “The people, the wildlife and the environment are very different from what they know here in Michigan. The cultures of local people, the habitat and the climate are all aspects that provide a brand-new experience.”
Dominique McKillop ’19 spent a semester in Kino Bay.
“I learned that, as humans, we have a huge impact on everything around us,” McKillop said. “I was able to be one with the Earth and see the effects that we have on the environment and animals. I am more conscious of what I am doing and how my decisions will affect things, people and the environment.”
Senior Dalton Miner spent a semester at Kino Bay and also participated in an internship at the station. His research included bird surveys, marine mammals and sea turtle conservation.
“It was all about the experience and how we learned to apply what we learned with little thought into the grade or how well you performed in the ‘classroom,’” Miner said. “It makes learning much more fun and improves the longevity of what you learned because you are not just learning to memorize information to take a test.”
Knapp believes that every person has the responsibility to be a global citizen, and experiences like these only enhance that theory.
“We live in a world intricately interconnected by our technology, where people can readily interact with each other almost anywhere in the world,” Knapp said. “We are not only Americans; we are citizens of the Earth. Humans are all one species, something we too often fail to recognize, and as the Olivet College Compact says, we need to ‘celebrate both the wealth of human diversity and the bond of human similarity, to care for the Earth and all its resources’ if we are to thrive as a society. To experience other parts of the world different from what we are accustomed to stretches us intellectually and emotionally. It pushes us to recognize our connections to people and other living things all over the world and, in turn, makes us global citizens.”