Biology translates to “the study of” (logy) “life” (bio). At MSUM we take every opportunity to study wild populations in a natural setting. Field work allows us to study organisms in their natural setting, the interactions organisms have with their natural environment and with each other.
The MSUM Regional Science Center’s 300-acre Buffalo River Site is located 15 miles (25 km) from campus and is part of a 5,000-acre tallgrass prairie that includes the Buffalo River with riparian woods and several wetlands. The Site also includes a 13,000 square foot building built in 1992 (pictured below) and an observatory used by the Physics and Astronomy Department. The site is used as a tallgrass prairie field station that is used for research studies, laboratory field trips for several courses, and public education. MSUM students participate in ongoing programs in bird banding (MAPS program).
The Biosciences Department offers two travel field courses; one to the Pacific Northwest and one to Costa Rica. The course to the Pacific Northwest occurs is a 10-day travel experience through the temperate rain forest and marine coastline of Washington State. This course is offered in the month of June. Tropical Field Biology is offered in the spring semester with class meetings once per week from January to March followed by a 10-day trip to Costa Rica over the spring break in mid-March. In Costa Rica students spend time in three locations: the small town of Bagaces, Guanacaste (tropical dry forest), Ecolodge San Miguel in Cabo Blanco (tropical humid forest) and Ecolodge Sam Luis near Monteverde (tropical cloud forest).
Natasha Smith talks about her experience