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  • Locations: Atherton Tablelands, Australia
  • Program Terms: Summer
  • Homepage: Click to visit
  • Program Sponsor: The School for Field Studies (SFS) 
  • Restrictions: Augsburg applicants only
  • Dates / Deadlines
Program Description:


sfs australia3


  • Term: Summer Session II
  • Credits: 4 semester-hour credits (8 credits if taken with Session I)
  • Prerequisites: No course prerequisites: 18 years of age
  • Application Deadline: Rolling admissions. Early applications encouraged
  • Financial Aid: All accepted students can apply for need-based scholarships, grants, and loans


The Great Barrier Reef and the tropical rainforests of northern Australia are part of a complex ecosystem. This summer, live in Queensland, Australia and learn about rainforest and watershed management in this tropical region. Examine policy solutions and other actions needed to maintain healthy waterways in the face of a changing climate.

  • Go snorkeling off a Great Barrier Reef island and learn about the links between rainforest restoration and water quality on the reef while observing sea turtles, giant clams, corals, and other marine organisms up close.
Students live and study at the SFS Center for Rainforest Studies. Our Center lies at the end of a narrow, winding road, in the middle of a lush rainforest. The 153-acre property is surrounded by protected World Heritage forests, and you can see incredible wildlife from the front steps of your cabin. Nearby Yungaburra and Cairns provide the occasional return to civilization.



Take back-to-back summer sessions and get the hands-on learning and skill-building experiences of an internship, while also going off the beaten path and exploring the world. Each summer session focuses on a different topic, and you’ll have time to travel independently between sessions. Receive a $1,000 discount on your second session.





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The School for Field Studies (SFS) Rainforest Studies summer study abroad program offers two four-credit courses that may be taken individually or back to back to provide a thorough introduction to biodiversity conservation and the socioeconomic factors influencing land and resource management in two unique areas.In summer Session II: Techniques for Rainforest Research in Australia, students examine the effects of fragmentation in highly endangered rainforest systems, explore Australia’s tropical rainforests and develop effective field research skills in multiple disciplines while learning about rainforest restoration and conservation.

Rainforest ecosystems harbor some of the world’s highest levels of biodiversity. The rainforests of Australia and New Zealand host extraordinary remnants of the world’s oldest species of plants and animals. Large areas of northeastern Queensland were once covered in spectacular tropical rainforests, preserving millions of years of evolutionary history; however, over the centuries, logging, farming, and development have destroyed and disrupted rainforest ecosystems and habitats, leaving fragile fragments that are often too small or isolated to sustain some species.

In this second summer session, the emphasis is on learning and practicing field research methods in ecology, resource management, and social science.

In this summer study abroad program, students will explore Australia’s tropical rainforests and develop effective field research skills in multiple disciplines while learning about rainforest restoration and conservation. These skills are vital for those who decide to pursue a career in the environment. Students will:
  • Learn rainforest research field techniques on unique flora and fauna in Australia, which are transferable to any other forest ecosystem in the world
  • Assess density and diversity of flora and fauna in pristine forests and restoration plots
  • Determine ecosystem types and learn field techniques, such as trapping, mapping plots, and spotlighting
  • Learn social science survey techniques, and how to quantifiably and qualitatively assess human resource use and how it relates to restoration and conservation

  • Biogeographic history and conservation of highly endangered and fragmented rainforest communities
  • Putting people into the matrix—developing natural resource management policies that work
  • Field techniques for sampling rainforest faunal communities, floral communities, and social and economic variables associated with rainforest use

  • Learn sampling design, GPS and GIS techniques, plant identification, forest survey techniques, animal survey methods, and social science research techniques
  • Experience largely intact lowland forest and contrast with the fragmentation effects impacting the rainforests of the Atherton Tablelands

This summer course can be taken individually or in combination with Rainforest Management Studies in Australia and New Zealand in Session I.
  • Students participating in both sessions are eligible for a $675 discount.
  • Students earn 8 credits
  • Home school financial aid may be applied toward the program. Earning 8 credits likely will allow students to qualify for federal financial aid, depending on their particular situation
  • There are five days off between courses for independent travel. Students will be near great locations, such as the Great Barrier Reef.
  • There are no prerequisites
  • Possible SFS travel grants may apply for airfare

The Center for Rainforest Studies lies on the edge of the Atherton Tablelands in the heart of the traditional land of the Yidinji people. Protected World Heritage forests and farmland surround the rolling hills covered in tropical foliage. Student cabins are nestled within the rainforest, which comprises the majority of the property’s 153 acres. Sightings of tropical birds, bandicoots, pademelons, musky rat kangaroos, amethystine pythons, and other unique rainforest species are common. The site is alive with the sounds of the rainforest. Students share eight-person cabins with separate shower and bathroom blocks. The main building of the field station houses the classroom, dining area, and a common room.

Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Summer 2020 03/01/2020 ** Rolling Admission TBA TBA

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Applicants will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.