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KU India
KU India


Environmental Studies in Karnataka, South India (Next Offered Summer 2013)

India Study Abroad KU Environmental Studies
Study abroad students sharing an intimate moment with a four year old elephant at an elephant camp in the Western Ghats

The entire study abroad program is conducted in the state of Karnataka. Most of the travel isl be around the city of Bangalore and Mysore and in the ecosystems of the Western Ghats. This entire region has a cooler climate in the months of June and July, because of the higher elevation and milder monsoons, relative to the plains of northern and central India. In addition there are many excellent research and conservation non-governmental organizations in that region. The Western Ghats offers numerous ecosytem types from high altitude grasslands interspersed with dense evergreen forest patches called shola, to moist deciduous and dry deciduous forests. Also the students will be able to understand: how forest dwelling populations live a subsistence life in these forests; human-wildlife conflict; and sustainable harvest of forest products. The Western Ghats (mountains) are brimming with large wild animals such as elephants, wild dogs, gaur, tigers, leopards, several deer species and students are likely to see several species while visiting protected areas.

The first Envirmonmental Studies Program in India was conducted in the Summer of 2010. The inargural program was a great succes and gained much attention among students, faculty and the community.




Program Director: Dr. Geetanjali Tiwari, Coordinator, South Asian Studies Program, Center for Global and International Studies, University of Kansas


Dr. Geetanjali Tiwari was one of two females to be selected nationally for the full scholarship Masters program at the Wildlife Institute of India in Dehradun, the most prestigious institute for teaching and research in wildlife in India. Her focus started with primates for her MS dissertation, and moved on to diverse projects in diverse parts of India. To name a few: herpetology in Mumbai region, tiger conservation in central India, Rhino conservation in Assam, Biodiversity conservation and local stakeholder developed sustainable ecotourism in Sikkim, and illegal trade in wildlife and wildlife products.

Dr. Tiwari moved to the US in 1996 where she attained a PhD. in Cultural Anthropology from Pennsylvania State University. Her focus was on polyandry - a marriage system where one woman has more than one husband simultaneously, in Kinnaur district in Himachal Pradesh in the high Himalayas.

Dr. Tiwari was born and raised in India but has maintained close ties to the people, culture and natural richness of India. She created this study abroad program for Summer 2010 and took 11 students to India for 6-weeks. The program was extremely successful and impacted the students in deep and meaningful ways that they would have never imagined. Of course we all had a lot of fun too and watched wild elephants, wild dogs!


To read more please see the feature article in the Lawrence Journal World our International Evironmental Studies article, as well as an article in our CGIS newsletter. Also, join the group on Facebook to see photos and connect with participants.

For detailed Program information and to apply click here.



Summer 2010 Experiences



"My time in India can be described as nothing short of amazing. I am extremely honored and feel privileged to have had the opportunity to study abroad with that wonderful group of people in such a remarkable setting. The biodiversity of the area was unmatched from anywhere I have been, and the efforts to keep that biodiversity impressed me. The people of India were so welcoming, accepting, and humble. Even our resource people, who guided and taught us along the way, were incredible."

- Andrew Pierce
Link to full story

Andrew's Independent Research Project - Adult Frog Density’s Correlation with Inhabited Pool Size

coming soon

"I spent six weeks in Southern India.  Six, in fact, of the most meaningful weeks of my entire life.  There mainly to study field ecology and environmental issues, the whole experience encompassed so much more than that.  Not only did I travel and bond with an amazing group of people whom I’m sure will all be lifelong friends, I also plunged headfirst into a wonderfully different culture I previously knew absolutely nothing about.  Some mornings I woke up to the upbeat hustle of a massively crowded city, while others I arose to mist rising from the serene jungle floor.  I witnessed the work of life-changing non-government organizations and learned from some of the most brilliant and esteemed minds in the country.  I took tea with people kind enough to bring those they’ve never met into their home, and walked through the villages of the Soliga, the people of the bamboo."

- Bradley Barton
Link to full story

coming soon

"Living with a group of people that I didn’t know for six weeks sounded like being put on a season of the TV show Real World."

"My roommate screamed while I sat there in pure disbelief that a three foot monkey had just walked into my room."

- Brandy Fogg
Link to full story


"Whether it was eating on plates made out of leaves off Butia monosperma (‘Flame of the Forest’) tree, or crossing the impressive Cauvery River on bowl rafts made from bamboo, nature is daily life in India, and even for us biologists and environmentalists, a bigger part of our daily lives than we could ever have imagined. The true necessity of nature, and its impact on humankind was as loud and clear as the trumpet of the elephant, and the roar of the tiger."

- David Martinez
Link to full story

David's Independent Research Project-
Space Requirements in Three Species of Male Frogs

"During a 10-day period several resource people came out to Forest Trails (adjacent to Bannerghatta National Park in Karnataka, India) to teach our study abroad group field techniques and methods such as how to work with transects; how to identify and catch frogs, insects, and bugs; how to start a herbarium; how to recognize plants by observing leaf and bark patterns, colors, shapes, and structures; and how to observe animals in the natural world."

- Deepak Surampalli
Link to full story

Deepak's Independent Research Project - Abundance of Lantana camara in Open Canopy, Partial Canopy, Closed Canopy Areas in Forest Trails, Karnataka, India

coming soon

"I’d been told all my life that we, as human beings are similar because we share the same genes and inhabit the same planet. That message truly came to life before my eyes when I was able to travel halfway across the world and connect with complete strangers through the common bonds we share as human beings, despite different races, upbringings, languages and homes."

- Hayley Mallen
Link to full story

Haley's Independent Research Project -
A Correlation Between Butterfly Sizes and Landing Height on Lantana camara at Forest Trails, Karnataka, India

"The ascent up the hill was like something out of a National Geographic special. Lizards and skinks by the dozens ran for the safety of loose rocks as they felt the presence of humans coming. Frogs (primarily skitters) leapt for the safety of small pools of water. Grass Jewel, Common Tiger and Emigrant butterflies were being tossed about by the strong winds as if they were the shuttlecocks in a game of badminton."

- Kristina Beverlin
Link to full story

"Sometimes solving environmental problems requires a creative approach.  It requires sensitivity to the needs of the local community and an understanding how the people are part of the environment."

- Melissa Forester
Link to full story

Melissa's Independent Research Project -
A Comparison of Pollinator Landings on Lantana camara with Three Other Plant Species in Bloom at Forest Trails, Karnataka, India


"One time a young macaque came through the window of our bus, took our mangoes and left."

- Monica Melhem
Link to full story

Monica's Independent Research Project-
Probllem of Neglect: Amphibians of South India


"Unexpectedly the bus stopped and out over the hill appeared three elephants walking straight for our bus!  Strained and worried whispers began, “what should we do?”, “why aren’t we moving!”  However, the bustling stopped as ten more elephants appeared.  There was an entire herd heading for our bus.  Stuck in a state of awe, we watched as tuskers, females, and young elephants simply strode past, 10 meters from our bus.  They continued and swerved around us as if we had parked right in their path line.  Who needs a tiger when you can see an entire herd of elephants?"

- Rhea Richardson
Link to full story


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