In July, teacher Andrea Schepis will travel to the Central American country of Belize to study marine ecology and conservation along with a group of 20 other teachers.
Schepis, an art teacher, said that she sent an application to Earth Expeditions with a list of her top five locations of interest.
"I was not sure if I would be selected, since the focus of study is science based and I am an art teacher," Schepis said. "But when I found out that I was selected I was thrilled!"
The group won't just be sightseeing, however. They will be exploring terrestrial, coastal and coral reef communities at the Belize Zoo and Tropical Education Center, Gales Point and Tobacco Caye. They will also join local scientists who are studying conservation programs for harpy eagles and jaguars.
Aside from visiting a new country, Schepis said she was looking forward to many experiences.
I'm looking forward to "the experience of being in Belize ... getting to know the people, the history and the diverse wildlife firsthand," Schepis said. "We will be working in a school doing an art project with the children, which is exciting."
Unlike Las Vegas, what happens in Belize won't stay in Belize.
"I will be going into the Mayan Forest and seeing ruins I teach in my classroom. I will be seeing the beauty of the wildlife in one of the least inhabited places in our hemisphere," she said. "[I'm looking forward to taking away] a better understanding of a place whose history and art I teach as well as a more in depth understanding of cross-curricular opportunities connecting art and science."
The program is based on Earth Expeditions from Dragonfly and the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. Schepis is one of more than 350 United States and international teachers and graduate students selected to travel with the program. This program has sites in 12 countries in Africa, Australia, Asia and the Americas.
"As I begin my unit of Pre-Columbian art I will be teaching it from a whole new perspective" after the trip, she said.
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