It will be Christmas in Kathmandu for eight UNT students attending the Nepal field school presented by the UNT Department of Geography and the Biological and Environmental Engineering Program.
The winter intersession course, Human Interactions with the Environment – Nepal, is a collaborative effort between UNT and Kathmandu and Tribhuvan universities in Nepal. The group departarted Dec. 17 and will return Jan. 10. Even though Nepal is commonly associated with its snow-capped peaks, the students should not be in for a deep chill.
"It's winter there, but we are not going to the high-elevation places," says Dr. Miguel Acevedo, Regents Professor and coordinator of the Biological and Environmental Engineering Program. "This time of year is good because there is no monsoon. If we went in the summer, we would have to deal with the very heavy rains."
Wedged between India and China in southern Asia, Nepal is home to critically endangered one-horn rhinoceros and Bengal tigers and a diverse range of ecosystems and topography from sub-tropical grasslands to the towering peaks of the Himalayas. Through lectures and field trips, students from UNT and Nepal will examine human-environment relations and learn how to approach real-life interdisciplinary problems.
The capital city of Kathmandu will offer firsthand lessons in urban development, environmental quality and watershed management. At Chitwan National Park, students will learn about endangered wildlife management and community forest practices, and about applying models to the study of grassland and floodplain hydrology. And mountain ecology will be the focus of a trip to Pokhara, at the base of the Himalayas.
Acevedo will teach the course, along with guest lecturers Jose Raventos of Universidad de Alicante, Spain, Tej Bahadur Thapa of Tribhuvan University, Sanjay Nath Khanal of Kathmandu University and Kul Prasad Limbu of Biratnagar Degree College, Nepal. UNT doctoral students from Nepal, Vivek Thapa and Rajan Rijal, helped coordinate the course.
"For UNT students it will be eye opening because they will get exposed to ecosystems they don't see around here," Acevedo says. "They get to experience other cultures and understand the importance of collaborating with students and faculty from other universities in another country."
UNT News Service Press Release
Mark Wright can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.