• Explore. Research. Conserve.
  • Costa Rica and Panama 2015 Field Course Starts June 15. Follow the adventures on our Facebook page
  • We are drowning in information while starving for wisdom. The world henceforth will be run by syntheizers, people able to put together the right information at the right time, think critically about it, and make importnat choices wisely. - Edward O. Wilson

Welcome to CHANCE

Today, humanity faces this reality – the environment is broken on local, state (province), national, and global scales most of which are a result of human impact on natural resources and ecosystems.

Penn State CHANCE is an environmental education and professional development outreach program that uses real-world experiences to challenge students to think critically about conservation issues while transforming them into the problem solvers that our society desperately needs.

About CHANCE »
Online Modules. Try one today

CHANCE Newswire

23 July 2015

Street trees really do make people healthier

It’s easy enough to claim that being in nature makes people feel better. It certainly feels like it’s true. A weekend in the mountains, or even a few hours in a park after a long day at work, truly feels like it is somehow restorative. There are some good reasons to believe that green space...
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07 July 2015
Oil spill on waterwayAlgae Spill their Secrets to Aid Oil Cleanup
Oil and water famously don't mix, and yet it's very difficult to extricate the former from the latter. When light crude oil spills at sea, it rapidly spreads out into a thin sheen that is notoriously tough to clean up, especially when spills happen in remote areas. But the trick to doing so in an...
Read more from Conservation »

23 June 2015
Turtle hatchlings emerge from sand
CHANCE field course participant provides first hand account

New this year! Sarah Ann, one of the Costa Rica and Panama field course participants, is blogging about her experiences. She has been sharing photos, stories, and insight while on location.
Follow the adventure

06 May 2015
Accelerating Extinction Risk from Climate Change
In a study published Thursday in the journal Science, Mark Urban, an ecologist at the University of Connecticut, also found that as the planet warms in the future, species will disappear at an accelerating rate. Read New York Times article »


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Field Courses

CHANCE Costa Rica/Panama 2015 Field Course

A Penn State University and Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS)/La Selva collaboration. The focus of this program, Conservation Biology and Sustainability of Select Tropical Ecosystems, which includes spring, 2015 online and summer, 2015 field course components, is to explore rainforest, coral reefs, sea grasses, and mangrove root ecosystems. The word explore is all encompassing here as it not only means to physically experience theses ecosystems with all the human senses open, but to question the phenomena that are affecting the maintenance, loss, and restoration of the biological diversity within these fragile environments through research. A highlight of the field course will be working with nesting sea turtles and hatchlings to ensure the recovery and sustainable management of depleted sea turtle populations worldwide. DATES for field course: June 15 - July 1, 2015
Visit field course website

OTS Jiangnan University logo Nanjing University logo

CHANCE China 2015 Field Course

A Penn State University, Jiangnan University (Wuxi, China), and Nanjing University (Nanjing, China) collaboration. The focus of this program is on China's fresh water supply and efforts needed to restore and conserve it. Twenty-four undergraduate students (8 from each university) will be selected from all three institutions to participate in a 17-day journey to study the Yangtze River watershed, which consists of the longest river in Asia and the third-largest in the world. Locations to be explored include: Shanghai; YiChang, Hubei Province; Wuxi, Suzhou and Nanjing, Jiangsu Province; and, Beijing. Field research will analyze efforts to reverse the pollution and resulting eutrophication of Lake Tai, China's third largest lake, as a result of the rapid economic growth in the surrounding cities of Wuxi and Suzhou. Also, all involved students and faculty will investigate the impact of urban development on the tributaries of the Yangzte in the Nanjing area. Highlights for this program include an international student-run panel discussion in Beijing on the sustainability of China's fresh water supply, and participation in a restoration project in the Yangtze watershed with members of Green Oasis, an NGO based in Shanghai.
DATES for field course: July 6-23, 2015.
Visit the field course website

Penn State University logo Jiangnan University logo Nanjing University logo


CHANCE Recognition

AAMVECONA logoCHANCE would like to recognize one of its partners, AMVEECONA, for its conservation work in San San Pond Sak Wetlands, Bocas del Toro, Panama.

The mission of this Non-Profit Organization (NGO) that was established in 2000 is to develop conservation activities that protect the ecosystems and the species that are found in the San San Pond Sak Wetlands through programs that are dedicated to improving the quality of life of the residents of the area.

The San San Pond Sak Wetland is a wetland of international importance with an area of 16,125 hectare and is one of several protected areas with major biological diversity in Panama. This wetland was designated a Protected Wetland in 1994 (Resolution J.D. 020-94, August 2, 1994), by the Renewable Natural Resources Institute (presently known as the National Environment Authority).

Together CHANCE and AMVEECONA have been working together since 2013 to conserve and protect several sea turtle species, collect data on hatchling success and viability, and to record and tag nesting sea turtles for worldwide data base analysis of population dynamics

Featured Video

Other CHANCE featured videos »


15 May 2015
CHANCE Fellow, LaurenCHANCE 2014 fellow, Lauren LaRue, began studying cell envelope stress responses under Dr. Sarah Ades in the Penn State Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department in August, 2014. She presented a poster at the Penn State Undergraduate Research Exhibition on April 8th 2015 with two other undergraduates regarding their current research on the involvement of the Rcs Phosphorelay in the acquisition of resistance to B-lactam antibiotics. Their work was analyzed by a group of esteemed judges and won 2nd place in the health and life science category. Out of the number of presenters in this category, they came out on top! Go Lauren!!

Our Other Fellows »

Resources For Educators

23 June 2015
An Educational Bioliteracy Online Resource
Actionbioscience logo
Actionbioscience.org is a non-commercial, educational web site created to promote bioscience literacy.To meet this goals the web site provides peer reviewed articles by scientists, science educators, and science students on issues related to six bioscience content areas: environment, biodiversity, genomics, biotechnology, evolution, and science policy. In addition, information is provided for educators, that explains how the use of issues in biological sciences teaching is firmly rooted in an inquiry-based approach to bioscience education. The site also offers tips on how to teach with issues. The web site provides ready to use original lessons and resources to enhance issue based bioscience teaching. Up-to-date external links are provided at the bottom of each article to help the reader "learn more" about or "get involved" in the issue. Much of the sites content is also available in Spanish.
More information »

23 June 2015
Treevitalize logo
TreeVitalize Grant Funding Available

The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (PA-DCNR) is pleased to announce two funding opportunities available through their TreeVitalize planting and inventory grant programs. Municipalities within Pennsylvania and non-profit organizations are encouraged to apply. Funding is available based on community size with the requirement of non-state matching funds.

Planting Grant Guidelines and Information
The TreeVitalize programs works to increase tree canopy cover throughout Pennsylvania communities while building citizen appreciation and support for sustaining urban forests. This program offers grants to communities and non-profit organizations to offset the cost associated with establishing new trees while including the involvement of community residents. Two rounds of funding for this program with deadlines on July 30, 2015 and January 30, 2016.

Street Tree Inventory Grant Guidelines and Information
A street tree inventory provides a community with an understanding of the composition, health, and condition of the public trees that make up the urban forest, and of the available opportunities to plant additional trees, while providing a benchmark from which a community can begin to plan for the long term management of its trees. The TreeVitalize Program is committed to the use of i-Tree Tools, through which the value of the ecological services provided by the tree cover is calculated. Once a community has been approved for an inventory grant, TreeVitalize Program staff will work with them to establish a partnership with a suitable university.

For more information or to apply »

Applicants interested in acquiring tree for communities within Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties may contact the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS). TreeVitalize offers a "Tree Request" opportunity managed by the DCNR southeast TreeVitalize partner, PHS.

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Resources For Students

07 July 2015
National Geographic Logo
Citizen Science: Contribute to a Common Good, Collaborate, Communicate by Doing Research!

Would you like to have unlimited access to be engaged in a variety of research projects of your own choice? — Would you like your undergraduate research to contribute to a significant public health, medical, environmental, or other socially significant cause? — Would you like your data to be publicly available on an open database that is well curated and maintained? — Would you like to be engaged in research throughout the calendar year? Citizen Science (CS) engages diverse participants in thousands of research projects on local, regional, national, and global scales in the collection, interpretation, and use of scientific data on a particular scientific problem.
Check our these National Geographic CS project recommendations »

23 May 2015
OTS Graduate Courses
OTS graduate courses are designed to engage students in the formulation of feasible research questions experimental design, data collection, analysis, and oral and written presentations through its highly regarded OTS "field problems" approach. The courses provide hands-on research experience in plant eco-physiology, microbial ecology, molecular ecology, remote sensing, rapid biodiversity inventories, and other cutting edge topics depending on the course chosen.
For more information »

OTS Undergraduate Courses
The OTS/Duke partnership offers you a comprehensive introduction to field biology, conservation policy and global health in a tremendous diversity of habitats. Instead of exploring nature and conservation issues via field trips and exercises, you will live in the forests, savannahs and communities that you are studying. In addition to the diversity of sites and ecosystems you visit, our courses expose you to a diversity of people, perspectives and approaches. Few experiences will give you better insight to the complexity, challenge, and excitement of doing science and applying the scientific process to the understanding of real ecosystems and their components.
For more information »

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