• Cuba field course 2017
  • Costa Rica field course 2017
  • A newly planted tree
  • Great American Cleanup event photo

Welcome to CHANCE

Today, humanity faces this reality – the environment is broken most of which is a result of negative human impact on the health (loss of biodiversity) of our world's ecosystems.

CHANCE (Connecting Humans and Nature through Conservation Experiences) is an accredited environmental education and engaged scholarship program, whose overarching goal is to teach conservation biology and global sustainability at the frontline. To do this, CHANCE creates unique learning environments which include international field courses and online research modules that immerse its participants, students and teachers, in real-world research and conservation efforts.

The ultimate goal of CHANCE is to prepare global-minded citizens who understand the importance of restoring and protecting the biodiversity of our planet's ecosystems, and who are willing to address the challenges of our time such as energy, air, food, water, and climate change through their efforts.

Since ecosystems cross national borders, CHANCE strives to view, and to define sustainable answers for, environmental realities from a global perspective.

About CHANCE »
Online Modules. Try one today

Donate To CHANCE

Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to one of our CHANCE Funds. We can now accept online donations through the support of Penn State University’s secure online forms. Visit our Donate page to learn more.

Donate Today »

CHANCE Newswire

14 August 2017
Monarch butterfly
Can the Monarch Highway Help Save a Butterfly Under Siege?
The population of North American monarch butterflies has plummeted from 1 billion to 33 million in just two decades. Now, a project is underway to revive the monarch by making an interstate highway the backbone of efforts to restore its dwindling habitat.
Read Yale Environment 360 article »

27 July 2017
Graph of plastic disposal People Have Thrown Away 6.3 Billion Metric Tons of Plastic since 1950
A trio of researchers – Roland Geyer of the University of California, Santa Barbara; Jenna R. Jambeck of the University of Georgia; and Kara Lavender Law of the Sea Education Association in Woods Hole, Massachusetts – undertook the first-ever effort to estimate the total amount of plastics ever produced and comprehensively trace their fate.
Read Anthropocene article »

20 July 2017
Image of Larsen C ice shelf New Satellite Images Show Massive Antarctica Iceberg Slowly Drifting Out to Sea
One of the largest icebergs ever recorded broke free in Antarctica, and scientists are saying another collapse might have catastrophic consequences.
Read USA Today article »

20 July 2017
Satellite image of the Sundarbans coastal forest in Bangladesh, which is habitat for the endangered Bengal tiger. NASA
Energy Choices: What Should We Do About America's Energy Future?
High-resolution earth imagery has provided ecologists and conservationists with a dynamic new tool that is enabling everything from more accurate counting of wildlife populations to rapid detection of deforestation, illegal mining, and other changes in the landscape.
Read Yale Environment 360 article »

29 June 2017
Shady city street with pedestrians Designing Cities to Minimize the Urban Heat Island Effect
The world as a whole is getting hotter, and the cities where an ever-growing fraction of the global population lives are getting hotter still due to the urban heat island effect—the tendency for cities to be warmer than surrounding rural areas because building materials like concrete and asphalt trap heat.
Read Anthropocene article »

25 June 2017
Student researching in rainforest Schuylkill Campus Trio Conduct Environmental Research in Costa Rica
A few students from Penn State Schuylkill joined the Penn State CHANCE (Connecting Humans and Nature through Conservation Experiences) team in Costa Rica, conducting research and gathering some incredible images along the way.
Read Penn State Newswire »

View All Newswire Features »



Field Courses

Images from CubaCuba 2017 Field Course
July 7-15, 2017

This CHANCE field program, Environmental Protection, Conservation, and the Sustainability of Cuban Ecosystems with a Field Practicum in Cuba, is an immersive research and conservation journey in western Cuba. It is comprised of online education and an international field course. Participants will research the biodiversity of both terrestrial and marine protected habitats, the exploitation of environmental resources, and the policies and practices needed to enhance both Cuba’s current and future needs to sustain its natural ecosystems. The conservation efforts for this session include working in a sea turtle rookery.

Field Course Website »

Collage of kangaroo, sea turtle and rainforest photos
Australia 2018 Field Course
Summer 2018

Our first international field course partnership with James Cook University is titled: Conservation Biology and Global Citizenship - A Field Course in Select Natural World Heritage Sites of Australia. Field course website will be available end of 2017. Thank you for your patience while we coordinate our itinerary with our partners!


Featured Sponsor

Sanofi Pasteur logo

With gratitude, CHANCE would like to recognize Sanofi Pasteur for its generous support of environmental education through the Penn State CHANCE program.

Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi, provides more than 1 billion doses of vaccine each year, making it possible to immunize more than 500 million people across the globe. A world leader in the vaccine industry, Sanofi Pasteur produces a portfolio of high quality vaccines that matches its areas of expertise and meets public health demand. The company's heritage, to create vaccines that protect life, dates back more than a century. Sanofi Pasteur is the largest company entirely dedicated to vaccines. Every day, the company invests more than EUR 1 million in research and development.

Sanofi Pasteur’s recent charitable donation to the CHANCE Field Course Fund has helped defray the cost for undergraduate students and teachers from across Pennsylvania to travel to Costa Rica and Cuba this summer to participate in the 2017 programs -- Conservation and Sustainability of the Tropical Rainforest with a Field Practicum in Costa Rica and Environmental Protection, Conservation, and the Sustainability of Cuban Ecosystems with a Field Practicum in Cuba. Assessment data (soon to be published) has shown that CHANCE field research and conservation service-oriented activities benefit our teachers and students: by enhancing their understanding of the field of conservation biology, valuing biodiversity, inciting motivation to partake in future actions as informed citizens, and much more.

Featured Video

June 2017

The Ripple Effect.
Victoria (Torey) Vayer, TunaBarracuda Productions

"One person can make a difference. The Costa Rican mantra is Pura Vida, or Pure Life, but the way the world is going, there won't be much pure life left. The average rate of survival for sea turtles is 1/1000, but together we can more than double that rate and, with further research, help ensure the continued survival of the species. Join me on my journey to Costa Rica through the Penn State CHANCE program."

Other CHANCE featured videos »


CHANCE Fellows

15 August 2017 CHANCE Fellow in rainforest
CHANCE Fellow promotes Green Initiative on Penn State Campuses

This summer 2017 CHANCE Fellow, Jaagrit Randhawa, continues her work and involvement in the Penn State Housing Program, Eco-Reps. Eco-Reps focuses on peer engagement related to recycling and sustainable living. Many incoming students have never recycled before, others are used to single-stream recycling while Penn State sorts into multiple streams, and some may know how to recycle, but are just too lazy to do it. Thus, Eco-Reps are tasked with changing the recycling attitudes and behaviors of freshman residents to help increase university housing recycling rates.

As a marketing major and Eco-Rep, Jaagrit noticed that the program lacked an identifiable brand and unity in messaging that people could understand. With this in mind, she created “Roar into Recycling”, a recycling campaign that pridefully aligns sustainability with Penn State identity. Launching this idea included designing freshman recycling bags, displaying visual messaging on elevators, providing informational flyers in rooms at move-in, and messaging at dorms and educational events, all in an effort to raise awareness on the importance of proper waste management and natural resource preservation at Penn State. Additionally, Jaagrit plans to use this campaign to further address the 3 R’s and encourage students to actively Roar into reducing, reusing, and recycling. Thank you for creating this GREEN initiative!

Our Other Fellows »


Resources For Educators

15 Aug 2017
National Park Service (NPS) Educational Resources
The NPS has created a department for teachers and learners of all ages. This NPS department offers a myriad of resources and opportunities for teachers and classrooms. Even if no national parks are located near your school, many online activities and virtual field trips are available.

Search for educational materials and experiences by keyword or by subject (science, math, literacy and language arts, and social studies), grade level (lower elementary through adult), and Common Core standard.
Visit NPS Educational Resources »

15 Aug 2017
Aerial view of an estuary
NOAA’s Estuary Education Website K12
Estuaries are invaluable resources for coastal dwellers, whether of fin, fur, or feather. For people, these ecosystems offer protection, recreation, and a wealth of learning opportunities. On this site, educators and estuary enthusiasts will find a variety of resources, including specially developed curricula, videos, teacher training workshops, real-time data, and opportunities to volunteer at a local reserve. This information will help educators share the wonders of estuaries with students and others.

The site’s System-wide Monitoring Program (SWMP, pronounced “swamp”) Graphing Tool enables middle and high school students to work with authentic weather and water-quality data from NOAA to learn more about estuaries. Click on Science and Data for an interactive tutorial.

Visit NOAA’s Estuary Education »

01 Aug 2017
Ocean tracks project Ocean Tracks!
This program from the Oceans of Data Institute enables high school and college students to work with authentic data sets to study the migration patterns of large marine species and make connections between animal movement patterns and characteristics of the ocean environment. Through five learning modules, students learn to navigate the user-friendly Ocean Tracks! interface (Module 1); measure animal tracks to identify feeding behavior (Module 2); locate areas of high biological activity in the Pacific Ocean (Module 3); find interactions between human activities and marine animals in their hotspots (Module 4); and design a mobile sanctuary to protect marine species based on knowledge acquired in previous modules (Module 5).
Watch an introductory video »
Access Ocean Tracks! »

View All Educator Resources »


Resources For Students

19 July 2017

US Forest Service & NAAEE 2017 Young Professionals Diversity and Inclusion Scholarship

The North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) is seeking to support 6 young professionals from racially or ethnically diverse backgrounds to attend the NAAEE’s 46th Annual Conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico, October 18th – 21st, 2017.

NAAEE and the U.S. Forest Service share a goal of increasing diversity within the field of environmental education (EE). Through a participating agreement with the U.S. Forest Service, NAAEE will support scholarships for six young professionals who are seeking to initiate or progress their careers within the field through participation in professional development workshops, trainings, and networking opportunities with EE professionals from diverse cultures and communities.

NAAEE is dedicated to achieving greater diversity and inclusion within its own organization and to promoting principles that help build a more diverse and inclusive environmental movement, with a focus on promoting ecological integrity, economic prosperity, and social equity for all. Through the conference, NAAEE hopes to provide resources and opportunities for young professionals seeking to launch their careers in the field of EE or to become more established educators.

Six scholarship recipients will receive support to cover:

  • The conference registration fee
  • Round-trip airfare and/or ground transportation
  • Three nights of lodging, beginning Wednesday, October 18th, with a check out date of Saturday, October 21st.  All recipients will have their own rooms. Attendees will be responsible for supplying a credit or debit card for incidentals upon check-in.
  • Meals and ground transportation. These costs will be reimbursed after the event, upon proof of purchase (an invoice or receipt). Some of these costs will need to be covered out-of-pocket by the individuals if they exceed the total scholarship amount, though the conference registration fee does include two evening receptions and two lunches. All events associated with the conference are within walking distance, however special accommodations may be provided upon request.

Scholarship attendees will be required to attend all plenary/keynote sessions, a number of specific U.S. Forest Service sessions, which will be shared prior to the event, and the awards luncheon on Saturday.

Complete an application no later than Monday, August 14, 2017 at 11:59 PM PDT.

Apply/Register »

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