• Costa Rica and Panama field course 2016
  • Cuba field course 2016-17
  • Explore. Research. Conserve.

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 immerse its participants, students and teachers, in real-world research and conservation efforts through innovative online curriculum and field courses.

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

CHANCE is expanding our community conservation efforts and we need your help! As part of our international field courses, we assist with reforestation efforts and turtle rookery preservation efforts. Your donations will go towards purchasing saplings for participants to plant or materials to build turtle nest protective enclosures.

Donate »

CHANCE Newswire

21 May 2016
Glaciers and floating ice
Photo Credit: Christopher Michel/Flickr
Abrupt Sea Level Rise Looms As Increasingly Realistic Threat
Ninety-nine percent of the planet's freshwater ice is locked up in the Antarctic and Greenland ice caps. Now, a growing number of studies are raising the possibility that as those ice sheets melt, sea levels could rise by six feet this century, and far higher in the next, flooding many of the world's populated coastal areas.
Read Yale 360 article by Nicola Jones »

20 May 2016
Water droplet and ripples
The World’s Water in the Balance
The World Bank has warned countries that one of climate change’s most significant impacts will be on a precious resource that many people, particularly in advanced nations, take for granted: water.
Read editorial »

16 May 2016
Porpoise swimming at waters surfaceExperts: Mexico's Vaquita Porpoise Headed Toward Extinction
The population of Mexico's endangered vaquita marina, the world's smallest porpoise, has fallen to alarmingly low levels and is heading toward extinction soon if drastic measures aren't taken, scientists warned Friday.
Read New York Times article »

14 May 2016
Cross section of a rock formation
Early Earth’s Air Weighed Less than Half of Today’s Atmosphere

The idea that the young Earth had a thicker atmosphere turns out to be wrong. New research from the University of Washington uses bubbles trapped in 2.7 billion-year-old rocks to show that air at that time exerted at most half the pressure of today’s atmosphere.

Natural Geoscience publication »

View All Newswire Features »

Field Courses

Cuba 2016 Field Course
December 27, 2016 - January 6, 2017

The newest CHANCE field program, Cuba - Environmental Protection, Resource Management and the Sustainability of a Developing Nation, is an immersive research and conservation journey in western Cuba. It is a collaboration between The Pennsylvania State University, Cuba Marine Research & Conservation Program - a project of the Ocean Foundation, and Center for Marine Research (CIM) of the University of Havana, and is comprised of an online education and an international field course. Participants will evaluate 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 and removal of invasive species.

Field Course Website »

Costa Rica & Panama advertisementCosta Rica/Panama 2016 Field Course
July 3-17, 2016

We are excited to once again collaborate with the Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS)/La Selva and AAMVECONA on this program in Costa Rica and Panama. This international program, Conservation Biology and Sustainability of Select Tropical Ecosystems, is comprised of a spring 2016 online course and a summer 2016 field course. Participants will work side-by-side select field scientists in Costa Rica whose research focus are in areas of tropical rain forest ecology and environmental science in the wake of climate change realities. The conservation efforts for this session include working in a sea turtle rookery and assisting with reforestation efforts in Panama.

Field Course Website »

Costa Rica/Panama 2015 Field Course

Thank you to all our participants and partners for another successful field course! To see more about this trip, visit the field course website. We have posted photos and a video of our experiences.

China 2015 Field Course

Our greatest thanks go to all the partners, professors, researchers and participants for all the hard work and dedication to the success of this field course. Visit the field course website to see a photo album from our trip.


CHANCE Recognition

ATAS logoCHANCE would like to recognize one of its partners, ATAS International Inc., for its support and commitment to the environment.

ATAS International, Inc. is a family-owned business with three generations adding their talents to the mix. ATAS was founded in 1963 by Jacobus P. Bus, an immigrant from the Netherlands. Back then, ATAS was a siding and trim company operating out of Jack’s basement. Today, ATAS has manufacturing facilities for metal roofing, wall panels and accessories in three states; over 100 employees; and, a sister company in the metal coating industry.

ATAS looks after the environment by producing less waste, optimizing materials, using energy-efficient equipment and manufacturing sustainable construction products. Its efforts include reusing cardboard boxes for shipments, donating extra product to worthy causes and finding alternative uses for metal that would otherwise be considered scrap. Of course, all unusable metal is recycled. Skids and fiber cores from coils are re-purposed; and scrap wood is donated to the community. Motion sensors and improved lighting have been incorporated into the plants to make the buildings brighter and more energy efficient. In the office, some brochures are printed on FSC-certified Paper. Styrofoam products are not allowed and everything that can be recycled is. ATAS also believes in avoiding printing and wasting paper. It does this by maintaining a quality website (www.atas.com) where customers can access all technical and product information. As a manufacturer of sustainable items—a transpired solar air heating system called InSpire and a building integrated photovoltaic roof called ATA-Solar—ATAS is proud to extend its green consciousness to all levels of operation.

An extension of ATAS direct manufacturing environmental efforts is to support CHANCE. ATAS does this by donating funds so Pennsylvania teachers and Penn State students can partake in CHANCE embedded programs to receive hands-on environmental education in areas around the world where ecosystems are broken. ATAS believes in CHANCE's overall mission that today, more than ever, our educational system needs to create learning environments that allow students to engage in real-world issues that allow them to analyze, create, and implement solutions to face the challenges of our time such as energy, air, food, water quality, and climate change.

ATAS and the Bus family are fortunate to have employees who work together to create a positive work environment, lead business in the area of metal construction, and exemplify environmental stewardship.

Featured Video

Estacion Las Tortugas

CHANCE participants will be working at Estacion Las Tortugas this summer to help protect endangered sea turtles. Estacion Las Tortugas guards 3 kilometers of beach, an area that ranks as the 4th highest nesting site for Leatherback sea turtles in the world. Tortuguas siempre!

Other CHANCE featured videos »

CHANCE Fellows

01 May 2016
Jonathan digging sand to protect turtle nest.

Jonathan Kearney, a 2015 CHANCE Fellow, and Penn State Wildlife and Fisheries Science major has just been awarded the position of Bat Survey Technician at the Sanders Environmental Inc., Bellefonte, PA. Sanders specializes in Indiana bat surveys and mortality monitoring, avian surveys, and wildlife regulation compliance analysis. Presently, Jonathan is active in the Penn State Wildlife Society and Forestry Club while assisting in undergraduate research on maternal stress in Eastern Fence Lizards in the laboratory of Dr. Michael Sheriff, Assistant Professor, Mammalogy and Ecology, College of Agricultural Sciences. EXCELLENT WORK J Man!!

Our Other Fellows »

Resources For Educators

24 May 2016
Launch EnviroAtlas map
Discover your Ecosystem with EnviroAtlas
Looking for an interactive tool to interest your students in data mapping and ecosystems? Introduce them to EPA’s EnviroAtlas. EnviroAtlas can help provide students with the background and context to understand the ecosystems surrounding them. An interactive map provides data on ecosystem services, biodiversity, and demographics. The Eco-Health Relationship Browser demonstrates the links between ecosystems and human health. EnviroAtlas users can access, view, and analyze diverse information to better understand the potential impacts of various decisions.
Find a case study on using EnviroAtlas in the classroom »

20 May 2016
Learn about the EPA/NEEF Water Quality Photo Contest
Have you heard about EPA and the National Environmental Education Foundation's photo contest to raise awareness about water quality across the United States? Submit photos that illustrate ways to prevent water pollution and raise awareness about the health of our waterways. Examples of activities include use of environmentally friendly products, proper disposal of wastes, watershed cleanups, and water quality monitoring of streams, rivers, lakes, and beaches. The photo contest runs through May 27, 2016. Prizes will be awarded for the top three photo entries.
Learn more and enter the challenge. »

22 April 2016
Field with wildflowers

Celebrate Earth Day!
In 1970, San Francisco activist John McConnell and Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson separately asked Americans to join in a grassroots demonstration. McConnell chose the spring equinox (March 21, 1970) and Nelson chose April 22. Millions of people participated, and today Earth Day continues to be widely celebrated with events on both dates.

The most common practice of celebration is to plant new trees for Earth Day. Teachers, here are some additional ideas:

  • The Earth Day Network works with tens of thousands of partners in 192 countries to broaden, diversify and mobilize the environmental movement. More than 1 billion people now participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world.
    For more information »
  • The National Environmental Education Foundation's 12th annual National Environmental Education Week (EE Week), sponsored by Samsung, encourages and celebrates environmental learning through EE events and projects across the country. EE events are led by formal and informal educators from various disciplines and include participants aged 1-100. This year’s theme is “Greening STEM: Rooted in Math.”
    For more information »
  • The National Park Service turns 100 years old in 2016 and they want everyone to join the party! On 16 days in '16, all National Park Service sites that charge an entrance fee will offer free admission to everyone. National Park week is April 16 – 24 and is a great opportunity to visit a new place or an old favorite. The park service also has a number of resources available to educators at all levels, including virtual park visits. For more information »
  • The Old Farmers Almanac is a website that contains weather forecasts, tide tables, planting charts, astronomical data, recipes, and articles on a number of topics, including gardening, sports, astronomy, and farming. The Almanac also features anecdotes, a section that highlights activities for Earth Day 2106!
    For more information »

View All Educator Resources »

Resources For Students

14 May 2106
Society for Conservation Biology (SCB) Career Center
The SCB Career Center includes a number of new career resources in addition to a job board, and offers an improved user experience for the talented jobseekers and top employers in our community.

  • Create an account to track Conservation Biology jobs
  • Upload your resume so our employers can find you!
  • Get improved job alerts when new jobs are posted and more!

Visit SCB Career Center »

01 May 2016
KSTF logoEncouraging New teachers to Apply for a KSTF National Teaching Fellowship
The KSTF Teaching Fellows Program, the Foundation’s signature program, awards exceptional young men and women with five-year, early-career Fellowships, empowering them to become primary agents of educational improvement. These “backbone” teachers reach thousands of students each year, take on leadership roles improving math and science education from the classroom and strengthen the teaching profession.

KSTF Fellowship Benefits:

  • Stipends and funding for professional development and classroom materials
  • Mentoring and coaching from experienced STEM classroom teachers
  • Opportunity to be part of a national community of educators
  • Inspiration and ideas to bring back to the classroom

Eligibility and application details »

22 April 2016
FREE Apps from the National Science Foundation (NSF)

Large satelitte dishes pointing to a starry sky

Science360 app is 360 degrees of amazing science images and video--at your finger tips.
The National Science Foundation's (NSF) Science360 app brings you amazing science and engineering images and video from around the globe and a news feed featuring breaking news from NSF-funded institutions. This app is for tablets.
Learn more »

Science360 Radio app lets you take science with you!
Science360 Radio features 100+ radio shows and podcasts from the U.S. and around the world, delivering the latest news, in-depth interviews, and lively discussions about all things science, technology, engineering and math. Science360 Radio is a part of the National Science Foundation's Science360 network.
Learn more »

View All Student Resources »