• 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

21 June 2017
Mangrove Roots
Intact Mangroves Worth Twice as Much as Rice Paddies
In India's Bhitarkanika mangrove, researchers have made a surprising discovery: locals there can generate almost double the income from protecting the mangrove instead of converting it to rice paddies.
Read Anthropocene article »

13 June 2017
Tigers caged in a zoo at the Kings Romans casino complex in Laos. Tigers caged in a zoo at the Kings Romans casino complex in Laos.
Credit: Adam Dean for The New York Times
Asia’s Illegal Wildlife Trade Makes Tigers a Farm-to-Table Meal
"...farmed tigers now far outnumber total wild populations." This is an eye-opening article.
Read New York Times article »

06 June 2017
Aerial view of ocean and reef
A Call for a Hippocratic Oath on Protecting the World’s Oceans
In a Yale Environment 360 interview, scientist Nathan Bennett explains why he and other marine experts are calling for a a code of conduct for ocean conservation to ensure that local communities benefit from newly created marine reserves.
Read Yale Environment 360 »

06 June 2017
Cover of Marine Policy An Appeal for a Code of Conduct for Marine Conservation
Marine conservation actions are promoted to conserve natural values and support human wellbeing. Yet the quality of governance processes and the social consequences of some marine conservation initiatives have been the subject of critique and even human rights complaints. These types of governance and social issues may jeopardize the legitimacy of, support for and long-term effectiveness of marine conservation.
Read Marine Policy article »

View All Newswire Features »



Field Courses

Tree frog with tadpole
Costa Rica 2017 Field Course
May 19-28, 2017

The Conservation and Sustainability of the Tropical Rainforest with a Field Practicum in Costa Rica program promises both a Course-based Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) in ecology and a Service Learning experience in conservation.

Field Course Website »

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

28 February 2017 JoAnna receiving graduation accolades
CHANCE Fellow Continues Research on Ecosystems and Conservation

CHANCE 2014 Fellow, Victoria Vayer (Torey) is a recent graduate from Penn State majoring in biology. She is currently conducting research through the Penn State Ecosystem Sciences and Management Department, focusing on Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences. Her future plans include pursuing a Masters degree in Wildlife Management and Conservation Biology. Torey's quest is to continue sharing her experiences through educational video production. In her spare time, she is a backpacking leader for Penn State Aurora Orientation Programs. Thank you Torey, for putting so much of your creativity, talent, and time into the video you produced for CHANCE, The Ripple Effect. Tortugas siempre!!

Our Other Fellows »


Resources For Educators

21 June 2017
Botanic Logo Introduction to Citizen Science: Explorations in Educational Settings
This online professional development course provides an overview of citizen science (past, present, and future), highlighting several existing citizen science programs targeted toward formal and informal educators: Project BudBurst, eBird, CoCoRaHS, FrogWatch USA, and Picture Post. Participants explore these five programs, learn how to participate, and design educational activities to engage learners in making observations. Participants select two of the five projects to explore in depth and participate in, as they sketch out a lesson plan for their educational situation.

The online course consists of 5 modules, beginning July 11th and ending August 11th. CPDU’s: 15 (Illinois). Cost: $35. Two (2) graduate, continuing education credits are available through the Colorado School of Mines. This course is offered through the Chicago Botanic Garden.
For more information and to register »

21 June 2017
The Aldo Leopold Foundation Leopold Education Project Workshop
Based on the essays in Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac, the Leopold Education Project is an interdisciplinary environmental education curriculum. Targeted mainly to middle school and high school students, it can also be adapted for use with families, adults, and elementary age children.

Its goal is to create an ecologically literate citizenry by heightening student awareness of the natural world; fine-tuning the skills necessary to read the landscape; and instilling a love, admiration, and respect for the land so that each individual may develop a personal land ethic.

Register for the August 3 workshop »
Register for the September 16 workshop »

01 June 2017
Science in the Classroom logo AAAS Releases New and Improved SitC
As educators and individuals with a vested interest in STEM, you work hard to champion and improve STEM literacy. One of the best ways to introduce students to the process of science is to use primary literature papers.

The problem? These articles are typically intimidating — and not just for the students! How can we make primary literature more accessible?

Science in the Classroom is an expanding collection of specially selected research articles from the Science family of journals that have been carefully annotated for teaching. Annotations fall under different categories, which are viewed using the Learning Lens tool. The Learning Lens makes it possible to control which lenses the readers are looking through while reading the paper, allowing for a variety of different reading and comprehension experiences. All papers are also accompanied by an Educator Guide, and many have data activities — often with data supplied by the authors of the original article.

This freely available resource makes it possible for educators, AP science students and undergraduates alike to read and understand a high-quality research paper, immersing them in the process of science as they go.
Check out the updated Science in the Classroom website »

If you use (or plan to use) the resources in class, please help AAAS gather data about their effectiveness by emailing Melissa McCartney, SitC research coordinator, at mmccartn@fiu.edu.

Want to join the SitC team and become a volunteer annotator?

Learn more »

View All Educator Resources »


Resources For Students

13 June 2017
Smith Fellows Logo
Smith Fellows 2018 Call for Proposals Announced
The Society for Conservation Biology is pleased to solicit applications for the David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellowship Program. These two year postdoctoral fellowships provide support for outstanding early-career scientists of any nationality who want to better link conservation science and theory with policy and management, improving and expanding their research skills while directing their efforts towards conservation problems of pressing concern for the United States.

Fellows will spend up to three weeks per year during their fellowship attending Program-sponsored professional development retreats. These retreats provide opportunities to cultivate skills typically not covered during their academic education including: leadership, communications, professional and funder networks, and to gain better understanding of policy making and application of research.

Fellows are selected on the basis of innovation, potential for leadership and strength of proposal. The deadline for receipt of application materials is 8 September 2017. The Program expects to select five Fellows in January 2018 for appointments to start between March and September 2018. Fellowship awards include an annual salary of $55,000, benefits, and generous travel and research budgets.

For detailed proposal guidelines visit »

06 June 2017
Entries Invited for 4th Annual Yale Environment 360 Video Contest
The fourth annual Yale Environment 360 Video Contest is now accepting entries. The contest honors the year’s best environmental videos. Submissions must focus on an environmental issue or theme, have not been widely viewed online, and be a maximum of 20 minutes in length. Videos that are funded by an organization or company and are primarily about that organization or company are not eligible. The first-place winner will receive $2,000!

Videos should be uploaded at the link below. Deadline for entries is Friday, June 9, 2017.
Submit your files now »

View All Student Resources »