Interdisciplinary Water Resources Study Abroad in the Tropical Andes

Authors: Courtney Cooper*, University of Idaho
Topics: Global Change, Water Resources and Hydrology, South America
Keywords: short-term study abroad, education, climate change, governance, mountains
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 5:20 PM / 7:00 PM
Room: Regent, Marriott, River Tower Elevators, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Projections of future water shortages within populated areas of the tropical Andes grow more critical with every year. Shortages, complicated by the rapid pace of water-intensive economic development, influence communities dependent on mountain resources. While the dramatic loss of glacial ice suggests climatic changes at higher elevations, cues within lower elevation communities remain less obvious. Experiencing climate change issues in the tropical Andes firsthand provides students with a stronger ability to conceptualize the connection between changing mountain resources and social-ecological resilience. Appalachian State University (ASU) facilitates a short-term study abroad program in the Cordillera Vilcanota mountain range in Peru. The study abroad course allows students to develop the scientific background and skills necessary for understanding elements of global climate change and mountain geography. The course has a longstanding reputation within local communities as well. During the summer of 2018, a study abroad group from the University of Idaho will join ASU students. The Idaho group will study connections between local communities and changes to water resources governance. The course builds upon interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research ideas and will help to strengthen student understanding of connections between science and governance. This presentation elaborates on details about ASU study abroad activities and presents a conceptual model for the University of Idaho course planned for the summer of 2018. The conceptual model is intended to provide an adaptable and transferable framework for similar courses in water resources governance.

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