This summer, 18 Hendrix students traveled to Belize, where they saw ecology in action. The students were enrolled in Dr. Jenn Dearolf's marine biology course. In addition to their hands-on research, students got a glimpse of history by exploring Mayan culture sites.

This summer, eighteen Hendrix students explored the marine environment in Belize as part of a marine biology taught by Dr. Jenn Dearolf.


So in the marine biology class we’ve studied coral reefs and spent a lot of time studying the organisms that they would see on the coral reefs. It's very difficult to expose students here to the marine environment. We study things here at Hendrix, but then we need to get out into the marine environment and actually see it and so we went down to Belize to do that


It was really good because we spent a lot of time in lab looking at specimens and learning about the ecology of the things. We got to go out there and see these things in action. We talked about mangroves and all the organisms and what they do and how they interact with each other. We got to go out and see mangroves. We got to see the different levels and what organisms are there with the baby fish and the big fish. It was really cool.


There's a lot have culture there – specifically the Mayan culture – and I thought it was important for students not only to study in a marine environment, which of course was what the marine biology course was all about, but since we had such a great opportunity to be exposed to the Mayan culture, why not add that Global Awareness aspect to the trip?


It was really cool to see the history of the area, because we went there to see the ecology of the fish in the marine environment, but it was neat to see the history and the Mayans and what had been there. It was something that I would have never been able to do had I not taken its course