Adjunct biology instructor Judy Goulet inspects plants in a greenhouse at Colorado Mountain College's Alpine Campus. Goulet and assistant biology professor Shawn Sigstedt hope to lead a dozen community members and students on an expedition to the Galápagos Islands in May.

Photo by Zach Fridell

Adjunct biology instructor Judy Goulet inspects plants in a greenhouse at Colorado Mountain College's Alpine Campus. Goulet and assistant biology professor Shawn Sigstedt hope to lead a dozen community members and students on an expedition to the Galápagos Islands in May.

Following Darwin's footsteps

CMC instructors plan an expedition to Galápagos Islands

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Anyone interested in CMC's trip to the Galápagos Islands must sign up soon - the deadline for placing a deposit is Friday. Information and sign-up forms are available at front desk in Bristol Hall at the campus on Bob Adams Drive.

Community members and students will be able to bond with tortoises and other wildlife on the Galápagos Islands in an expedition set up by two professors at Colorado Mountain College's Alpine Campus.

Assistant biology professor Shawn Sigstedt and adjunct biology instructor Judy Goulet are looking for a dozen people to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin's landmark writing, "On the Origin of Species," a treatise on evolution that was researched in the Galápagos.

Goulet said she wanted to give the students a chance to travel to the Galápagos to see how biology can be an active, participatory study.

"It's a long expedition for them, and when you're teaching biology, you want students to see that it can be fun," she said. "When students think of biology, they think of being in a lab."

The group will travel with National Geographic Expeditions on and around the Galápagos Islands, near the South American coast of Ecuador, and learn from local naturalists as they disembark on several different islands.

"This is top-of-the-line," Goulet said. "It will be a lot of observation, not just touring. It's a class."

Students will have nightly quizzes and be expected to present reports on what they observe during their seven days of travel.

"We want to observe how (the plants and animals) play in the ecosystems," Goulet said.

The group will stay aboard the yacht and even though they will be learning, Goulet said, the group also will have time to kayak, snorkel and skin dive.

The trip will take place from May 8 to 18, 2009, and cost an estimated $7,477, plus tuition to CMC. In-district tuition will be $180. A $600 deposit must be turned in by Friday in order to secure a seat on the yacht.

A dozen participants are needed to make the program work. Members of the public and students at all of the CMC campuses are invited to sign up.

A trip like this usually would take more than a year to plan, said Anita "AJ" Janis, assistant campus dean of instruction.

"This year, we weren't sure if we could pull it off," she said, attributing the fast organization to Goulet and Sigstedt.

"They were so intent on making this opportunity available," she said. "We're fired up."

- To reach Zach Fridell, call 871-4208 or e-mail zfridell@steamboatpilot.com

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