Program Details

Location: Delhi, India

Dates: Spring 2020: April 8–May 22, 2020

Accommodations:  Primarily camping, occasional youth hostel or rural lodge

Credits: 15 quarter credits or 10 semester credits

Language: English instruction

Courses: ESCI 437A, ESCI 437B, ESCI 437C

Prerequisites: One college level course of ecology or similar,
18 years of age

Program Costs

Indian Himalaya Spring 2020
$      150    Application Fee
$   5,500    Program Fee
$   3,000    Estimated In-Country Group Fee
$   1,600    Estimated Airfare
$   500    Estimated Food Money/Personal Spending

$10,800    Total Estimated Cost
Spring 2020: Program fees due by February 1, 2020


The Program

The slopes of the Himalaya form a rich landscape of forests, river valleys, mountain villages, alpine meadows and lakes.
Our destinations include some of the most ecologically and culturally fascinating parts of the Himalaya, where tropical, temperate, and alpine landscapes remain relatively intact.

Working in a stunning range of mountain habitats, team members will help to assess the ecology and culture of a region that has been identified as a global center of biological diversity. We will also evaluate efforts that are currently in progress to balance wildland habitat conservation with the needs of local subsistence farmers who have inhabited this region for centuries. In the Himalayan backcountry, we will examine linkages among the indigenous local subsistence culture, wild plants and animals, ecological processes, and key external pressures, including economic development, agricultural intensification, and conservation policies. And while lectures will provide insight, we will also meet with local resource specialists and survey diverse habitats in an effort to give team members a thorough understanding of the Himalayan geography and ecology.

Adapted to a spatially complex and challenging environment, the people of the Himalaya face life with a spirit refined by centuries of self-reliance. Despite limited access to goods and services, they retain a deep cultural heritage and a finely-honed sense of place. Participants will become closely acquainted with the people of the mountain regions, their subsistence lifestyles, and social customs. We will try to understand their perspectives on conservation, how they interact with wildlife, and their patterns of natural resource use. Significant effort will be given to instruction and field work to learn various survey methods, investigate local natural history, interview villagers, and collect scientific information in an effort to understand how the region might be managed with ecological and cultural sensitivity. Our time spent in their company will provide some of the richest, most enlightening moments of the program.

Nearly every day of the program we’ll explore the Himalayan landscapes on foot; nearly every night we’ll camp in tents. We believe that the observation skills you develop in the Himalaya will be useful worldwide and in all aspects of life. Expect to observe and learn how climate affects the architecture of a forest, and how plants and animals adapt to different elevations. You will not be limited to the content in the syllabus. Opportunities also exist to explore topics such as medicinal plant use, agricultural ecology, human-wildlife interactions, and mountain spirituality. By the end of the project each of us will have gained direct experience conducting field studies in a magnificent part of Asia, and a new appreciation for the lives of indigenous mountain peoples of the Himalayas.

Program Photo Gallery


More Details






Charles Chris Carpenter



Chris is a conservation scientist who has conducted field studies and led natural history expeditions in Asia for over twenty years. His main academic focus is the ecology and geodynamics of mountain environments. He is also interested in the marine world, environmental control of species richness and strategies for habitat conservation. He lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and teaches part of the year at Payap University. Chris has been teaching with Wildlands Studies since 1990 and has taught in China, India and Southeast Asia. He currently leads our Thailand, Nepal and Indian Himalaya programs.