Before settling in to your hands-on research and conservation work, spend the first few days orienting yourself to the astounding beauty of Italy’s Amalfi Coast. Upon arrival in Naples, the group has time to get acquainted, then it’s off to a villa-style hotel in the scenic village of Minori. Take in the stunning views of the Tyrrhenian Sea then set out to hike the Valle delle Ferriere, a nature reserve teeming with rocky pathways, clear streams, waterfalls and ruins. Explore the ‘Sentiero degli Dei’ or ‘Walk of the Gods.’ Discover wild gorges and make stops along the way to peer out at the colorful Italian towns and beaches down below. Finally, get ready to laugh and get your hands messy during an Italian cooking class.
Arrive in the historic city of Taranto, home to a research organization and the setting for your introduction to Italy’s dolphins and whales. Climb aboard a catamaran and head into the Gulf of Taranto and Northern Ionian Sea. Here, you learn to use nautical instruments that track dolphins in open water. Practice species identification, record sightings and analyze dolphin behavior. Go on a mind-blowing day trip to the nearby canyon town of Matera and descend into cave dwellings that were home to Italy’s earliest settlers.
Arrive in the rustic, coastal town of Policoro, home to a wildlife refuge and a hot spot for sea turtle conservation. After snorkeling, spend mornings delving into the history of turtles in this region while also performing daily nest walks. Learn turtle monitoring techniques and practice surveys in search of loggerhead turtles. Summer is nesting season, so get ready to wake up early in the morning to search the beach for evidence of new nests. You also have numerous opportunities to engage in hands-on rehabilitation work including tagging and nursing injured turtles. When not working with these beautiful creatures, enjoy paddle boarding and kayaking with your new friends!
For the last phase of the course, return to Naples for reflection activities and your final adventures as a group. Your exam is complete and your final paper is submitted, now you get to kickback and snorkel the island of Capri and explore the labyrinth of Naples famous underground. Come together for a delicious Italian meal and a trip to Pompeii, the ancient city in the shadow of Mt. Vesuvius. Now it is time to take your new knowledge of marine science and think about how you can apply it to your life at home.