school of environmental studies

Field Studies


Field Studies are a great example of what SES believes is our school without walls. They are academic excursions around the planet and are intended to immerse students in new climates, cultures and environmental issues. These are not “trips”, but rigorous academic classes that provide hands-on learning and physically challenging opportunities for students. Spaces are limited for each Field Study and paid for by students.

These courses are offered as a short elective near the end of each trimester. Field studies run from 7-13 days. These courses provide one elective credit that can be applied toward graduation. Field Studies may count as a gym credit with prior approval.

Alaska Field Study – Spring

The Alaska Field Study focuses on the cultural and natural history of the state. Through readings, museums, speakers, activities, travel the students will gain a better understanding of the Alaskan people, history, and ecology. We concentrate our travel on three distinct geographic areas: the Kenai Peninsula, Anchorage, and Matanuska-Susitna Valley.

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Australia Field Study

The Australia Field Study focuses on the wildlife, environmental issues, and history. Through activities, exploration, readings, and travel, the students will gain a better understanding of the Australian people, history, and wildlife. We concentrate our travel on two distinct geographic areas: the southern part of the country, where we explore either Melbourne or Tasmania, and the north, where we explore the Great Barrier Reef.

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Costa Rica Field Study – Winter

The rainforest of Costa Rica, one of the most biologically diverse places on earth. Students will learn ways in which Costa Rica has become one of the most “green” and “happiest” countries in the world through interactions with many Costa Ricans, including a trained naturalist guide.

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Costa Rica Leadership Exchange – Summer

This summer field study gives SES students the opportunity to participate in a leadership exchange and cultural immersion with high school…

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Florida Field Study

This Field Study provides students with an opportunity to explore the diverse ecosystems of South Florida, from Everglades National Park to the coral reefs of the keys. Our exploration takes us from the freshwater swamps to the majestic coral reefs of the Florida coast.

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Iceland is an every other year study opposite our field study in Scotland. Be sure to plan you two years carefully…

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Perú Field Study

Students will have the opportunity to explore a small portion of Perú, an incredibly diverse country with a complex history. Students will travel in the footsteps of the Incas, spending time in both the Andes mountains and the Amazon River Basin.

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Roatan Field Study

The second largest barrier is a great place to learn to SCUBA dive and explore the world of Marine Biology. This Field Study provides students with an opportunity to immerse themselves in a biological and cultural study of a small island community on the Island of Roatan. While studying and exploring the coral reef ecosystem students will become certified Scuba divers. In addition they will study and interact with people who call this island home.

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Scotland Field Study

The Scotland Field Study explores the cultural and natural history of the Scottish landscape. Through readings, hiking, biking, museums, speakers, activities, and travel the students will gain a better understanding of the Scottish people, history, and ecology. Students are required to participate in all academic activities, keep a detailed journal and participate in group travel.

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Smoky Mountains

What does it mean to be southern? How is the ecology of the Appalachian Mountains similar to Minnesota? What can we learn about ourselves through our nation’s history in the Civil War? We explore these questions and more as we travel and hike the region surrounding the southern tip of the Appalachian range, called the Smoky Mountains. Join us as we hike sections of the historic Appalachian Trail, visit famous Civil War battle fields such as Chickamauga and Lookout mountain and talk to locals the figure out what it means to be southern. This field study is offered every other year on even number years.

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South Africa Field Study

Students will explore the amazing wildlife, complex history and diverse cultures of South Africa. We will go on safaris to hunt with our cameras for the “Big Five” (lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants & Cape Buffalo), traveling with a South African teacher who is a trained naturalist guide.

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Superior Hiking Trail

The Superior Hiking Trail field study is a backpacking adventure that takes in mid-May during Intensive Theme 3. An affordable, Minnesota experience, students need only have a sturdy pair of hiking boots and a willing attitude. Tents, backpacks and mess gear are provided by SES

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Winter Expedition

Travel under your own power and sleep in a shelter that you built while exploring the wilderness of the BWCAW in…

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