Eco-Exploration: Calder Center Field Methods

July 22-August 1, 2024 Rose Hill

Get ready for a BioBlitz! Through a blend of classroom instruction and hands-on fieldwork at Fordham’s Calder Center Field Station in Armonk, NY, and other sites on and off Fordham's Rose Hill campus, students will develop the skills necessary to conduct research and contribute to the preservation and management of these vital ecosystems. In this program, students will learn how to survey an environment for its ecological diversity. In our inaugural year, the bio blitz will focus on insect and plant diversity.

Course Highlights:

  • Engage in hands-on fieldwork, allowing students to apply their knowledge and skills in real-world settings.
  • Collaborate with peers on research projects, fostering teamwork and problem-solving abilities.
  • Explore tools and equipment used in ecological research.
  • Gain insights into the ethical considerations and responsibilities of environmental scientists.
  • Showcase research findings through data analysis, presentations, and reports.

Overall Takeaways

Benefits and Outcomes for Participants:

  • Develop a strong foundation in environmental science and research methods.
  • Acquire practical skills for conducting research and contributing to the preservation of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.
  • Explore potential career paths in ecology, environmental science, and conservation.
  • Cultivate a deep appreciation for the interconnectedness of the natural world and human activities.

This course equips students with the knowledge and skills needed to become informed stewards of the environment, ready to address the pressing challenges facing aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems in the 21st century.

Instructor Bio

Thomas Daniels

Director of the Lewis Calder Center and co-diretor of the vector ecology lab, Thomas Daniels, Ph.D., is known locally in Westchester County for tracking and publishing data on Pollen and Ticks when it matters most. Dr. Daniels also teaches in the Biology department at Fordham each semester. 

Course Schedule

    • Overview of Calder
    • Biodiversity
    • Anthropocentric crisis
    • Keystone species
    • Field safety
    • Review of methods
    • Plant frames
    • Taking photos and GPS coordinates
    • Data collection system
    • Collecting specimens
    • Trip to the New York Botanical Gardens
    • Old growth forest
    • Beech leaf disease
    • Review identifications, and match photos to saved specimens
    • Herbarium collection; how botanists identify plants
    • Data collections analysis
  • Presentation of group findings

    • Conserving biodiversity
    • BioBlitz introduction-rationale
    • Methods
    • Insects, arachnids and ticks
    • GPS collection of specimens
    • ID your specimens from photos
    • Native plants on campus
    • Invasive plants
    • St. Rose's Garden and sustainability
    • Comparison of campuses
    • Comparison to nature centers
    • Results write up

Course Details

Eco-Exploration: Calder Center Field Methods
July 22-August 1, 2024, 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Rose Hill Campus
Instructor: Thomas Daniels

Course Number: SULA 0190 RP2
CRN: 15872

This non-credit course is open to high school students only.


Residential: $3,665.00
Tuition for the residential program includes the course, course materials, housing, meals and excursions in and outside of class. Move-in for this program is Sunday, July 21, 2024 and move-out is Friday, August 2, 2024 by noon.

Commuter: $2,715.00
Tuition for commuters includes the course, course materials, lunches, and excursions in and outside of class. Additional meals are available on a pay-as-you-go basis.

Students may wish to bring funds for incidentals, shopping at the Fordham Bookstore, and any personal items they wish to purchase.


Application deadlines: course and housing: April 15, 2024; course only; May 1, 2024. Please note that admission decisions are rolling until the class is full, and course caps are around 20 students. We recommend early application.

Application Requirements: this non-credit course is open to high school students who have completed their first year. The course is recommended for those with a 3.0 or better. No prior experience with the subject matter is required.

To apply, you will need a copy of your high school transcript, and your fall report card if the grades are not reflected on your transcript.

If you are applying for housing, a brief letter of recommendation from a guidance counselor, coach, instructor, or supervisor, attesting to your maturity and responsibility as a student is required.

Please make note of the course details above because you will select your course as part of your application.


If you are not ready to apply, you can sign up to stay informed about the Fordham Summer Leaders Academy too, or email us with questions!

It's not too late! Still accepting applications for classes with open seats until May 31!