Summer and International Programs

Island Ecology Program

Applications are due by November 28, 2019 

Apply on-line here:  

The Island Ecology Program is an interdisciplinary summer field school. Following a seminar during the spring semester (Environmental Studies 140, a half course), students study geology, hydrology, soils, plant communities, land use, coastal marine biology, invertebrate zoology, vertebrate ecology and animal behavior for five weeks on St. Catherines Island, a barrier island off the coast of Georgia. The experience emphasizes the interdependence of these disciplines by exploring how the island ecosystem functions.

Island Ecology Program alligator in handNow in its 35th year, the Island Ecology Program has inspired generations of Sewanee students. It provides the unique opportunity to live and work on St. Catherines, one of the largest undeveloped islands on the Atlantic coast of the United States. The program involves faculty from multiple departments at Sewanee and outside experts with long experience on St. Catherines.

Further information about St. Catherines Island can be found here.  A short video about the island ecology program can be found here. The Island Ecology Program was recently reviewed in the Sewanee Magazine (Island Ecology Article).

The summer field school (Environmental Science 240, two full courses) counts in the General Education requirements (as a G5E course) and as a laboratory science toward the B.S. degree. The program also counts as an upper level elective course for Biology, Forestry, Environment and Sustainability, and Natural Resources majors, and in the Watershed Certificate. The program is open to students from all academic majors and interests, and successful participants have included majors in subjects as diverse as philosophy, theater, chemistry, and political science. Costs are similar to other summer school programs and need-based financial aid is available. An information session about the program is held in early November. Applications are due before Thanksgiving, and spaces in the program are offered and assigned before the winter break. The program is not open to graduating seniors.

Program founder Timothy Keith-Lucas retired in 2011 after 25 years as Director of the Island Ecology Program. Founding faculty member Bran Potter retired from the IEP in 2018 after 32 years of teaching in the program.

For more information, contact the Island Ecology Program faculty:

  • Ken Smith, Program Co-Director, Department of Earth and Environmental Systems
  • Kirk Zigler, Program Co-Director, Department of Biology
  • Kristen Cecala, Department of Biology (on sabbatical this year)
  • Eric Keen, Department of Biology, Department of Earth and Environmental Systems

For more information about IEP, please see this document.

Our current students who participated in the program:

Hale Barrett, Courtney Boucher, Catherine Bratton, Valeria Bridgewater, Peter Ceren, Henry Fisher, Madison Freedy, Sophia Harnew-Spradley, Cole Johnson, Wilder McCoy, Reed Middendorf, Vanessa Moss, Lam Ngo, Lindsey Sikorski, Youjin Song, Tori Beth Surratt, Levi Trumbore, Rollins Turner, Leslie Vargas, Lisa Vulpas, Ames Williford, Julia Wren, and Emma Zeitler.