Internships allow students to explore opportunities in their areas of interest, and there are many available in the Springfield area and beyond. Some example include helping in the emergency rooms of local hospitals, assisting with science classes in local schools, and conducting ecological surveys in local reserves. Some students opt for the Well Patient Volunteer Program with the National Institutes of Health while others choose from a variety of other programs including those at the Newport Aquarium in Cincinnati and the Columbus Zoo.
Wittenberg biology majors have many opportunities to participate in extended field experiences. In these field experiences students may conduct original research.
Summer off-campus experiences:
Comparative Communities Bahamas: This is a four-week course taught during alternate summers at the Gerace Research Center, San Salvador, The Bahamas. Students explore terrestrial and marine environments on daily field trips, and their studies include biology of coral reef systems and other tropical marine communities. All students spend significant time snorkeling; certified SCUBA divers may also choose to dive as part of the program (a scuba certification course is offered at Wittenberg). Students take Comparative Communities in addition to conducting a research project.
Comparative Communities, Northern Forests: This course is taught during the alternate summers in northern forests of the Boundary Waters of Minnesota. Students camp and canoe for two weeks, while studying freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems of the northern latitudes of the United States. In past courses, students have assisted with bird banding and black bear tagging in connection with the U.S. Forest Service and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
Extended field experiences for semester long courses:
Cave Ecology: Students in this course can participate in a 1-credit, four-day field trip to Carter Caves State Park in Kentucky to explore caves, springs, and sinkholes. Students design their own research projects in wild caves that might include counting organisms in a specific area of the cave, surveying microhabitats, comparing fauna and abiotic conditions between two or more caves, or examining graffiti and "trash" collected for subsequent analysis.
Limnology: There are many field trips to allow student groups to assess the freshwater ecosystems of the Mad River watershed. In addition, this course involves an optional 1-credit, five-day field experiences in Hocking Hill, Ohio to study the Scioto watershed. Students perform a watershed analysis for soil, water chemistry, and plant and animal life. The class analyzes its findings and submits a full watershed analysis to Hocking Hills Sate Park. Students then compare biotic and abiotic features of the two very locations.
Marine Biology: Students who take Marine Ecology and the Biology of Marine Invertebrates work with live marine organisms maintained in on-campus aquaria. Students can participate in optional 1-credit 5-day field trips to the Duke Marine Laboratory in which they typically visit two different habits each day, and become familiar with sampling techniques such as trawling, dredging and core sampling. Students in Marine Ecology conduct experiments and collect samples that form the bias of the laboratory exercises for the remainder of the semester. Students in Marine Invertebrates observe and collect organisms that they have learned about in the classroom, and have the opportunity to see them in their natural habitat.
Stream Ecology: This course involves an optional 1-credit, five-day field experience in southwestern Virgina on the divide that determines whether water flows into the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico. Soil samples, water chemistry, vegetation and animal specimens are collected and valley settings. Students conduct independent research projects addressing a variety of aspects of flowing water ecosystems.
Terrestrial Ecology: The Ecology and Mammalian Ecology courses include field work in Ohio and extended labs at the Huron National Forest in northern Michigan. In these field experiences, students measure bio diversity in forest, prairie, and wetland habits, use radio telemetry small animals, and collect GPS data for geographic information system spatial analysis.