Parks and People

Integrated Teaching, Research and Service to Address Complex Global Challenges in a Local, Sub-Saharan Context.

The Parks and People program integrates teaching, research and service across multiple disciplines related to the management of protected areas, community social and economic development, and public education in ecosystem services. The core of Parks and People comprises two Penn State-administered study abroad programs – one in the Wild Coast nature reserves of South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province (led by AESEDA and the Department of Geography) and one in the Eastern Arc Mountains of Tanzania (led by the Department of Landscape Architecture). These programs integrate experiential learning with on-going faculty research and service programs in the parks and the surrounding communities.

For the latest updates from South Africa, check out the program blog here.

Parks and People: South Africa Wild Coast

Parks and People: South Africa integrates an undergraduate study abroad program with on-going faculty research in South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province.  The program is conducted in partnership with the University of Cape Town and the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency.

Watch the Parks and People slideshow PP

  1. Parks and People Concept

    Parks and People is a cooperative Penn State / African partnership that integrates teaching, research and service across the multiple disciplines relevant to the management of protected areas, the economic development of communities surrounding or located within those areas, and...
  2. Why the Wild Coast?

    The Eastern Cape is characterized by sharp gradients in biophysical and human systems, making it a key location for identifying and studying the sensitivity of coupled socio-ecological systems to rapid change.  Currently, social systems in the Eastern Cape region reflect...
  3. Dwesa-Cwebe

    Dwesa-Cwebe is a coastal nature reserve and marine protected area in South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province, about half way between East London and Port St. Johns.  The Reserve is divided by the Mbashe River.  Cwebe lies to the east of...
  4. Academic Program

    This is a ten-week program based primarily in Dwesa-Cwebe, a nature reserve in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa.  A cohort of 15-20 Penn State students, faculty and staff live and study in the Reserve for the length of...