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Magnetic Island Coral Reef Field Guide

Staff & Student Testimonials

Student Group at Lizard Island

A student group explores the Lizard Island Lagoon.

Dr Andy Lewis and Tevene'i Marine staff have been running reef ecology education programs on the Great Barrier Reef since 1996, and they now have hundreds of satisfied students! Here are some of the things that past participants have had to say about their experiences in Australia.

The Environmental Management of Tropical Reef & Island Ecosystems class was so amazing for me…I learned more, saw more, and experienced more than I ever would have anticipated.  The hands on structure of the class allowed me to learn more in one month than I could have in a semester, had I just been sitting in a classroom.  My only regret is that the class wasn't longer!  The location of the class is breathtaking.  Magnetic Island has many beaches, reefs, and crystal clear waters.  It is a relaxed environment, making it easier to concentrate on the course...and have fun!  Also, this class involved travelling, which made the whole experience that much more fantastic.

 The instructor, Dr. Andy Lewis, is an amazing teacher.  He is committed to his work and he makes learning exciting.   He is easy-going and fun, and he cares for his students.  Andy went to great lengths to be sure that all the members of the class were comfortable and enjoying their experience.

 I would suggest that anyone who takes this course should spend extra time travelling afterward.  If you wish to contact me, please ask Andy for my contact info, I would love to tell you more!

Jill Sorgi, Michigan, July 2002.

The Environmental Management of Tropical Reef and Island Ecosystems program provided me with an awesome opportunity to explore the ocean, swim with the fishes and marvel at the amazing corals . . . EVERY DAY! Dr. Lewis practically had to pull my snorkel buddy and I from the water each time we went out because we were so fascinated by everything! Magnetic and Orpheus Islands were spectacular - beautiful beaches, dramatic terrestrial landscapes, perfect weather and stunning sunsets every evening! Next step . . . to get back as soon as possible! I would recommend this class to anyone looking for a study abroad experience, a field course or just lots of fun? This is is the one. Have a fantastic time! If you have any questions, I'd be more than happy to share my experience with you!

Rachel Gramith, Minnesota, July 2002.

When I went out looking for my ideal study abroad experience, I researched and studied all of my possibilities and opportunities to no end.  I tried to prioritize what facets were most important- location, subject matter, price… but most of all I was looking for an experience of a lifetime that would challenge everything I know of myself and the world.   Finally when the Environmental Management of Tropical Reef and Island Ecosystems program jumped out at me, I dove headfirst into the opportunity to live on a tropical island and study nature above and below the water.  Everything I had ever expected was met and exceeded by this program.  I honestly do not believe that I could have experienced the knowledge of nature, culture, and self that I found in 6 weeks, travelling to different cities and islands, anywhere else in the world.  Now that it is over and done, and people ask me, How was Australia? or What was it like? I close my eyes and see and smell the Coral Sea, and answer, "It was amazing", fully knowing that no words can describe what this trip did to me.

Geoff Gorski, Michigan, July 2002.

Dear Andy,

Occasionally, I find myself drifting off, dreaming of Watson's Bay and snorkeling over the GBR! What a wonderful experience all of us had with you. I can't thank you enough for your professionalism, motivation and enthusiasm. You're just too cool, mate!

When I get to my chapter on biodiversity I will be contacting you for some insight. I trust that we can remain pen-pals, since you are a bundle of knowledge and a pleasure to work with!

Professor Jacqueline Mclaughlin, Penn State University, July 2001.

Just a short reflection on our trip to Australia. First of all, it was a VERY successful trip! It was well organized by Andy Lewis, who is an excellent professional teacher and guide and a very nice person, easy to work with. The program was very well planned for the whole two weeks. On the islands, the experience on the reefs were awesome! On Lizard the hands-on experience and lectures were well balanced, and Andy did a great job. The other group on Orpheus also had a great experience. They hailed the guides on Orpheus.

The rain forest experience was also very good. The guides were very professional, hospitable and helpful, and the accommodation was very good. The food was plentiful and delicious. The wet rain forest had a unique beauty. The last two days in Undara and Cairns were a perfect way to conclude the trip. The lava tubes of Undara were spectacular, the accommodation and food was good and the sunset hike and the bush breakfast were memorable. Guides were excellent, the Australian people are very friendly and hospitable. The accommodations in the Tuna Tower hotel was excellent. All in all it was a very successful trip enjoyed by ALL.

Fr. Maurus Nemeth, Woodside Priory School, 2001.

The trip was GREAT!!!!!! I enjoyed every aspect of the trip and learned sooooooooo much. Andy and Mike were great as were Con and Ant. With everything we saw, I feel that we saw the best of both land and sea. In fact, I was ready to go to the island for a couple of days after the rainforest. Of course I knew that I couldn't, but that should let you know that I really enjoyed it!!!!!!

Elise Aitkens, 2001.

Australia was wonderful. I still marvel at how smoothly things go with all of the coordination that must take place. Team leaders on Lizard Island and Daintree were great. All of our flights were on time and went off without a hitch.

Bill Moyer, 2001

Andy, I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed taking this class, it was as wonderful as I expected and then oh so much more! I truly learned so much from the course and it was great to see how much you love the reef and your job. This month in Australia was definitely an experience I'll never forget, and I can't wait to tell all the other students at school that they must come! Thanks for everything!!

Kristin Painter, Clemson SC, 2004.

The experiences that I had while enrolled in the Environmental Management of Tropical Reef and Island Ecosystems course will stay with me for a lifetime. The students I met and lived with were so dynamic. Dr. Lewis not only taught us about the many types of corals and marine life, but he also added some cultural topics into the class. Both Magnetic and Lizard Island were amazing. The month I spent living on the two islands is something I will remember forever. Now I just have to get back there! To any students that are thinking about studying abroad, I suggest you do. The experiences you will have, and the aspect of leaning you will gain, will be better than any classroom setting or textbook can provide.

Michael Albee, RIT NY, 2005.

As a Biology major, it is difficult to study abroad for an entire semester. I have wanted to study abroad in Australia for as long as I can remember. The EMTRIE program made it possible, as it was only about a month long during the summer. I wish I could have spent an entire semester there though! What an experience! Andy is a great professor, both as a teacher and as a friend. Sure, he taught us the essentials of the GBR, snorkeling, and of Australia. However, he goes 1000 times beyond that, as he actually cares about the students' experiences. Also, it was
great to be so close to the other students, even though none of us knew each other before the program started. I made valuable friendships and have a ton of unforgettable memories
that I would not trade for anything.

My time in Australia taught me more than I can fathom. It even pushed me to look further into some of the issues we covered. Also, it may even push me enough to attend graduate school for Marine Biology! My advice to anyone who is looking for a truly once-in-a-lifetime study abroad program in Australia, you'd be passing up an unforgettable experience not to enroll in the EMTRIE program.

Meg Kolupski, John Carroll Uni, OH, 2005.

Words can not describe the beauty that you will get to experience if you take part in this program. Both Lizard and Magnetic Island have a left a visual imprint on my memory for the rest of my life, and continue to give me motivation to work for aquatic environments worldwide. Dr Andy Lewis is extremely knowledgable on any topic in the area, and becomes a close friend in the short four weeks you are there. Not only instructing us on tropical biology, Andy gave us invaluable insight to local culture, such as drumming jam sessions and yoga. Together as a class, we became like family while I was taking the course, and I can only hope for a return visit! If you have the chance to take the EMTRIE class, I guarantee it will be an experience you will never regret!

Vanessa Finch, UIUC IL, 2005.