SEASFiRE@Summer 2018: Sabah, Malaysia

Inver Hills Biology Instructor James Schneider leading July 2018 trip

James Schneider, a biology instructor at Inver Hills Community College, is leading a citizen science trip to Malaysia in July 2018. The program costs $2,000 and runs from Thursday, July 12, till Monday, July 23, 2018, and includes all diving and certifications as set out in the program’s high-level schedule.

The third-annual SEASFiRE@Summer program—now open for registration—features a Reef to Rainforest expedition in Sabah, Malaysia, where you will document and research the wonders of Borneo in the forests and underwater.

As with all SEASFiRE programs, you can learn to scuba dive—or if you are already a certified diver, you will learn and refine your underwater skills while starting to make and document conservation dives. Throughout the program, you will publish regular updates as well as your research outcomes on the SEASFiRE website and to internationally recognized conservation organizations. Review the official SEASFiRE@Summer program brochure to learn more.

The program is split into three distinct phases:
  • Dive/conservation training
  • Rainforest conservation and wildlife expeditions
  • Coral reef conservation

“The SEASFiRE@Summer program is academically based,” James Schneider reported. “Students complete learning modules and can earn two college credits through an independent study project. During the trip, students will also become SCUBA open-water certified or they can improve on their diving skills with specialty dives if already certified.”

James also noted that the SEASFiRE company was co-founded by an Inver Hills alumnus, Christian Ogle, who went on to earn a Master of Science (M.S.) in Education with a focus on biology and evolution from the Teachers College of Columbia University. Christian is a science teacher at The Shanghai American School in Shanghai, China.

Where is Kota Kinabalu, the capital city of Sabah?

Located on the northwest coast of Borneo with stunning views of the South China Sea, Kota Kinabalu has a metropolitan population approaching 630,000. According to Wikipedia, Kota Kinabalu is nicknamed KK both in Malaysia and around the world.

The city is a significant tourist destination and serves as a gateway for travelers visiting Sabah, one of Malaysia’s 13 states, and Borneo, arguably the most beautiful and mysterious island on Earth.

One of the fastest growing cities in Malaysia, a nation with nearly 32 million people, Kota Kinabalu thrives as a major industrial and commercial center in the region.


More about the SEASFiRE@Summer program in Malaysia…

Program costs include:
  • Accommodation on dorm-sharing basis in Kota Kinabalu; up to four people sharing in Bilit Adventure Lodge; Sepilok Jungle Resort is twin-sharing
  • All dive requirements, including training and certification as appropriate
  • All travel within Sabah required by the program
  • All SEASFiRE training materials required for the program
  • Breakfast and lunch in Kota Kinabalu on all days when we visit Gaya Island
  • All meals when traveling in Sabah outside Kota Kinabalu
  • Entry tickets for all centers on the draft schedule
  • Website, support and media requirements, including use of cameras on the surface and underwater
Sepilok Jungle Resort
Sepilok Jungle Resort
If you are interested in going on the July 2018 citizen science trip to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia, on the island of Borneo bordering the South China Sea, you can email, or you can follow the link below to complete a brief online form:

SEASFiRE Online Form

Registration DEADLINE: January 30, 2018.

More about James Schneider…
James Schneider
James Schneider

James Schneider started teaching biology at Inver Hills in 2003. James has also taught biology at Normandale Community College, Saint Paul College and Anoka-Ramsey Community College. He earned certification as a PADI Divemaster, a significant accomplishment in the professional diving community.

James has a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Education from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota and a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Zoology/Animal Biology from St. Cloud State University. During his time at St. Cloud, he studied abroad in Alnwick, England.

James also completed graduate work at Bemidji State University, including graduate biology coursework and grant-funded research through the Clean Lakes Program (EPA). He designed and completed a field study on natural stands of wild rice and invertebrate communities on the White Earth Reservation of the Chippewa Tribe. The research provided information to the tribe to help with diminishing rice production.

To learn more about the SEASFiRE@Summer program, contact:

James Schneider
Biology Faculty

You can also register for the trip by signing the SEASFiRE@Summer program CONFIRMATION FORM and returning the completed form to James Schneider in Heritage Hall 302f.

Registration DEADLINE: January 30, 2018.

To learn more about Biology at Inver Hills, contact:

Heather Brient-Johnson
Biology Faculty

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