July 23 – August 7, 2023


Cole Gilbert
The former Hays & James M. Clark Director of Undergraduate
Studies in Entomology & Professor of Entomology

Linda Rayor
Senior Lecturer, Entomology and Host of
Monster Bug Wars (Science Discovery Channel)

Call to register: 800-333-1240

Experience the wonders of the rainforest with Cornell scientists

  • This 11-day study tour open to ages 15+ takes you deep into the island’s parks and wildlife preserves, areas that seem untouched by humans or technology. Download the brochure for full itinerary, tour details, and terms.

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    Education vacation

    Experience wildly beautiful landscapes populated by a profusion of animal and bird species in one of the most ecologically diverse countries in the world: Borneo, the world's third-largest island and home to the most ancient rainforests on Earth.

  • Once in a lifetime experience

    “200% satisfied. [Linda and Cole] were both terrific! Quick to pick up on and adapt to every individual interest and background. I think everybody got exactly the content, context, and level that they needed and wanted.”

    —Mel Siegel ’62, Professor Emeritus Carnegie Mellon University, Borneo 2022 participant

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    Conservation in action

    A portion of the proceeds from this trip will be donated by our travel partner, Distant Horizons, to the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Center, which you will visit on Day 10.

Travel with Ivy League faculty

  • Cole Gilbert is the former Hays & James M. Clark Director of Undergraduate Studies in Entomology and a Professor of Entomology. He has received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and has been recognized for his teaching with awards from Cornell and the Entomology Society of America. Cole is interested in all manner of biology and has taught courses in neural mechanisms of behavior, comparative physiology, evolution and biodiversity, and entomology. He regularly gives field workshops for New York State Master Naturalists. Students on ratemyprofessors.com hail Cole as “one of the best professors at Cornell.”

  • Linda Rayor is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Entomology and Host of the popular Monster Bug Wars series on the Discovery Science channel, now available on YouTube. Linda specializes in spider behavior and science outreach and has won numerous teaching awards for her courses on spider biology, insect behavior, and effective scientific outreach, including a career teaching award from the hemispheric Animal Behavior Society. Linda also directs a large K-12 science outreach program that emphasizes backyard biology and natural history in Central New York.

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    "Linda and Cole made the trip unique. They were knowledgeable and engaging in both the field and lectures discussed the animals that we saw as we encountered them. I also enjoyed experiencing all of this with others who have a connection to Cornell and made some new friends."

    —Cindy Goral MS '85, CAU Borneo 2022 participant

    (Photo by Linda Rayor)

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    "Linda is known as a talented, dynamic, inspiring teacher who draws in students with her style and then gives them an innovative and experiential course."

    —The Animal Behavior Society

    (Photo by Linda Rayor)

Learn on location: the lectures

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    Wallace's Line and Indo-Malayan Biogeography

    From his travels in the Indo-Malayan region, Alfred Russel Wallace independently developed an idea of evolution by natural selection and was the co-author with Charles Darwin on the first scientific paper on the origin of species. He went on to become the first to describe the distributions of animals and plants in different parts of the world that we now call Biogeographic regions.

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    Primates of Borneo: Conservation and Social Systems

    Borneo’s primates range from orangutans, the endemic proboscis monkeys, langurs, and large troops of macaque monkeys—all of which will be seen frequently on this tour. This lecture will help you understand how primate diets and biology help structure their social organizations, how to ‘read’ primate facial expressions and dominance interactions, and their conservation issues.

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    Structure of the Forest

    Tropical rain forests, whether in Amazonia, the Congo Basin, or Australasia are much richer in biodiversity than the forests of the temperate zone with which we are more familiar. However, it’s not just a difference in the number of species, but the rain forest has a different ecological structure, ranging from lack of seasonality, almost no soil, unique leaf morphology, and other fascinating adaptations. You will notice the difference as we take our daily excursions.

  • Gliding Animals of Borneo

    The forests of Southeast Asia, and Borneo in particular, are home to more creatures that glide from trees than any other region of the world. We will see some of them, such as giant “flying” squirrels and Draco lizards. But there are other gliding mammals, such as colugos, “flying” snakes, and Wallace’s flying frog that sail through the treetops. We will discuss how these creatures have evolved to “fly” and propose some hypotheses for why the forests we visit have such a diversity and abundance of gliders.

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    Asian Hornbills: Farmers of the Forest

    The eight species of Bornean hornbills are big, beautiful birds with dramatic structures on their large beaks which we will encounter daily. These birds are of great importance to Borneo and serve as indicators of the health and vitality of their surrounding forest. Hornbills are critically important keystone species due to their specialized ability to disperse seeds from rainforest canopy trees. Conservation of hornbills translates into protection for many other animals and forests. In honor of its significance, the national bird of Malaysian Borneo is the rhinoceros hornbill.

Travel with energy and knowledge

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    “Great teachers inspire their students. I have been inspired. The course couldn't be more interesting, comprehensive, and unique. She enjoys the topic matter and makes each of her students enjoy it just as much. Thank you Dr. Rayor.”

    —Cornell student review on ratemyprofessors.com

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    “Prof. Gilbert was great! He showed genuine interest in our understanding the subject. Oh, and sometimes he'd randomly run around to make a point. Cool guy!”

    —Cornell student review on ratemyprofessors.com

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    “The group was engaging and lively and crackling with intellectual energy. And boy, did we laugh. Linda and Cole are just fantastic, and we had a blast.”

    —Julie Plotkin, ILR MPS-NYC ’04, Borneo 2022 participant

Travel farther with Cornell alumni, family, friends, and faculty

Another way to travel with Cornell

  • October 27 - November 10, 2023
    Offered in partnership with Odysseys Unlimited 888-370-6765
    Exclusive to Cornell.
    (does not include faculty)

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