Who we are
International Field Studies, Inc. (IFS) is an educational and scientific non-profit organization established to promote and assist educators with field study programs. Established in 1970, IFS grew out of the increasing teacher interest in implementing field study experiences for their students with minimal organizational difficulty and expense. In response to this interest, IFS began by supporting field studies throughout the United States with administrative assistance, financial coordination, group insurance coverage, and transportation. At the time of its incorporation, IFS’s goals were outlined as follows:
“To provide opportunities for students to learn about their environment, in all disciplines, through direct field study experiences; to provide the structure for developing an intensive field study program with competent leadership; to promote educational and scientific activities through direct field experiences; to cooperate with school systems so students may receive academic credit for field studies.”
Today, IFS continues to promote the concept of field studies as an important educational method. These experiential, outside of the classroom learning experiences are successful in almost every discipline, including the natural sciences, creative arts, history, and physical education. IFS believes an interdisciplinary approach to learning is especially well suited to the field studies environment. IFS functions as a facilitator for educational groups seeking expertise and logistical support. Staff members, experienced field instructors, and resource materials are available to assist educators and group leaders with educational development, site planning, and budgeting for a successful comprehensive field program. By working with IFS to develop a proposed field study, teachers are able to offer their students high quality field study opportunities.
The station is named after its founder and builder, Archie Forfar. Archie is best known as a Canadian architect and valiant deep sea diver that broke many diving world records, and was a memorable part of the international diving community. Together Archie, Dick Birch, and local Bahamians built the station by hand with native limestone and Caribbean pine in the 1960's as a dive resort called the Andros Reef Inn. IFS acquired the property in the 1970's and has been running field study experiences there ever since.
Walter "Ben" Bohl, PhD was a co-founder of IFS in 1970. Serving as the Executive Director from 1970-2015, Ben made IFS what it is today. During those 45 years, IFS through Ben's leadership has touched thousands of students, teachers, staff, researchers, and others who shared his vision for interdisciplinary
educational experiences outside of the classroom.
Board of Trustees
Degee Wilhelm, Chair
Jack Hedge, Vice Chair
Bill Somerlot, Secretary
Robert Singletary, Treasurer
Rick Perkins, Past Chair
Charles Shaw Winslow