Academic Courses & Education

Field Courses

Visit the Sites & Boats page for additional information on the facilities and means of transport available for academic groups and courses. We deliberately avoid scheduling overlapping groups whenever possible, so that your group has full and unencumbered use of the facilities. 

The Project Amazonas field sites have become popular locations for hands-on tropical biology courses at all levels, including elementary, middle school, high school, collegiate courses, graduate courses and teacher continuing-education courses. Our groups have ranged from 4 to 25 students plus teachers/staff/chaperones. 

We focus on making the logistics and planning as painless as possible, recognizing that such life-changing trips can be a big challenge for already over-worked teachers and administrators. 

As such, we are happy to arrange all in-country logistics (including Peruvian Highlands add-on's to Machu Picchu, Cusco, etc., if desired), lodging and meals so that once we pick you up at the Iquitos airport, you don't have to attend to any of those details. 

Each course has its own objectives as determined by the educational institution, but all invariably include a lot of hands-on field time (otherwise why bother traveling to the Amazon?). Generally a full day is required for travel from most locations in  the USA to Iquitos and vice-versa, so we recommend planning for a 10-14 day expedition for most groups. A week trip is simply too short.

Opportunities and activities that we can provide for groups include:

  • exploration of markets and historic sites in Iquitos

  • orientation upon arrival at field stations, including staff introductions, safety and health precautions, trail layout, facilities, schedule and Q&A

  • short lectures on topics of interest (as identified by the course leaders/teachers)

  • day and night-time excursions on foot to explore trail systems. 

  • day and night-time excursions by small boat to explore rivers, flooded forest, and floodplain lakes. Two species of river dolphin are often observed during these excursions, and yes, you can go swimming with them, though they won't approach closely

  • advice and assistance in designing and carrying out appropriate short-term research projects that focus on ecology, biodiversity, adaptations, and behavior of a wide variety of organisms and/or human use of rainforest resources

  • exploration of small towns and campesino and indigenous communities near our field stations, including handicraft trading opportunities, garden visits, and visits with cultural leaders and traditional healers. Such visits often include a soccer game with the local community

  • visitation to sites of special interest such as the Manatee Rescue Center (Iquitos), artisans market (Iquitos), and the Monkey Island rescue and rehabilitation center (on the way to either of our field stations)

  • leisure time fishing, kayaking, swimming, card games and movies, including the ever popular Anaconda

  • inclusion of a service element to benefit the environment and/or local communities and schools (most groups are emphatic about including this)

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Planning & Logistics

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  1. E-mail us regarding the possibility of bringing a course to the Peruvian Amazon. If you can include approximate dates and number of participants, that is always helpful. The further in advance that we coordinate, the better, particularly if you want to include a visit to the Peruvian Highlands. 

  2. We will work with you to establish dates that work with everyone's schedule, and will also develop a rough budget that varies with the number of participants. We recognize that it is often impossible to predict how many students will sign up for a field course opportunity. 

  3. We have extensive planning materials that we are happy to send you as you start to plan a trip. This includes trip preparation suggestions, logistics information for purchasing flights, getting to Peru and navigating airports, an emergency response manual, contact information for key personnel and entities, digital field guides and more..

  4. Once your institution gives you the green light, we will finalize the budget and trip schedule, make any necessary hotel reservations, and remain in regular contact. 

  5. We are always happy to provide references from past groups (see Service Groups for a list of organizations and institutions we have worked with). 

  6. Let us know about any dietary needs or requests that participants might have. We will do our best to accommodate, and can readily accommodate lacto-ovo vegetarians and pescatarians, as well as participants with specific food allergies. 

  7. We are flexible.  Adding or losing a participant at the last minute? No problem. Flight change or delay? No problem. We have years of experience and can take it in stride. 

 

Rural School Support

Rural schools in Amazonia face many challenges. Most of them are simple concrete or wood structures with limited or no plumbing and electricity. Many have teachers who are from larger cities and who are not comfortable in rural settings where they are deprived of the comforts of home. The teachers play hooky more than the students do.

Students and their families often have difficult acquiring basic school supplies, either for lack of money, or lack of access. A donation of the most basic of supplies - pens, pencils, notebooks, paper, chalk - can mean a big difference to both student and teachers. 

We encourage all groups to include some school supplies in their luggage when they come to the Amazon. Many of our groups also have service projects related to schools, whether that is refurbishing and painting concrete chalkboards, building or repairing school furniture, or helping build a school kitchen. 

Volunteers can also make a big difference to school-children by serving as mentors and tutors in the sciences, or by teaching language and creative writing and thinking. Parents of most rural students never had much education themselves, and there is no culture of parents helping their children with homework. 

One-time or recurring support for a rural school incentivizes both students and teachers

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