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Programs : Brochure

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  • Locations: Lima, Peru; Puerto Maldonado, Peru
  • Program Terms: Jan Term
  • Homepage: Click to visit
  • Restrictions: McDaniel applicants only
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Program Description:

The Forest Online (2017-18) Info Session is March 1st in Hall Hall 110, 4pm
 Priority Registration Period is March 1st – April 1st
You must email Dr. Scullion for an interview by March 10th.

If you're interested in applying to this program, you must first email and be interviewed by Dr. Scullion.  To arrange an interview, email Dr. Scullion ( a statement of approximately 100 words, explaining (a) why you want to participate and (b) what you want to bring to the team?  Once you have been approved by Dr. Scullion, you will be given access to the online application.

Forest online group pic 


Boat ManThis year-long course explores the diversity of people and nature through the lens of the Amazon rainforest. In this second iteration of the Forest Online, we visit the rainforest of Peru’s Las Piedras watershed to understand the changes taking place and to gather stories about the region’s people, cultures, and forests. Along the way, we will meet farmers, conservationists, scientists, young leaders, and indigenous people. The culmination of our travels and research is a collaboration with local and international organizations to design and launch a media project.

The Forest Online is a unique interdisciplinary course of McDaniel College, featuring a two-credit January term trip to Perú, bookended with seven-week one-credit seminars in the fall and spring. The course fulfills International (Western) and Scientific Inquiry McDaniel Plan tag and is part of the Encompass Distinction. Students from all academic disciplines and backgrounds are being sought to build an interdisciplinary team with a range of skills and interests.

Forest online students forestThe heart of the class is a three-week trip to Perú to explore the forests and communities of the semi-remote region of Madre De Dios and the watershed of the Las Piedras River. Our itinerary includes visiting the region’s bustling capital of Puerto Maldonado and staying at two rainforest sites, the Las Piedras Amazon Center (LPAC) and the native community of Boca Paria Manu. At each site, we will engage in scientific research, media development, and intercultural learning. In Boca Paria Manu, we will learn from native people how they use rainforest plants and make a living from the forest. At LPAC, we will work with young Peruvian leaders on a collaborative project designed to advance local-to-global sustainable development.
Tentative January 2018 Itinerary:

  • Jan. 2nd - Leave the USA via Baltimore (BWI)
  • Jan. 2nd - Arrive in Lima, Perú
  • Jan. 3rd – Arrive in Puerto Maldonado, Perú
  • Jan. 4th – Explore Puerto Maldonado and Nearby
  • Jan. 5th – Arrive at the Las Piedras River – Boca Pariamanu
  • Jan. 8th – Travel to the Las Piedras Amazon Center
  • Jan. 20th – Arrive in Puerto Maldonado
  • Jan. 21st – Arrive in Lima
  • Jan. 21st – Arrive in Baltimore, Maryland

ButterflyDuring the Jan term experience, students will be staying in a variety of locations, from a hotel in Lima, to a hostel in Puerto Maldonado, and most significantly, research stations in the Amazon rainforest.

A wide variety of native Peruvian cuisine will be experienced—at restaurants, with local communities, and from grocery store visits. Note: Peruvian food is starch and meat heavy. It can be a challenging country for vegetarians and/or vegans; applicants should plan appropriately and talk to the instructors if they have any food restrictions.

Students enrolled in this course will learn how to collect and integrate scientific research and multimedia into compelling stories and team-based media projects to support social change.

As part of the course, students will:

  • Engage in first-hand reporting and environmental field research
  • Prepare for fieldwork in the tropics via interactive classroom learning
  • OutlookLearn more about ethical and intercultural situations while undertaking field research
  • Develop roles within a team and design and implement research strategies for field work
  • Learn about and implement appropriate strategies for working with international and local nonprofits
  • Learn about career opportunities in nonprofit work, scientific field research, and international development
Grading will be a mix of evaluative assessment and task completion. Projects are group-based deliverables and personal and peer evaluations are included in the final evaluations.

The total cost per student is $3,600 (with an estimated $300-$400+ returned to students, if no unexpected situations arise). This price is competitive with other McDaniel Jan-terms and is a fantastic deal compared to other guided ecotourism trips to the area.

ExplorersBreakdown of Course Costs:

  • Stay at the Amazon Center on Las Piedras River ($730)
  • Stay at Boca Paria Manu Community ($300)
  • Travel and Accommodations in Lima and Puerto Maldonado ($400)
  • Additional Food Expenses ($120)
  • Technology Fee ($100)
  • Emergency Funds ($330)
  • Flights to Lima and Puerto ($1,200)
  • Instructor Fee = $300
  • Jan Term Fee+ $100
Expected Total = $3600

Over the course of three semesters, students will learn how to travel, learn, and dialogue across borders in a sensitive, yet academically rigorous way. From the start, the experience will be mission-based and focused on objectives that the class agrees upon as a team. The class will share common, entrepreneurial goals of helping local and international partners achieve their conservation and development goals.

The pace of the January trip will be rigorous, but not exhaustive. Demonstrated outdoor experience prior to the trip is an asset, but not a prerequisite. Participants should however be ready to hike, travel, and get their hands dirty!

Sunset BoatsTravels in Perú will be by plane, bus, and boat as we journey through the extraordinarily diverse landscapes that are the rainforests of SE Perú. It should be noted that cell phone and internet access will be close to nonexistent, during two weeks we are working on the Piedras River. While the team will have a satellite phone ready at all times, it is strictly for emergency use.

Multiple video and still cameras will be provided by the instructors. You are not required to bring your own technology (e.g., cameras or laptops), but you are welcome to. As part of the preparation for the Jan term experience, we will discuss how to travel light, as participants should aim to limit their gear to one large backpack.


Max Capacity: 14 students

Registration is by permission of the instructors and acceptance is determined by the instructors’ goal of building a diverse and interdisciplinary team with varied skillsets and experiences. To arrange an interview, email Dr. Scullion (  a statement of approximately 100 words, that explains (a) why you want to participate in the course and (b) what you want to bring to the team?

Note: Registration in a study tour does not guarantee participation. The faculty leader for the study must provide final approval for all registered students to participate. By registering for this class you agree to allow the Office of Student Affairs to review and approve your student record along with the faculty instructor of the class. Your enrollment in this class is not final until Student Affairs and the faculty instructor for the class approve your registration.


Because our travels in Perú will take us to the chilly high Andes and steamy lowland rainforests, you will need to pack with purpose for foresight. We will discuss what you need in the fall seminar, but to get a good idea of what you will need to bring check hereTravel in Perú means that you should prepare in advance by meeting with your doctor to discuss your destinations and the activities involved. 

Muddy River

This program is currently not accepting applications.