About the Program


The Forest Online is a unique interdisciplinary course of McDaniel College, featuring a two-credit January term trip to Perú, book-ended with seven-week one-credit seminars in the fall and spring. This bi-annual program is focused on developing skills in entrepreneurial storytelling through a year-long course that explores the diversity of people and nature through the lens of the Amazon rainforest.

Now, in the 2017-18 academic year, the second iteration of the Forest Online is being completed. With every iteration, a team of students from McDaniel College visits 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, students 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 apply what we’ve learned and share it with the world. By designing and launching media projects we hope to make information about the Las Piedras watershed more accessible and inspire social change.


The 2018 itinerary included 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 Pariamanu. At each site, we engaged in scientific research, media development, and intercultural learning.

In Boca Pariamanu, we learned from the native Amahuacan people how they use a mix of agroforestry, ecotourism, and other methods of sustainable resource extraction to make a living from their territorial lands. We also learned about Amahuacan culture and their relationship with the forest beyond how they use it to make money. At LPAC, where we spent eleven days, we learned from researchers at the center and worked with young Peruvian leaders in the Future Leaders program on a collaborative project designed to advance local-to-global sustainable development.

To learn more about the places we visited and people we worked with please check out our partners page. To learn more about the culture of the people of Madre de Dios and the Las Piedras, check out the tab labelled Las Piedras Culture.

Wanna Join The Forest Online? Next Departure is in 2020. 

In the Spring of 2019 McDaniel College students from all academic disciplines and backgrounds are needed to build an interdisciplinary team with a range of skills and interests. The course fulfills International (Western) and Scientific Inquiry McDaniel Plan tag, is part of the Encompass Distinction, and counts for Honors Credit. Students from all academic disciplines and backgrounds are being sought to build an interdisciplinary team with a range of skills and interests.We will work together for 8 months, go to the Amazon rainforest for Jan Term 2018, and design and launch a public interest media project. Interested?

To learn more about The Forest Online, email Dr. Jason Scullion (jscullion@mcdaniel.edu)

More Course Detailshttp://global.mcdaniel.edu/?go=Peru