Loyola University Chicago

Study Abroad

Faculty-Led Program: ENVS 345/BIOL 349 in Peru (2020)

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  • Learn about Peru’s dynamic ecosystems and conservation efforts firsthand while earning three credit hours towards towards ENVS, BIOL, or Engaged Learning Core.
  • Explore the Amazon rainforest of Peru through a nine-day immersive trip, which will include hiking the Inkaterra Canopy Walkway, canoeing along the Madre de Dios River, walking the Amazon rainforest at night, ascending 98-foot towers (30 m.) to cross hanging bridges that connect the treetops at 91 ft. high (28 m.), fishing native style for piranha, and more.
  • Transform your understanding of conservation ecology by visiting one of the most biodiverse areas in the world with LUC faculty member Fr. Stephen Mitten, S.J.

Click to view the ENVS_345_Mitten_Peru_2020_Flyer.

This faculty-led study abroad program is part of ENVS 345 Conservation and Sustainability of Neotropical Ecosystems/BIOL 349, taught by Rev. Stephen Mitten, S.J.  Click here for the ENVS_345_Syllabus_2020, which includes details on planned activities.

This course provides a comprehensive introduction to conservation ecology as it is applied in a variety of Neotropical ecosystems by way of classroom lectures prior to trip and experiential learning activities in Peru. The Amazon rainforest covers more than half of the Peruvian territory, an area rich in wildlife, indigenous culture and isolated indigenous communities. Student will be first introduced to the ecology of the major Neotropical terrestrial and aquatic (both fresh and marine) ecosystems, learn about the key environmental threats to these ecosystems, will review the conservation status of the biodiversity within each of these ecosystem, and then examine the principles of conservation management that are applied to their protection and sustainability. Student will also be provided with some practical experience with basic environmental monitoring and biological survey methods while in the Amazonian rainforest. Ecosystems studied include gallery forests, tropical rain and dry forests, savannas, rivers, lagoons and wetlands. Most emphasis will be on the Amazonian rainforest of Peru.

After you have completed the OIP application for this program and been accepted, you will be registered in this course by OIP. You don't need to self-register for this course.

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Paid to Loyola
Faculty-Led Study Abroad Program Fee $1,230 paid to LOCUS
Office of International Programs Administrative Fee $100 paid to Loyola Study Abroad Online Application
Loyola University Chicago tuition Included in Spring semester tuition paid to LOCUS


Not Paid to Loyola
Airfare $1,400 (estimated) you pay directly to airline; do not buy your ticket until we notify you to do so.
Incidental expenses and additional meals $100 (estimated) take with you abroad

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You will stay with the group at the Inkaterra Guides Field Station.  

To learn more about the program, read reflections written by a few past student participants below.


My dad wrote to me, “Just look at where you are, you’re in another country, another continent, learning things you probably never imagined you would know.” For that, I have to thank God that I am where I am. That Loyola and I chose each other. For me, taking this course wasn’t about bragging rights about visiting another continent and its exotic rainforest, nor about getting a different “cultural” experience, nor anything that encompasses why a tourist goes to disparate places around the globe. Taking this course was for learning what I know and what I don’t know, and why I should and need to learn more. I came into the course with a strong desire to go to Peru to understand and explore a strategy that to me, beautifully epitomizes sustainable living as it incorporates conservation, community engagement, youth participation and growth, economic security, the generation and sharing of knowledge, and the mobilization of that knowledge as its own approach to a cause. This strategy is called community-based conservation. It can be resilient, flexible, innovative, inclusive, effective, holistic or centrally focused, and if it’s implemented correctly, it is always striving to be just. And learning, every step of the way over its implementation and continued success, is imperative. 


I can honestly say that my time in ENVS 345 has been one of the best, if not the best, experience(s) I’ve had at Loyola. We spent the beginning of the semester learning about the neotropics, their organisms and ecosystems, and methods for promoting their conservation. This part of the class was especially interesting to me as I’ve had very little exposure to these topics, my only experience with conservation and sustainability being Ecology. I’ve always been interested in those topics, though, so getting some formal exposure was a nice change of pace.  The most important aspect of this process, and the way it relates to Loyola’s mission statement, is that we as a group are, to be cliché, stewards of the earth and as such should take care of and protect the natural environment. In addition, not only do we have a moral obligation to protect the environment for its own sake, but the moral obligation extends to aiding the plight of the less fortunate around the world and preserving natural beauty for future generations. This class got us to think about ways to do that and our place in doing that.  Not only did it present us with possibilities that have already been tested and used, but it also equipped us with the skills and knowledge necessary to develop new ways of protecting the environment. While my chosen career path isn’t specifically related to conservation biology, what I learned has helped to inform my areas of focus, and I hope that I’ll be able to find a way to incorporate conservation and sustainable practices into my work as an environmental engineer.


While many students use their spring break for relaxing, visiting family, or spending time with friends, I decided to use mine to live in a tropical rainforest for a week. It took a full day to get there, we slipped and got our boots stuck in the mud, got bitten by mosquitos, woke up at 5am in order to climb up 98-foot tall towers, and only once did someone wake up next to a critter, and it was probably one of the most amazing experiences of my life. My engaged learning was completed through ENVS-345, Conservation and Sustainability of Neotropical Ecosystems, which culminated with our spring break trip to Peru. While there, the fourteen of us split into groups that were each responsible for a certain animal group, such as mammals or insects. My group and I were responsible for observing, identifying, and recording the huge array of birds that we encountered. Shortly after arriving back home, our group drafted a poster that was presented at the Undergraduate Research and Engagement Symposium.


Term Spring Break*
Year 2020
Application Deadline Click here for deadlines
Decision Date Rolling admission
Start Date  02/28/2020
End Date 03/07/2020

 *Please note that this class meets throughout the semester, while the portion taking place in Peru occurs during the University's Spring Break.


For more information, contact:

Rev. Stephen F. Mitten, S.J.
Advanced Lecturer
Institute of Environmental Sustainability


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