Come to the Amazon with IDEA!

Visit the Amazon Rainforest of Colombia in June with IDEA. Experience first-hand the Calanoa Project which is working toward a model of sustainable living in the Amazon forest. Participate in a multitude of interdisciplinary and cultural experiences, and bring to your studies a renewed depth, purpose, and global awareness. View the gallery to see examples of the landscape, people, and ecology of this amazing region, and see the itinerary for examples of the kinds of activities we will do.

A Purposeful Journey

Internationalization of curriculum prepares learners for an increasingly interdependent and interdisciplinary world, facilitates their understanding of other cultures, and fosters effective living in the global community. Learners who travel acquire knowledge and skills useful in the global community, increase their access to learning and employment opportunities, and promote international projects, institutional linkages, and community development.

The field school curriculum offers students the opportunity to engage in intensive interdisciplinary field study in the Amazon Rainforest. They will participate in cultural and creative immersion activities, will assist with community development and conservation projects, and will contextualize their field learning by classroom-based analysis and critical reflection before and after their field experiences. Students will develop interdisciplinary skills in creativity, academic inquiry, ecology and conservation, cultural awareness, environmental design, and community development. They will become familiar with various expressive modalities of the Amazon region (e.g. writing, music, movement, fine arts, materiality, theatre, storytelling, etc.) and will explore the application of those modalities in an integrative learning environment.

Sustainability and Ecology

The field study site, Calanoa Natural Reserve, is committed to the conservation of the biological and cultural diversity of the Amazon rainforest and has initiated long-term community development projects with six Indigenous villages that share their traditional territory with the Amacayacu National Park in the Colombian Amazon. These projects, which are interdisciplinary by nature, are focused on issues such as education and cultural memory, identity and arts revival, community health, materiality, traditional uses of medicinal plants, food security and alternative ways of sustainable use of diversity, and innovative design solutions for sustainable livelihoods.

During the two-week international field school experience, students will go on field trips to visit many ecological, cultural, and historic sites. Guest lectures by local instructors and experts in the host country will complement lectures by field instructors Ross Laird and Lucie Gagne. The onsite hosts and guides will be the founders of the Calanoa Project, Marlene and Diego Samper, who will facilitate all the visits and activities.


This exceptional field study opportunity is sponsored by Kwantlen Polytechnic University. The field school dates are from June 7 to June 25, 2013, with short sessions in Vancouver before and after the trip. The field study curriculum will consist of IDEA 3100, a three-credit course.

Registration and Costs

The base fee is $2200 plus airfare to Colombia and registration in IDEA 3100. For more details, please visit the (in development) website, or contact Ross or Lucie directly. The deadline for registration (and a $500 deposit) is February 15, 2013. The field school is not limited to current Kwantlen students. Anyone may apply. (Some prerequisite post-secondary learning is required.)

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