Camp El Yunque
Environmental Science and Experiential Learning Camp in
Puerto Rico’s Rainforest for High School Students
August 4th-10th, 2019
Spend a week with young people from across the country in this rare ecosystem and surrounding natural wonders. From the beautiful waterfalls and lush vegetation of the rainforest to the crystal clear Caribbean Sea where the coral reefs lie - come and discover the magic of Puerto Rico.
Participants will work together in teams doing real science using standard scientific investigation procedures and building an understanding of the value of team work. Each activity is designed to “have some fun and get things done.”
Camp El Yunque is in El Yunque National Forest It is the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. National Forest System. El Yunque Peak rises 1065 meters (3494 feet) among the rugged, isolated mountains of Sierra de Luquillo. El Yunque gets its name from the cloud-shrouded mountain tops. The native Tiano people called these mountain tops "yuke," meaning "white lands".
Activities and Excursions
A Day on the Water
Coral Reef Exploration and Lionfish Survey
A great day of fun, sun, and marine biology that is sure to be a lasting memory! The coral reef habitat in the waters around Puerto Rico is home to a wide variety of aquatic species and is in decline for a variety of reasons. One of the reasons is the impact of the invasive lionfish. We will explore the reef on a 54 ft sailing catamaran with a local marine biologist, conduct a lionfish survey, and learn about other threats to Puerto Rico’s coral reef. After learning about the reef below our boat and conducting the survey, we will stop for lunch near the reef on a beautiful beach.
A Day at the Beach
Micro-plastics Survey on a Sea Turtle Nesting Beach
A day of swimming, sunning, and science on Puerto Rico’s incredible white sand beaches. Sea Turtles like these beaches too, and return each year to lay their eggs. Unfortunately, these nesting beaches have plastic debris and micro-plastic pollution which is bad news for the turtles. During our day at the beach we will dig into some marine science, conduct micro-plastic surveys, and remove beach debris from Sea Turtle nesting areas.
A Day in the Rainforest
Repair Hurricane Damaged Trails and Learn about the Invasive Green Iguana
Enjoy the waterfalls, wildlife and wonder of El Yunque National Forest. Hurricane Maria walloped the forest and there is lots to do repairing trails and improving access to waterfalls and other natural areas. Another issue is the invasive species of the Green Iguana. They are very destructive to the rainforest habitat and overpopulation creates issues for other species. Participants will complete various projects to improve the forest and mitigate the impact of the Green Iguana.
A Day above the Trees
Get a Bird's Eye View of Rainforest Flora and Fauna
An adventure that will challenge and thrill. There are few better places in the world to take a zipline than the beautiful landscape of Rio Grande and El Yunque National Forest. Learn about the preservation of our forest ecosystems and the wonders of the living nature that surrounds and encompasses us.
A Night Exploring Bio Bay Lagoon
Kayak through waters filled with bioluminescent creatures
Night time is the right time to explore Bio Bay! Tiny organisms make the water the glow at night. They found the perfect place to live in the Cabezas de San Juan Nature Preserve. Stir the water of the Bioluminescent Bay and lots of these creatures will activate. Glowing trails will swirl and flow with the water as you paddle through the mangrove forest.
Day to Day Life at Camp El Yunque
When we are not out exploring and working in the beautiful rainforest, beaches or coral reefs, we will be having tons of fun at our very own Camp El Yunque. Located in the heart of El Yunque National Forest our camp includes a swimming pool, bunk house, basketball court and green space.
There will be many activities planned to get to know each other, such as team building games, campfires and shared meals. Participants will learn about leadership, who they are as an individual, and how they interact and communicate as a team. All the above makes a perfect recipe for lots of laughter and creating lasting memories!
Our Philosophy We believe in experiential learning, learning by doing, through action, discovery and exploration as part of a team. Every participant will be assigned to a Science Investigation Team consisting of 6 to 8 young scientists. These teams will stay together and interact with other teams throughout the experience.
Mission and Values Our mission at Camp El Yunque is to instill values of teamwork, creativity, exploration, service, empathy, cultural understanding, and kindness through engaging participants in citizen science activities as part of a team of young scientists.
Tuition/Program Fee (Airfare and baggage fees not included)
$895.00 per person includes all food, lodging, in country transportation, full time volunteer coordinator, project materials, liability insurance, and educational/recreational activities. Project Service Fee does not include flights to and from Puerto Rico.
Participants will be staying in bunkhouses at Camp El Yunque. The facility also includes bathrooms with flush toilets and showers, a full kitchen, a swimming pool, green space, basketball court and a large indoor gathering space for meals and workshops. The best part about the camp is that it is located in the El Yunque National Forest so participants will be residing in the ecosystem that they are learning about while in Puerto Rico.
Arrival and Departure should be booked out of the San Luis Munoz Marin airport in Puerto Rico. Transportation will be provided from and to the airport. You will be met at the airport upon arrival by a camp staff member.
How To Apply
Recruit a team of seven students and travel for free!
Teachers and Student Leaders who recruit a team of seven students have their $895.00 program fee waived and receive reimbursement for roundtrip airfare to Puerto Rico!
Students can enroll as individuals or with a few friends and will be assigned to a team upon arrival.