On the Border

June 15-24 2019



The southwestern borderlands of the United States contain some of the most ecologically biodiverse and fragile ecosystems on the planet, and yet aggressive human development continues to bring new threats to these endangered lands. In this brand new Adventure Term expedition, students and field professionals from all across the country will embark on a journey to examine the effects that new environmental policies and regulations will have on these significant ecosystems.

Along the way, they will pursue three of the most charismatic species that make their homes in these habitats - one bird, one reptile, and one mammal - and consider the unique threats facing each of these important keystone species. Guided by experienced instructors, students will examine the proposed border wall’s effects on biological corridors, migration patterns, habitat fragmentation, human-wildlife interactions, and the success and failures of local conservation efforts.

Participants will produce a feature documentary film exploring the ecological and cultural impacts of the proposed border wall, along with photojournalism portfolios, audio podcasts, daily blogs, social media content, and an investigative article detailing the expedition and its discoveries.

Each student involved in the course will contribute directly to the development of creative media, and will finish the course with a polished portfolio of topical environmental and adventure journalism.




June 15: Students and instructors will assemble at the project base in Arizona, where introductory classes will be held, gear will be sorted, and interview details finalized.

June 16- June 23: Students and instructors will travel through the borderlands of the southwest, interviewing local experts and organizations, studying the enigmatic species threatened by border development, and crafting engaging adventure narratives in writing, photography, audio, and film.

June 24: Students will return to the Arizona project base, participate in a final roundtable workshop, and depart for home.

Detailed itineraries will be provided to successful applicants upon acceptance.


Eligibility and Cost

  • All applicants for this course must be over the age of 18, and citizens of the U.S.

  • Successful applicants must possess and maintain individual health insurance as required by law in case of emergency. This health insurance must be able to function in the states of California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.

  • The course fee for this program is $1,500, which includes room, board, and transportation for the duration of the trip. Course fee does not include any necessary pre-or-post-trip travel. A non-refundable $500 deposit will be submitted by April 1, 2019 with the remainder of the course fee due by May 15, 2019.

  • Note on costs: Student fees are kept as low as possible, and are determined based upon expenses per individual for each trip. Successful applicants may have the option for need-based scholarships, dependent upon funding.

  • To preserve individual experiences and student-instructor ratio, a limited number of students will be accepted for this course.