Classroom in the Wild Chesapeake Bay
Photography and Video with Professor Larry Engel


March 7-14, 2020

The Center for Environmental Filmmaking is offering students a one-week alternative spring break program in the Chesapeake Bay to introduce them to the challenges and fun of environmental filmmaking. This non-credit course is for both first-time and experienced filmmakers and photographers who have an interest in the outdoors and in communicating environmental, wildlife, and natural history subjects. Cost: $950 includes housing.

For more information, contact Classroom in the Wild Director, Professor Larry Engel at: 

Classroom in the Wild- A Summer Experience: Puerto Rico


SOC's Center for Environmental Filmmaking is pleased to announce the experienctial video and photography course to Isla de Mona, Puerto Rico May 29- June 5.

This course is a week-long, non-credit class, but students may sign up for a one-credit independent study. It is for both first-time and experienced filmmakers and photographers who have an interest in the environment, natural history and the outdoors. There are only 12 spots available, so be sure to register for this class as soon as possible. 

This course will be led by Professor Maggie Burnette Stogner, the Executive Director of the Center for Environmental Filmmaking, and supported by further instruction from our local partner, Discover Puerto Rico. 

For more information, contact Classroom in the Wild Director, Professor Larry Engel at: 

Deadline to apply: May 8

Classroom in the Wild: Puerto Rico is listed as COMM-080-001. There are no prerequisites for this course and you do not need to be an American University student to join in on this incredible program! 

The class has a $1650 program fee. This fee covers travel and lodging once students reach Puerto Rico. Food will be provided on Isla de La Mona, but students are respobsible for meals in Puerto Rico. 

Air fare to and from Puerto Rico will have to be purchased by each student personally however, don't purchase your flight until we confirm that enrollment has been met.

All equipment will be provided by the American University Equipment Room and students will have hands on training with this state-of-the-art equipment for environmental and wildlife filmmaking.

Puerto Rico, New York Times 2019 #1 place to travel to, has a hidden secret.
Isla de Mona is an uninhabited island/natural reserve 40 miles west of Puerto Rico.Classroom in the Wild 2019 takes you on a journey to a place many have called the Galapagos of the Caribbean.

The 12 mile long island is home to 17 endemic species, an intricate cave system with Taino Indian carvings and historical colonial Spanish remains, and pristine coastlines and coral reef systems. Together with local park rangers, experts and filmmakers, students will have a chance to tell unique stories of this magnificent island.

Spend four magical nights camping under the Caribbean stars while telling stories of a unique ecosystem.

Day 1 – Wednesday May 29th
Students arrive to Luis Munoz Marin Int. Airport
Transportation shuttle will take them to Verdanza Hotel in Isla Verde.
Day off
Dinner TBD

Day 2-Thursday May 30th
Breakfast at Hotel (taken care of)
1030am. Students and DPR staff meet at Discover Puerto Rico Offices.
*All Bags packed in transportation vans.
1030am-12:00 pm Final debrief, safety, and DPR overview.
12:00-pm 1:00 pm Lunch in Old San Juan
2:00-4:30pm Drive to Cabo Rojo.
Check in to temp hotel TBD.
Night off.

Day 3-Friday May 31st
Transportation vans pick students up at 1am.
Depart Cabo Rojo to Isla de Mona at 2am SHARP!
2:00am-6:00 am Boat Ride to Isla de Mona
Arrive at Isla de Mona 7am
7:00am -12am
Camp setup
Orientation, safety and rest
Lunch 12pm
Excursión #1: 1pm - 6pm
Sistema Cueva Chito / Ruinas Erickson / Fila de cuevas / cueva del agua

Day 4- Saturday June 1st.
Scuba & Production team 6:00am
1st scuba Immersion @ veril en Punta Carabinero 100’+
2da buceada @ Las Carmelitas 40’-60’

10am Hiking Excursion (This is a 9hr hike)
Explore costa sur este / cueva escalera / meseta / sistema cueva Lirio /
Faro / Bosque de Cactus / Frontón Este
7pm Dinner
Seminar #1 TBD Shooting Underwater video fotos.
Lights out (figuratively speaking there are no lights)

Day 5- Sunday June 2nd
8am Sardinera Expediton (Boat Ride on the north side of the island,
930 am
Arrive to Sardinera
BBQ / Beach / Relax /
*3 optional excursions from Sardinera 1. Cave system 2. Esqueleto y
Miradero capitán 3. Conservation projects
Here we will host a Discover Scuba workshop with underwater cameras
3rd Scuba immersion “Discover Scuba” for novices and to try the
underwater camera systems @ Sardinera 20’
4pm Depart back to camp.
7pm Dinner
4th Scuba Immersion a Nighttime dive (hammerheads) @ Playa
Pájaros 30’
Seminar on Taino Culture and Spanish history of the island

Day 6 Monday June 3rd
8 am – Expedi6on to vereda frontón/Caigo y no Caigo / playa secreta /
vereda india / camino del infierno
5th Scuba Immersion @ veril west coast of Monito Island 100’+
Back for lunch (1-2pm)
Afternoon still TBD
6th Scuba Immerison @ Punta Capitán 40’-60’
7pm Dinner
8pm Pack up

Day 7 June 4th
6am departure to Cabo Rojo.
10am arrive at Cabo Rojo/load van
11am – 1pm Head back to San Juan
1pm-6pm Check in to Verdanza Hotel and Media backups
7pm Dinner

Day 8 June 5th
Students Depart
Van transportation to airport.

Have Questions?

For more information, contact Professor Larry Engel at:

Classroom in the Wild

I felt I got four years of experience in a week's time.

Michael Rice endured blustery winds and bitter cold on the Chesapeake Bay to create a video about the harsh beauty of the landscape and the harm wildlife faces today. The mentors he found through Classroom in the Wild not only coached him in camera techniques, but gave him life tips on time management, marketing, and careers. The experience taught him to collaborate, problem solve, be persistent, and never give up. Michael learned the importance of creating art that makes a difference. For him, that’s what makes a filmmaker.