Preparation: Expedition 4 South America


Location: Learning Technologies Media Lab, St. Paul, MN, USA
Lat/Long: 44° 56′ 39″ N 93° 5′ 35″ W
Weather Conditions:  45F (7C) Cloudy
The Learning Technologies Media Lab

View the full photo gallery that accompanies this post.

Heading South!

Overview of the route for expedition 4.

We are excited to launch Earthducation Expedition 4: South America!

In 2011 we traveled to Burkina Faso, Africa for Expedition 1 and Northern Norway, Europe for Expedition 2. Then in early 2012 we journeyed to Australia for Expedition 3. Now we’re preparing to travel to a land of extremes, South America. We will depart Minneapolis, MN, on October 20 and head first to Peru, traveling into the biodiverse powerhouse of the Amazon Rainforest (one of the wettest spots on Earth), before making our way south into Chile to the Atacama Desert (the driest spot on Earth), and then on to the unspoiled beauty of Patagonia in one of the most southerly inhabited regions on Earth.

During Expedition 4, we will interview a broad array of people as we investigate intersections between education and sustainbility in South America. We’ll explore fog harvesting and traditional cultures; test our mettle in the world’s driest desert and learn about how life is sustained there; travel by motorized canoe down one of the greatest rivers on Earth to visit an indigenous rainforest community; and meet with some of the gauchos (cowboys) who raise sheep in the grasslands of Patagonia. We’ll also spend time at schools discussing the unique educational challenges that face the many remote and isolated communities on this spectacular continent.

Guanacos in Patagonia.

The environmental focus of Earthducation 4: South America is natural resources. South America is a continent rich in natural resources, including timber, freshwater, fish, rubber, agricultural products such as fruits, nuts, and quinoa, and minerals and metals such as gold, copper, lithium, and silver. As a result, the countries that inhabit this continent are highly reliant on natural resources to drive their economies and provide income to their citizens.

Pressing sustainability topics pertinent to the South American continent that will be investigated while we are in the field include deforestation, mining, educational inequalities between urban and rural regions and between socioeconomic classes, and the importance of the Amazon basin to the environmental health of the entire planet. We will also highlight stories, contributions, and contemporary issues of some of the many indigenous communities within this history-rich land.


Team meeting to review the team's final itinerary.

The entire Earthducation team has been working nonstop from the Learning Technologies Media Lab (LTML) at the University of Minnesota to prepare for expedition 4. From planning the team’s itinerary and establishing contacts abroad, to researching and writing about the issues, to gathering and prepping the gear and electronic equipment needed to support the team in the field and setting up the expedition 4 website, the team has been keeping very busy.

Patrick prepping equipment for the team's travels.

Once the expedition team is in South America (in just a few days!), the basecamp team back at LTML will receive all of the updates that are sent from the field to be posted online, while the expedition team are out conducting interviews, capturing stunning footage of the natural environment, and talking with locals to learn about unique issues and innovations in each community they visit. The Earthducation team is ready for yet another expedition to gather a tapestry of stories to share with the world on education and sustainability! Are you with us?

A Special Thank You!

Nina Fogelman of Ancient Summit and her extended family

We want to offer a special shout out and thank you to Nina Fogelman and her team at Ancient Summit, who have gone above and beyond in helping us arrange our travels in Peru. We encourage you to like them on Facebook at and to check out the community they are working with in the Andes outside Cusco, along with a documentary they are working on there. You can view a video trailer for the documentary, Unconquering Peru, at

Also, we look forward to meeting our Peru guide, Juan Zacarías, in person in just a few short days! You can view Juan’s website at

We Want to Hear Your Voice!

The Environetwork

Become part of the Earthducation team on the Environetwork!

Our mission is for people ALL AROUND THE WORLD to share ideas on how education and sustainability intersect or disconnect. And where you live changes your experience.

It all starts with your voice. Browse through the Environetwork to view current perspectives and stories, and then add your own. Together, we can explore how education can influence a healthier future for our planet.

Just for Educators

Students can follow along online with the team's travels and then record a video for the Environetwork

Earthducation provides a number of educational activities and resources you can use within your K12 classroom that complement the Earthducation project. We have located lessons, activities, curricula, videos, websites, articles, and other resources that address the topics of sustainability, climate change, and cultural generally and specifically to each expedition location. We encourage you to dig in!

Please note that these resources can be used at any time during the expedition. The learning and experiences are NOT limited to when the team is out in the field gathering interviews. Instead, we encourage engagement with the activities, media, and Environetwork at any time.

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