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Summer Subtropical Ecology Trip to Puerto Rico

Subtropical Zone Ecology is a for-credit summer school course taught by Maret faculty in Puerto Rico, where the environment is a living laboratory.

Students spend a month living and learning on the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico. The Subtropical Zone Ecology program (formerly located in Sanibel) is in its thirtieth year with over 550 graduates.

Summer Lab in Puerto Rico

The course includes three academic components: an intensive scientific field investigation of marine science and ecology; an examination of contemporary environmental literature; and an elective with choices of Spanish language enrichment, community engagement, or research into the local Viequense culture and history.

Students must have completed the ninth grade to enroll in the program. Grading is based on student participation and performance in each of the three segments of the course work. Maret School awards one science credit upon successful completion of the course.

Maret Summer Trip to Puerto Rico


Mornings are spent in the physical examination of the various marine, freshwater, and associated ecosystems. The morning class meets for 3.5 hours per day, five days per week for the entire month. Students learn about the subtropical ecosystems and habitats of Puerto Rico based on land excursions and observations, snorkeling, group reports and discussions, and individual laboratory reports. Class assignments involve mini-papers that require the students to make field observations and gather information from literature research. Animal and plant samples are collected, observed, and then released unharmed in all of the zones studied:  the open beach, the grass-flats, the mangrove swamp, and the open waters of the Caribbean. The class is also supplemented by presentations from experts in different scientific fields.


Students have afternoons free for elective work, writing laboratory assignments and/or journals, or recreation. Chores, such as cooking, cleaning, or shopping, are assigned daily and rotate regularly; teamwork, cooperation, and responsibility are stressed continuously during the experience.


Evening classes expose the students to current and historical thought and concern about environmental issues through selected readings, group discussions, journal writing and sharing of personal journal entries with the class. The class meets for 2.5 hours per day, five days per week for the entire month. The literature studied varies from year to year. In addition, local environmentalists visit the group and present lectures on environmental problems from a scientific, social, and political viewpoint and answer questions posed by the class. Four journal entries are required each week, two on a specific topic and two on topics of the students' choosing.


Students also complete an elective which consists of either Spanish language enrichment and Puerto Rican cultural immersion (strongly recommended), or an approved community service and community engagement project (strength in Spanish language required), or an approved scientific field study project on some aspect of their exposure to the ecoloy of Vieques. Students work closely with one of the staff members as they plan and carry out their elective work. A final project is presented as a paper for the chosen elective.

Maret Puerto Rico Trip

Trip Location & Dates

Vieques, Puerto Rico
Dates: June 27 to July 27, 2022


$6,500.00 (includes flights, lodging, meals, all materials, transportation, etc.)
Other Expenses: personal spending money (recommend approx. $250.00)

School Credit

One science credit (Maret School)


Ms. Carolyn Bottelier
Science Instructor
(4 previous trips)

Ms. Krystle Merchant
Environmental Literature Instructor
(2 previous trips)

Mr. David Walker
Science Instructor
(17 previous trips)

Spanish Instructor

Teaching Assistant

Apply to Maret's Ecology Summer Trip to Puerto Rico

Additional Information



Krystle Merchant
Director of Community Engagement & Partnerships            

Explore the world through science.