Academic Initiatives

A World Class Environment for Study

The Gulf of California (Sea of Cortez), Baja Peninsula and the remote pocket communities, offer students the perfect environment to explore, discover and learn. The opportunity to study the natural history of a marine environment with a focus on education and culture.

The Baja California Peninsula (BCP) and Gulf of California (GC) were formed approx. 6 million years ago. Tectonic movement between the Pacific and North American crustal plates ripped off the BCP from mainland Mexico creating a marine basin that formed the GC. Left in the wake of the creation, was an explosion of natural geological wonders; a group of desert islands. Some areas have remained uninhabited, spellbinding and timeless. This amazing Galapagos-style setting, with an astounding geological backdrop, plays host to some of the rarest, most beautiful marine and terrestrial life on earth. It is the perfect setting for an outdoor lab and classroom.

It is the depth of these structures that causes the upwelling of nutrient-rich waters creating the basis for a highly productive marine food chain. Starting with the simplest of oceanic plant life, phytoplankton, to the top of the food chain, sharks and killer whales, this is where the educational component of our academic expeditions begins.

Young Naturalist Expeditions

With over 37 years of experience in the educational travel industry our school program the “Young Naturalist Expeditions” has been designed to foster cultural interaction and to enhance the natural sciences taught in the classroom with hands-on experience in the field. In the past few decades, the Sea of Cortez has been a perfect, world-class outdoor classroom with overwhelming success in experiential learning. In response to our changing world, climate, environment and impact on biodiversity, we have made the decision to expand our scientific adventures to marine and desert terrestrial studies. Students will be able to observe and participate alongside scientists in the field as they conduct their research. Whether students are participating experientially or participating in the Panterra specially designed curriculum for credits, the student’s experience will be life-changing. It is a scientific adventure in educational and cultural experiences, inspiring students towards further learning. Many of our past students have used their experience with Panterra to make the world a better place.

The cultural component of the Young Naturalists Expeditions recognizes that when people of different cultures connect, there comes an unspoken understanding of our shared humanity. With this said, students will have the opportunity to meet and interact with members of remote communities. These communities often live without electricity, with the exception of the odd solar panel or two, and running water, with minimal freshwater obtained from wells. Their lives are filled with simplicity and contentment. We have one commonality; the responsibility to take care of each other, the environment, the animals, plants and our Earth.

High School students can receive credits for the program. It is a great way to explore career interests in the many fields of natural sciences. The expeditions offer an experience of a lifetime encompassing life skills, education and culture while embarking on a personal voyage of discovery.

Our expedition to the Sea of Cortez has been ongoing for over 20 years. Most of the schools that participate in the program have been with us for a decade or more returning with younger siblings of past student participants.


Student Review

“Amazing Amazing Amazing.
Dear Lela, thank you so much for having me on the eco expeditions trip. I learned so much and it really was the best thing i have ever experienced. It may sound cheesy, but you made a huge impact on my life and my parents think you may have shaped me and changed me in a way. Experiencing this was a dream of mine and you made it come true. You were such a positive person and i have never ever met someone like that. You are just an amazing person to be around, and for you to give the whole group an experience like that was just so sincere. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. I know i will be back again and i miss you and the trip already. I saw marine life that was not in a marine park which was truly crazy! I made new friendships and it really truly made me decide that i will go along with my career choice i want to pursue. Marine biology is something i could talk about for hours. So thank you Lela, you truly helped me in so many ways that you may not even realize. I will be back as soon as i can!

Sincerely, Jessica”


Educators Review

“What a trip!
If you are an educator looking for an amazing experience for your students, look no further. I have just returned from a fun filled experience of a lifetime with Lela and her crew on board the MV Adventure. We were taken to places that no other travellers would ever get to experience. On water, we saw sea lion colonies, sperm whales, humpbacks, dolphins, rays, turtles and much more. On land, we were taken to a place that even the local drivers had never been… a stunning oasis in the desert. The crew took care of all of our needs and went above and beyond with service and kind hospitality. I will most certainly be planning another trip with Panterra. Jeremy M – LVR Secondary


Summer Cruise for Educators
We have designed a Summer Cruise for Educators, a valuable professional development opportunity. Educators will be given hands-on experience learning about the marine environment , taking back to their classroom valuable resource materials to assist in their science lesson planning. Please refer to the Expeditions page for more information. It also allows teachers to experience Panterra before making a commitment to book a school program. If you do book a future school program, we’ll refund you 50% of the cost of the Panterra portion of the trip. Teacher participation in our “Young Naturalist Expeditions” program is cost-free.

Post Secondary Programs

A Transnational Academic Initiative between Panterra Educational and Cultural Training Society (Canada) and the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Sur (La Paz).

Our goal is to provide high quality earth and marine science field studies in the Gulf of California (Sea of Cortez). The aim of the initiative is to develop national and international partnerships to facilitate a wide range of long/short term educational and research opportunities incorporating experiential learning in earth, biodiversity, climate change and conservation research studies.

Students who join the research expeditions will have the opportunity to explore possible careers in the natural sciences (high school), strengthen their CV or resume (research assistants) or collect data for a dissertation or thesis. Students will work alongside established researchers in the field.

The initiative is designed to have a wide focus on:

  • Education and research, with emphasis on diversity and conservation studies.
  • Sustainable management of the natural and cultural resources of the region.

Field Studies Opportunities:

  • Hands-on practical experience
  • Pre/post grad studies
  • Classroom field studies extension
  • Climate change and environmental studies in response to, and preparedness to warming temperatures

Further offering an experience with the natural environment and the cultural richness of the gulf region, while embracing science and education together with environmental protection and sustainable tourism.

Field Stations:

  1. 110’ liveaboard ship, the MV Adventure – Oceanography, earth sciences, conservation programs and marine animal migrations.
  2. Isla Pardito – Shallow water marine science and marine animal conservation programs.
  3. Isla San José – Earth and biodiversity sciences, climate change, conservation programs and marine base camp.


  • Panterra Educational and Cultural Training Society – Canada
  • Universidad Autónoma de Baja California (UABCS) – La Paz
  • Landowners of Isla San José, BCS, Mexico
  • The community of Palma Sola on Isla San José
  • The community of Isla Pardito, BCS, Mexico

An invaluable initiative offering an experience with the natural environment and the cultural richness of the gulf region; while embracing science and education together with environmental protection and sustainable tourism.

Pilot programs were originally scheduled to launch in 2020 but were canceled due to COVID-19. We will be reintroducing the programs in the summer and fall of 2022. Expedition dates for the pilot programs will be announced Dec. 2021.

Conference of the Americas on International Education (CAEI) Presentation poster. 

For more information:

Academic Expeditions:

Pilot programs that were scheduled to launch in 2020 and canceled due to COVID-19 will be rescheduled for the summer and fall of 2022. Please check back.

  • Marine Sciences
  • Sea Turtles
  • Sharks and Rays
  • Geology and Earth Sciences
  • Ornithology

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