We wanted to share a collection of photos taken by SFS Admissions Manager, Ellen Reid, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Robin Sears, and Director of Safety and Student Life, Molly Hurst, in Peru where as they developed Biodiversity and Development in the Amazon, which launches in the fall of 2014. Their trips involved many of the same expeditions and excursions that students will experience—from the Andes Mountains to the lowland Amazon rainforest.
The Peruvian Amazon region comprises 60 percent of the country and is considered a global hotspot of biological and cultural diversity. The forest canopy, as seen from a canopy tower nestled in the crook of a Ceiba tree on the Río Manu, hosts a rich variety of life forms, including epiphytes, hemi-ephiphytes, insects, mammals, birds, and more.
Travel from the forested foothills of the Andes to the lowland tropical rainforest is mostly on rivers, the true highways of the Amazon!
Peru is home to many species of butterflies, which can often be seen exhibiting “mud-puddling” behavior along riverbanks in Amazonia. Butterflies sip moisture from the puddles and take in salts and minerals from the soil.
Peru ranks among the top five countries of the world for the number of bird, amphibian, reptile, and mammal species within its borders. Here, a Blue-throated Piping-guan (Pipile cumanensis), walks along a constructed path at the Manu Wildlife Center. Manu National Park is home to more than 1,000 species of birds, about 10 percent of the world’s bird species.
Exploring Peru involves long, windy roads and rivers that take you through puna (high altitude grasslands), cloud forests, rainforests, and everything in between!
From its perch in the Andean cloud forests, the beautiful Wayqecha field station has amazing views from treeline, over the cloud forests, and on down through the foothills to the Amazon. The station will be “home” during a weeklong excursion.
Peru is one of the ten most biodiverse countries in the world. The cloud forests around the highland Wayqecha station and the transitional forests at the mid-elevation Villa Carmen field station are well known for an abundance and diversity of orchids.
The dynamic and scenic city of Cuzco, situated high in the Andes mountains, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, renowned for its meeting of two distinct cultures; Inca and Hispanic. Many of the city’s buildings date back over nine centuries!
On mid-semester break, students may elect to travel to Machu Picchu, an icon of Inca civilization. A UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, it is no wonder that Machu Picchu is Peru’s most visited attraction.
Peru’s cultural diversity includes 44 ethnic groups (42 of which are in the Amazon), speaking 14 language families! Here, a highland Quechua woman demonstrates traditional weaving in a community-run market.
Join us in the field!