THE PERU PROJECT: ECOSYSTEM CONSERVATION & CULTURE
Join us in southern Peru for a rare opportunity to gain hands-on experience in tropical biology and ethnobotany, while exploring fascinating cultures in Peru’s three major ecozones: the Amazon basin, the highland altiplano, and the coastal desert/canyon country. With the guidance of indigenous experts and research biologists, we will investigate rivers, forests, lakes, and mountains, become familiar with the remarkable creatures and plants found there, participate in ongoing conservation-oriented biological research, visit indigenous villages, and learn about efforts to maintain ecosystem and cultural sustainability.
In Peru, we can expect to encounter creatures such as giant otters, river dolphins, anacondas, macaws, and several species of monkeys as we explore forests, wetlands, lakes, creeks, rivers, and floodplains. We also work with conservationists whose management strategies address looming threats to wildlife populations, fisheries, ecosystems, and indigenous communities.
Our Peru project introduces team members to environments, biota, and conservation issues as well as indigenous history, culture, and contemporary cultural survival issues. In the company of conservation biologists and representatives from indigenous Ese’eja, Quechua, Cabana, and Collagua communities we will encounter extraordinary biodiversity and complexity, address questions of sustainable resource use, and investigate conservation strategies. Most of our time will be spent in Peru’s spectacular Amazon forest. Typically we will travel by boat to remote research stations and villages from which we will conduct our field studies. We will learn biological field methods by participating in ongoing research and monitoring projects at Los Amigos Research Station and Tambopata Research Center in the southern Amazon basin. Here we will be introduced to diverse lifeforms, landforms, and aquatic environments by local biologists. We will gain an understanding of Amazonian societies’ culture, environmental knowledge, resource management practices, sustainability issues, and political activism during field study activities in several communities. We will learn firsthand about indigenous peoples’ use and stewardship of environmental resources in national and transnational conservation programs.
Following our month in the Amazon, we travel to Cuzco to spend our final two weeks in comparative study of ecosystems and cultural practices in Peru’s other two major ecozones: the Andean altiplano and coastal canyon country. By the end of the project, all of us will have experienced the incredible environmental and cultural diversity of Peru, developed the ability to employ scientific field methods, evaluated firsthand a variety of conservation management techniques, and explored the human element in wildland/wildlife stewardship.
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