Located in the Amazon rainforest near the Equator, the Shiripuno River/Yasuni National Park region is considered to have the world's greatest biodiversity. After arriving in Quito, the capitol of Ecuador, we will travel to Puerto Francisco de Orellana, the gateway to the Amazon rainforest. From there we will travel by bus to the Shiripuno River (a tributary of the Amazon River) where Huaorani Guides will take us by boat to the Shiripuno Field Station. Along the way we will see several species of macaws, tapirs, monkeys, and turtles.
The Shiripuno Field Station is maintained by the local Huaorani tribe and will function as our field station for the majority of the class. With comfortable accommodations and an extensive network of well-maintained trails in pristine rainforest, it is an ideal location to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We will conduct multiple tours of the area guided by Huaorani field experts to observe plants, birds, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and many other unique features of this amazing area. Each student will be given the opportunity to develop and implement a unique research project. Research topics can include a biological inventory, soil analysis, working with Huaoranis to understand their perspectives of the environment, and investigate the conflict of oil development with the tremendous natural resources of the region in one of the last untouched rainforests on Earth.