Program Details

Understand the abundant life of this diverse part of the world, engage with scientists and locals, and grapple with questions of biological and cultural survival, to form a solid foundation to help us consider broader human and environmental issues.
Cusco, Peru
Program Type:
Study Abroad
Degree Level:
Academic Year, Fall Semester

Program Overview

Program Description:

Following a transect from the eastern slopes of the southern Peruvian Andes to the adjacent Amazonian lowlands, our team activities will begin at the Wayqecha Biological Station, home to an exceptional array of high Andean habitats, flora and fauna. Here we join researchers to hone our field and observational skills, examine endemic plant and animal species, and study Andean conservation initiatives. From Wayqecha we travel to the town of Pillcopata and the nearby “Gallito de las Rocas” ecotourism concession, a privately-managed protected area in the Andean foothills that aims to profit from sustainable tourism while simultaneously safeguarding biodiversity. We will also explore how uncontrolled development and extraction of natural resources threaten the nearby Manu National Park, and what is being done to boost local economies without risking the integrity of this important protected area.

Our third field study site is the Cocha Cashu Biological Station, located within the heart of Manu National Park, a region minimally impacted by humans that provides critical insights into the biodiversity and ecological processes of a healthy, intact rainforest. Surrounded by an abundance of aquatic and terrestrial habitats and indigenous communities living in voluntary isolation, students will conduct a substantial independent research project on a topic ranging from plant phenology to insect diversity to avian foraging behavior to primate social interactions. Next, we will travel to “Los Amigos” biological station, located adjacent to a 370,000 acre conservation concession, the first of its kind in the world. At Los Amigos, we will learn about a unique approach to conservation that aims to mitigate the negative effects of rapid development and resource extraction in the surrounding forest while at the same time protect abundant wildlife, including harpy eagles, spider monkeys and jaguars. Our final stop is a small, privately-managed Brazil nut concession where we will learn about the southern Peruvian Amazon’s leading sustainable non-timber forest product, the conservation value of this renewable resource and the challenges facing sustainable resource extraction.

The insights gained by immersing ourselves in the abundant life of this extraordinarily diverse part of the world, engaging with scientists and locals, and grappling with questions of biological and cultural survival, will form a solid foundation to help us consider broader human and environmental issues and how these are intimately intertwined.

Setting Description:
Camping, Backpacking, Research Stations
5550 USD.

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