to South America and beyond

9.19.2006

El Oriente

Well, I'm in Quito, again. This town is starting to feel like home, I'll be sad to leave it. Kinda.

I came back into the city yesterday after spending four days at Yanayacu Biological Station outside of Cosanga, Ecuador. It's in the jungle region of Ecuador known as El Oriente. My former roommate Kimberly is doing research there and her boyfriend, Harold, runs the place. They were kind enough to let me stay for a few days even though I'm not doing research. Before I left, though, I was wishing I had gone there to work. After a couple days hanging out with biologists on the rim of the Amazon basin, it's hard not to consider a career change.


The station was exactly what I expected a research facility in the jungle to be. Everything was basic and functional, and yet, because it's also a center for creative studies, there was a great blend of art and science. And the location. Jesus. It's like heaven for biologists. The vegetation, animals, insects - everything just seemed bigger and more abundant when we arrived at Yanayacu. Harold took me and Heidi, Kimberly's research assistant and all-around cool chick, out to the forest the day after we arrived. He lead us through streams and knee-deep mud (we discovered quickly why the rubber boots, or botas de goma, were essential) to several bird's nests that he had marked and was studying. I would have never found these nests that were usually well-hidden under tons of vegetation, but I guess you get pretty good at it after 8 years. We were able to see Harold at work, measuring the eggs to determine metabolism rates and setting temperature gages under nests to record how often the birds sat on the nest. It was fascinating.


Later, we checked out the caterpillar project, which meant wandering through rows and rows of caterpillars hung up in bags from the ceiling. It was a tad creepy, but mostly impressive.

Check out pics from the town of Cosanga and my stay at Yanayacu here.

2 Comments:

Blogger JMC said...

ok, wanna trade lives?

2:19 PM

 
Blogger KIM said...

Oh my gosh. This makes up for not hearing from you for a while. Your
life is getting fuller.
Sooo glad you got the digital camera.
Love, Mom

8:33 PM

 

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