Ecuador: Biodiversity Research Expedition

Hike through grasslands, camp in floristically unique environments, and participate in a botanical research expedition to a recently established protected area within a mountainous cloud forest.  

March 4 - 15, 2020

Lawrenceville students will participate in a botanical research expedition at a recently established protected area on the eastern slopes of the Andes. This program involves hiking, camping, and working with local communities. Students will also visit local food markets and enjoy lodging in old town Quito. The primary goals of this trip are to familiarize students with relevant aspects of tropical ecosystems and experience cultural and biological diversity in the rural tropics. The expedition is designed to build diverse skills for field-based research in the tropics with an emphasis on documenting plant diversity. This program is field-oriented and expedition-based. Students will study a broad range of vegetation zones where they will document specimens for scientific studies and identify plants.

An important long-term outcome of this program is the contribution of floristic data of native forests in the eastern Andean slopes of the Amazon Basin. We will continue our collaborative research with local guides and establish a remote camp along the foothills of the Andes. Students will work with native guides to install a 0.25-hectare permanent plot in the Sumak Kawsay Reserve, a family-owned and operated reserve adjacent to the Llanganates National Park.

A highlight of this trip is the opportunity for students to work in collaboration with local biologists from Ecuador who have dedicated considerable time and energy conserving rapidly disappearing forests. Faculty and conservation leaders through the Universidad Estatal Amazónica (Puyo, Ecuador) and Fundacion EcoMinga will play an essential role in assisting our program. Ongoing discussions will emphasize the consequences of past and present human impacts on these ecosystems. Discussions and readings will explore the current, past, and future of tropical forests.

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  • Cost

    $5,500

    Includes all ground transportation, flights, meals, accommodations, visas and all required non-routine vaccines. Families will receive a list of all MANDATORY vaccines that are required. All travelers must be up-to-date on routine vaccines. Families will be charged for any trip related routine vaccines administered on campus. If the participant has received any of the mandatory vaccines, documentation must be provided to the Health & Wellness Center no later than December 13.

    Current cost is based on the posted price of flights available at the time of trip planning.  There is the potential for this to change. Participants will be alerted to any changes at time of trip sign-ups.


Know Before You Go

Program Leaders
John L. Clark, Science Master
Annie Wilcox, History Master
Noelle Niu, Mathematics Master 

Important Travel Program Policies and General Information

Passports
All passports must be current seven months past the return date of any School-sponsored trip. Please check and plan accordingly. A photocopy of the passport information page is required for sign-up when the first payment is due.


Vaccines
All travelers must be up-to-date on routine vaccines. Families will be charged for any trip related routine vaccines administered on campus.

Families will receive a list of all MANDATORY non-routine vaccines required for this program. If the participant has received any of the mandatory vaccines, documentation must be provided to the Health & Wellness Center no later than December 13.

Ecuador Packing List

Sign Up

This trip is open to all students who are interested in combining outdoor living skills, cultural opportunities in rural Ecuador, and developing field-based research techniques for documenting plant biodiversity. This trip involves long hikes and extended remote travel with packs. Interested students must understand this is a challenging program in terms of environment, physical demands, and rustic accommodations. This program is ideal for students with an interest and desire for learning more about traveling and living in remote rainforests. Previous camping experience or a background in biology are not prerequisites. 

Participation for all Lawrenceville Harkness Travel Programs is dependent upon a review of student surveys, Housemaster/Advisor recommendations, medical fitness for participation, and financial and disciplinary standing.  Seniority and gender balance is also considered in the selection process.

Application to this program is not considered complete until both of the following items have been submitted:

 
Through House and Harkness, Lawrenceville challenges a diverse community of promising young people to lead lives of learning, integrity, and high purpose.  Our mission is to inspire the best in each to seek the best for all.