Saturday, September 06, 2014

Peru Course 2015



Contact: silmanmr@wfu.edu

Tropical Biodiversity is an in-depth, hands-on field course exposing students to the rich and varied ecosystems of the tropics, from absolute deserts to glaciers to tropical rain forest. It travels to the largest tropical wilderness left on the planet, and the course will take us through the spectrum of tropical ecosystems and put us in some of the wildest and most pristine areas left on the planet. In these living classrooms we will combine lectures on the history, generation, maintenance, and future of tropical biodiversity with field projects on a variety of plant and animal topics, from conservation to geology to tree diversity to primate behavior.  We'll also get first hand experience in tropical conservation.  In 2015 we will have addition scholars and conservation biologists on the trip as resources.

Check out the student's blog from a past course for a student's perspective.

The Places

After arriving in the capitol city in Lima, we’ll travel by bus through the world’s driest desert to Paracas National Park. Located on a peninsula in the Pacific Ocean, Paracas is a rich-upwelling zone teeming with bird and mammal life. Sea otters, sea lions, penguins, boobies, and the spectacular Inca Tern are among a few of the animals we’ll see there. The abundant marine life is juxtaposed with absolute desert, receiving less than 2mm of precipitation a year. This has led to a unique and fragile flora that lives exclusively on moisture harvested from coastal fog on the tops of the highest hills.

Leaving Paracas, the course flies over the Andes to the imperial city of the Inca Empire, Cusco. There we will travel to the Sacred Valley of the Incas and Machu Picchu, giving us a chance to see and study the unique mammal and bird fauna of the high Andes, from the relatives of camels such as llamas, vicuñas, alpacas, and the pika-like vizcacha to torrent ducks and Andean condors. We will overnight at Machu Picchu, affording students a chance to explore this magnificent ancient city in depth.

Monday, September 01, 2014

It's Showtime


It's Showtime!

As we traveled through Peru and the wilderness, we were taking a biology and history course.  One of the best aspects of the two classes is that we rarely had an ordinary classroom-type lecture.  Every moment was an opportunity for our professors to teach and use the environment/ecosystem as our classroom.  We have included on the website.......

Friday, December 30, 2011

Thinking like a plant to live in the desert

We'll see these people living in absolute desert.  What do they do for water?  They set up a fog trap that imitates the plants that grow on the tops of hills.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

New views of the Inca

National Geographic has an excellent article on the Inca Empire in this month's issue.  One of the things that is striking about the article is how poorly known the Inca are--most people would think we have the history all figured out, but the archaeology is just now being done in a convincing way.  Also, we should think about some of these guys as speakers or guest lecturers on the summer course.  Make sure to check out the interactive map.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Our itinerary for Summer 2010 is ready! We'll have access to phones and internet through June 7th and then again after the 24th. There might be email at Cocha Cashu but don't count on it..

Let's go to Peru!
2-Jun Transfer airport/hotel
Overnight H. Mami Panchita Lima
3-Jun Private bus Lima/Paracas/Pisco
Overnight H.Refugio del Pirata
4-Jun Boat Islas Ballestas
Bus Pisco/Lima
Overnight H. Backpakers Lima
5-Jun Transfer hotel/apto
Flight Lima/Cusco
Transfer apto/hotel
Overnight H. Familiar
6-Jun Free day in Cusco
Overnight H. Familiar
7-Jun Private bus Cusco/Wayquecha (ACCA)
Overnight Wayquecha /2 noche
9-Jun Private bus Wayquecha/San Pedro
Visit cock of the rock lek
Overnight Posada San Pedro /1 night
10-Jun Overnight Posada San Pedro /1 night
11-Jun Overnight Posada San Pedro /1 night
12-Jun Private bus San Pedro/Atalaya
Private boat Atalaya/Pantiacolla Lodge
Overnight Pantiacolla Lodge /2 nights
14-Jun Private boat PL/Pakitza
Overnight camping
15-Jun Private boat Pakitza/Cashu
Overnight camping Cashu/8 nights
Private boats Cashu 7d
23-Jun Private boat Cashu/Boca Manu
Overnight Yine Lodge
24-Jun Private boat Boca Manu/Atalaya
Bus Atalaya/Bosque Nublado
Overnight Posada San Pedro/1night
25-Jun Bus Cloud Forest/Cusco
Overnight H.Familiar
26-Jun Transfer hotel/trainstation Piscacucho
Backpacker train Cusco/Ag. Cal.
Overnight H. Machupicchu Ag. Cal.
27-Jun Backpacker train Ag. Cal./Cusco
Transfer trainstation Piscacucho/hotel
Overnight H.Familiar
28-Jun Transfer hotel/apto
Flight Cusco/Lima

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Living and exploring history


Parks, reserves, zoos, playgrounds, plazas, backyards, gardens, fields, cities, highways--they are all cultural constructed spaces with natural features. Do they share a unified meaning? What sets them apart? Why do people make them? These places are our platform for jumping head first into Latin America's past.
On this program, we'll not only see and experience the best of biological splendor--at each site we'll consider how different societies have used and conserved these lands over time. In Paracas, we'll ask how it was that bird guano came to be Peru's economic gold mine in the late nineteenth century? As we ascend to the cloud forest, we'll ask why some plants--like coca leaves--acquire such cultural power. While journey deeper away from home, we'll consider why the rain forest tugs at our imaginations and inhabits our wildest dreams? It even pulls like a siren song on U.S. presidents! What does it mean to say some place is "wilderness," and why isn't there a Spanish word for it? As we wander through the modern ancient city of Cusco we'll ask why Inca architecture persists and who it now serves. As we travel to the Sacred Valley, we'll inquire why did the Incas build Machu Picchu and how it was that a Yale archeologist made it famous?

In all of our stops we'll look at the ways nature and culture echo in each other considering how conflict and coexistence among human groups shape nature's form and the way the landscape in turn shapes societies. Students will keep journals and respond to these sorts of questions and we'll engage experts in history and anthropology as well as primary documents in our quest to explain just how societies in Latin America have used and conserved nature.
It will be awesome.