Description Dates/Itinerary Cost Dr. David Osgood Dr. Barty Thompson
Pre-trip Component: Several class meetings are held at Albright College during the spring semester to provide background necessary for a successful and enjoyable field experience. The exact times for these meetings will be arranged to best accommodate individual schedules.
Field Component: Coming Summer 2011!
Final Reports Due: TBA
Example Field Itinerary:
Day 1 – flight from Newark or Philadelphia to Lima, Peru. Stay overnight at Hotel Melodia.
Day 2 – flight from Lima to Iquitos (~2 hours). Travel by boat from Iquitos to the Tahuayo Lodge (~4.5 hours). Orientation at Lodge.
Days 3-6 – participate in excursions (see below for examples) and hold daily afternoon meetings.
Days 7-9 – Conduct student projects and hold daily afternoon meetings.
Day 10 – Travel back to Iquitios, Lima, and Newark or Philadelphia.
Photo Credit: Dr J. McLaughlin
Lowland and upland forest hikes – these hikes expose students to two very different forest ecosystems. The lowland hike takes place through forest that is regularly flooded during the rainy season with up to 5 meters of water from the river. The undergrowth is relatively sparse (but dense relative to temperate deciduous forest). Dominant trees include giant fig, Cecropia, palm, rubber trees and mahogany. The landscape is dotted with small semi permanent pools and several isolated floodplain lakes. Typical fauna include monkeys, caiman, tree-dwelling rodents, roosting bats, army ants, and several species of birds including toucan, aracari, and macaw. The upland forest is reached by boat up some of the tributaries of the Tahuayo River. The forest here is denser and contains a greater diversity of plants. The terrain is hilly and relatively dry. A significant amount of naturally-felled trees adds to the diversity as they are densely covered with epiphytes. Typical fauna include termites, ground spiders, bullet ants, and the charismatic tree frogs.
Forest Canopy zip line – Exploration of the upper rainforest canopy using a tandem zip-line system that is connected to several old-growth emergent trees located behind the Tahuayo Lodge. We will be mechanically hoisted about one hundred feet onto a platform located in the canopy of a large Ceiba tree. From the platform, individuals are then connected to a system of stainless steel aircraft cables, enabling easy movement from treetop to treetop. This will provide participants the opportunity to observe a wide variety of flora and fauna that cannot be seen from ground level. In fact, certain species of tree snakes and monkeys live almost their entire life in the treetops. Complete safety is assured; however, this is a completely voluntary activity.
Canoeing – Using traditional dugout canoes, groups can navigate off the river into the flooded forest. Canoes are the only way to explore this unique area of dense undergrowth. One can stop and climb the giant prop roots of freshwater mangroves. Several fish can be heard feeding in the area, most of which are piranha. One can also travel by canoe to a lake or Cocha (local name). Unlike other waters in the area, swimming is safe in the lakes. The water is too deep for piranha and bacteria counts are low due to the antiseptic nature of the organics in the water. Pink river dolphin (Inia geoffrensis) are frequently observed during these excursions. Fishing is also optional – typical catch includes peacock bass and piranha.
Night excursions – groups can travel by boat on the Tahuayo River at night to observe nocturnal fauna. The boat travels upriver then drifts silently back to the Lodge. Typical sights include bats, night herons, nighthawks, Kingfisher, and owls. Caiman are also more active at night and can be observed along the riverbanks.
Bird watching – early morning excursions by boat up and down the Tahuayo River is the best way to see the most bird species. On our excursion we observed black collared hawk, black great hawk, scarlet-crowned barbet, tropical kingbird, chestnut-eared aracari, yellow-ridged toucan, macaws, parrots, Amazon kingfisher, crimson tanager, and red-capped cardinal.
Visits to local villages – groups travel to local villages (e.g. Chino or Santa Ana). We meet with the local population for a tour of the village and often a presentation by school-age students. Observation of villagers engaged in daily activity (fishing, food preparation, maintenance of facilities) is emphasized. Interaction with villagers is encouraged and facilitated through translators.
Clear-cut Agriculture – Visits to small (~1-acre) communal agricultural plots provide illustration of local cultivation techniques. Typical crops include manioc, maize, sugar cane, and cocona beans. Typical practice includes weeding and harvesting by hand or use of indigenous substances (e.g. ground mushroom) as natural pesticides.