BU Abroad: Touching the Sky in Tiputini

Making a trek in search of biodiversity

By Devin Hahn. Text by Benjamin Hall

In the video above, Marlene Riquelme (CAS’10) and Nathan Brown (CAS’10) compare notes on their explorations of the Ecuadorian rain forest.

For Nathan Brown, it wasn’t what he found at the Tiputini Biodiversity Station that had an impact on him as much as what he couldn’t find.

“My time in the jungle made me realize how much of the natural world we don’t see on a daily basis,” he says, “and how much more there is that we won’t see.”

Brown (CAS’10) and Marlene Riquelme (CAS’10) spent last spring in Ecuador on the Quito Language and Liberal Arts Program. Along with studying in Quito, the two visited the Tiputini Biodiversity Station, which is jointly managed by Boston University and the Universidad San Francisco de Quito.

After making the all-day journey into the rain forest, they spent time exploring, marveling at the diversity of life. They saw monkeys, frogs, and turtles, crossed rivers, climbed across the treetops — even ate ants.

Ants? Recalls Riquelme, “Our guide said, ‘You’re only here once.’”

Arthropod appetizers notwithstanding, the newfound appreciation Riquelme and Brown have for the fragile rain forest resonates back to Boston. “Being at Tiputini,” says Brown, “allowed me to put a picture to the sort of devastation that environmental activists on Comm Ave harp about every day.”

Additional editing by John Hawkes.

Devin Hahn can be reached at dhahn@bu.edu.

This article first appeared in BU Today on November 19, 2009.

Leave a Reply