Your Exotic Dream Trip to the Amazon Could be Beneficial or Detrimental to the Region. A McDaniel Research Team Will Research Why.

A map of the Amazon River Estuary

For our Forest Online course project, we want to inform others of the benefits and determents that ecotourism has on the Las Piedras river area. This research trip is done through the environmental department at McDaniel College in Westminster Maryland. This group of four research students are a part of a group of sixteen students going to the Peruvian Rainforest. This group has been tasked with researching Ecotourism in the area. Ecotourism according to the Oxford English Dictionary is, “tourism directed toward exotic, often threatened, natural environments, intended to support conservation efforts and observe wildlife.”. This tourism helps to bring money to places desperately in need of funding. Through our research, we hope to educate the public about the benefits and determents of ecotourism in, especially vulnerable places. This research team will be visiting the Peruvian Amazon as seen on the map above.

Time to meet our research members:

Research Team. From the Left Chandra, Megan, Tim, Emma.

Hi, my name is Megan Gorsuch, and I am a junior studying Kinesiology and Spanish at McDaniel College. I am a member of the swim team and Global Fellows at school. In my free time I enjoy baking desserts and watching Netflix. The Amazon rainforest has always fascinated me because of its high biodiversity and diverse cultural groups. I decided to take this trip to learn more about the forest and immerse myself in a new and different cultural experience. Through visiting, I hope to learn about ecotourism and come back to the United States and educate others about the Amazon and ecotourism within it. I think this trip is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I am so excited to               be a part of it!

Hi, my name is Emma Findeisen I am a junior here at McDaniel College. I am currently studying to be a dual major in both History and Environmental Studies with a concentration in Policy and Management. I am also the president of the environmental club here on campus called Green Life. In my free time, I work on a sheep farm not far from campus. I also really enjoy soccer, murder mysteries and traveling. I am really looking forward to this trip to the Peruvian Amazon, I learn about the Amazon all the time and class and I am so excited to actually visit there and hopefully be able to make a difference. Through the trip I hope I am able to gather valuable information as to how everyday people in America and other places can help save the world through their everyday actions. Sometimes it is really hard to save a place so far away from where you live, and one can only dream about visiting. My goal in this trip and through the next couple blog posts is to better educate those who want to help by supporting ecotourism in the Amazon or other threatened natural areas around the world.

Hello, I am Timothy Olson and I am a sophomore here at McDaniel college majoring in Environmental Studies with a specialization in biology. Growing up I was always fascinated with the wide expanse of animals one could find in their own backyard. From the small metallic bee that would land on wild thistles in the garden, to the larger snapping turtles I would see lugging around in pond at my local pond. These animals are extremely fascinating, and I have been teaching about them through Parks and Recreation for seven years now. Working at Fountain Rock Nature Center as a reptile handler, camp counselor, and nature presenter.

As an aspiring wildlife educator, I am going into environmental studies to better understand how the animals I observe impact our planet. What bugs pollinate what plant, what does a certain predatory mammal hunt for food. These small details influence the overall ecosystem, and how can I teach about these impacts.

How does my background influence the trip to Peru? I have constantly urged people to find the wonders in their own backyard because it is harder for people to see more exotic animals; however, I do not want to disregard these animals. For those who can go to exotic areas how can they travel and explore these wonderous places without damaging the world they are visiting. No matter where someone goes, they should try to leave the smallest ecological footprint. Especially in places such as the Amazon as it is getting smaller and smaller largely due to the current affairs relating to ecotourism.

Hi, I’m Chandra! I was born in India in 1998… lol just kidding I won’t start that far back but, I am a junior at McDaniel College, which is a small liberal arts college located in central Maryland. Having grown up in central Maryland as well, I always look forward to any possible chance to take a step out of the familiar but comfortable community I’ve lived in for my whole life. I just semi recently changed my major to Cinema, from my former major biology. This is because I realized I love capturing the beauty of nature rather than learning about it. I also am minoring in environmental science because I do have a deep love for the environment, but I don’t want to be a scientist. I am hoping to eventually become a content producer for an advertising agency for a non-profit agency that helps protect the environment. I think this trip to the Amazon will quite literally a test run of what I want to do in my life.


An image of the Las Piedras Research Center in Peru.

Background of the Trip:

This trip to the Amazon is a 20-day excursion from Jan 2nd to 22nd. On this trip we will be using our digital storytelling techniques that we will have developed by then to help illustrate a compelling persuasive narrative that conserves the Amazon or educates the public. Prior to the trip a group of selected students from McDaniel College will take an hour and a half class to prep for this trip to the Amazon that covers how travel to the amazon and persuasive storytelling techniques. The students will be broken up upon interest into subgroups in which they will be allotted a camera, GoPro and two tripods in order to collect content in the Amazon regarding there group topic. Come time of the trip we will have a very rigorous schedule upon departure. The research station we will be staying at on the Las Piedras River is pictured on the right courtesy of LPAC research center website.

A picture of Puerto Maldonado, Peru

In the Spring Semester following that January, the same group of students will work together to cut and edit their final product together to create a persuasive and alluring narrative as their final project for a public audience at McDaniel College.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s