At HNMCS, we recognize that one of the best ways to enhance what’s learned in the classroom is to offer real world experiential learning opportunities. There is no better place to understand the management of nature and the Earth's biodiversity than to explore the habitat of various animals and species in the world-renowned Galápagos Islands' natural environment. During the summer of 2018, HNMCS students were part of a group that included 33 students, five professors, one medical doctor and 10 research scientists that travelled to the Amazon Jungle and the Galápagos Islands.
The first week was spent in the Amazon Jungle, a journey that required 12 hours, including a three-hour speed boat ride and and two-hour canoe trip. Students assisted the research scientists in setting up lures and motion sensor cameras to study jaguars, pumas, peccaries, anteaters and howler, spider and squirrel monkeys. They also studied a wide range of birds, insects, amphibians, reptiles and plants and took part in lectures delivered by the researchers. One canoe trip led to the identification of a previously undocumented flower species. Students also visited Sani village and met native people living in the Amazon Jungle. They learned to cook traditional meals, including eating raw and roasted grubs, toured the jungle to find cocoa and coffee trees, pineapple plants and sugarcane and heard from a global equality/social justice political scientist.
After exploring the Amazon Jungle, students travelled to Santa Cruz Island in the Galápagos where they spent the week learning about and exploring flora and fauna, lava caves, tunnels and craters, marine biology, finches, the Galápagos tortoises, land/marine iguanas and Darwinism. They visited Darwin’s Research Centre, the black marine iguana conservation beach area and went scuba diving to explore two small islands: Daphne Major and Daphne Minor. They also went snorkeling off the island of Santa Fe. It was an amazing opportunity and experience.