BHS students get lessons in biodiversity on Ecuador trip

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By Crystal Nelson

BRIGHTON — Brighton High School students in Melissa Super-Greene’s field biology class spent about two weeks in Ecuador learning about ecosystems in a hands-on environment. About 15 students spent the last year preparing for the trip, which they’ll receive credit for. 


“They took, basically, the things that they learned in their biology classes this past year and we got to expand upon a lot of those concepts and to see and to feel and to touch and to experience the things they learned in biology about the environment and adaptations and about different species and why they are the way they are and why they work where they work,” Super-Greene said. 

  While in Ecuador the students got to visit a number of ecosystems, including a tropical dry forest, tropical wet forest, the cloud forest, wet Andean Mountain forest, dry Andean Mountain forest, the highlands and tundra. They learned that bugs seemed to be bigger in Ecuador and got to observe local wildlife in their natural habitat. They were even able to observe two olinguitos in the wild while at Bella Vista Lodge, the newest discovered mammal, which is part of the raccoon family.

Junior Jenacie Klinger said her favorite part of the trip was going to the school in Ayampe and donating school supplies. The school was very grateful for the donations and the students were able to see the two schools the s

“It was life changing and just coming back it makes me realize that the world is a lot bigger than we perceive it to be,” she said, adding that the experience made her reconsider what she wants to pursue as a career after high school. 

Junior Sara Hagedorn liked going to the Quischwa village where she was able to see how they lived. She liked seeing the pottery and the carvings they made.

Junior Michaela Dietrich said it was an amazing experience that changed her in ways she didn’t expect. 

“I stll can’t find the words to explain how much I loved the trip and what I took from it,” she said. “You come back with a lot of love in your heart for the people that you met and people that went on the trip with you.”

Isaac Morris, a senior at Mountain Vista High School, heard about the program through his cousin, and learned how other cultures can vary vastly from the United States. While in Ecuador, he enjoyed the dime time at the ocean the most, where he discovered a species of hydra. 

“I hope I came away from it a little more culturally aware and sensitive,” he said, adding he would like to go back.

Super-Greene said the field biology class will be traveling to Costa Rica in the summer of 2015 and Belize in the summer of 2016 and that interest in the class has increased significantly from last year.

“I have 32 kids and five parents enrolled. I have parents going on the next trip and we’re meeting up with another school there, too,” she said. “It will be interesting to see how its different, I don’t want to make any assumptions.”

Super-Greene said there is currently a waiting list to get into the class and attend the trip to next year. In the meantime she encourages students interested in the trip to join the waiting list in the event that students drop out of the program.