Wisbech Grammar School students action packed enjoy trip of a lifetime to Ecuador

One of the work parties with the bus shelter which the students completed for the local Shuar commun

One of the work parties with the bus shelter which the students completed for the local Shuar community. Picture: STUART MILLER - Credit: Archant

Twenty-five students have returned from a trip of a lifetime of Ecuador.

Lee Clarke with a giant tortoise. Picture: STUART MILLER.

Lee Clarke with a giant tortoise. Picture: STUART MILLER. - Credit: Archant

During the three week expedition the students, accompanied by two members of staff and two guide leaders, followed in the steps of the naturalist, Charles Darwin.

The tour party was split into two teams - one group hiked and camped in the Ecuadorian Andean Highlands and the other team scaled the extinct volcanic peak of Pasachoa, which, at 4,200 metres, is three times the height of Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis.

The whole group spent a week on the Ecuadorian province of the Galapagos Islands, where Darwin’s observations of the wildlife played a pivotal role in helping him to shape his evolutionary theory.

During the expedition students came face to face with whales and tarantulas and enjoyed hands-on encounters with sea lions and giant tortoises.

David MacLachlan with a sea lion pup. Picture: STUART MILLER.

David MacLachlan with a sea lion pup. Picture: STUART MILLER. - Credit: Archant


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To round off the trip the students spent a week in primary rain forest working with the indigenous Amazonian Shuar people on community projects.

One team repaired and rebuilt a bridge across a large stream which floods in winter, hauling stone, dragging timber and hammering in the planks.

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The other work party built a shelter for children who have to catch a bus, carting leaves up a steep hillside.

In-between the three phases the group members were based in Ecuador’s vibrant capital city, Quito.

They also visited Otavalo, a large Andean town famed for its huge market.

One of the expedition leaders, Dr Stuart Miller, who is head of biology at the school, said: “The purpose of the trip was to encourage students to consider global issues and to get them to step out of their comfort zone – and, as a biologist, I wanted them to see the Galapagos Islands’ unique flora and fauna.”

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