Kaylie Allen Studies Biology in Peruvian Rainforest

ONEONTA, NY – Kaylie Allen of Oswego saw not one, but four jaguars in the wild while traversing Peru’s Manu River in a small boat filled with fellow SUNY Oneonta students.

The jaguar sightings were among many exciting moments during the 22-day tropical biology summer field course, which also included a rare glimpse of an anaconda curled up on a tree trunk in the Manu River.

After a week in the Andes Mountains, including a visit to the ancient Inca ruins of Machu Picchu, the group settled at a tourist lodge adjacent to Project Buena Vista, a nonprofit organization founded by Reyda and his wife to protect the flora and fauna of a 100-acre swath of rainforest in southeastern Peru.

There, the students immersed themselves in tropical biology with hikes and lab activities. A highlight of the trip was a week-long visit to Manu National Park, a 6,000-square-mile protected area that’s accessible only by boat.

“No matter how much I brief the students on it, they don’t really realize how much wildlife they’re going to see,” said associate professor of biology Florian Reyda, who co-led the course with biology professor Donna Vogler.

A liberal arts institution with a strong focus on undergraduate research and service learning, SUNY Oneonta consistently gains recognition for delivering excellence and value.