Young adventurer describes his journey to Amazon rain forest
Tim Kaye introduced guest speaker Owen Bjorgan, who grew up in Queenston, graduated with a BSc in Biodiversity from the University of Guelph and has turned a life-long fascination with nature into an amazing career all by the age of 25.
Owen’s presentation was titled Hidden Corners: East An-des, Ecuador and detailed his journey to the Amazon rain forest and climb to the summit of Sumaco volcano in the Sumaco Napo Galeras National Park.
When Owen arrived in Ecuador rivers were flooded and animals were forced to higher ground. As he pointed out, the rain forest never experiences a dry season it is just wet and wet-ter.
During his five days in the rain forest, Owen encountered and photographed such creatures as the Cane toad, which has created such a problem after being imported to Australia. He also had close-up experiences with a variety of stick insects, beetles and worms that were more than two feet in length.
Owen said that he felt very privileged when told that he was probably the first outsider to visit certain areas of the rain forest. After his trip in the rain forest, Owen was stricken with Dengue fever, a virus carried by mosquitoes. He said that he was fortunate that he had chosen a hostel directly across the road from a hospital. He lost nearly 10 pounds in 48 hours and took two weeks to recover.
The trip up the 3,732 metre Sumaco volcano allowed Owen to pass through a variety of eco-systems with many unique species of flora and fauna. He de-scribed one frightening encounter on the way when he and his guides heard voices and expected to run into bandits only to meet a group of firefighters and a policeman doing wildness training.
Despite the fever, bites, a minor electrical shock and other discomforts, Owen said that he is eager to return to Ecuador because it offers such a unique experience.
That Hidden Corners journey as well as other videos, including one through Niagara, are avail-able online at Biophilic World.
Our May Speaker will be Colleen Beard, Head of the Map, Data & GIS Library at Brock University speaking to “Mapping the Historic Welland Canals One Lock at a Time — My Story”