Watch out for the Baboons: Three weeks at a research station in a rainforest in Uganda

April 24, 2009 - 12:00pm

Don and his wife Becky, their son Greg and his wife Debra, their two daughters Briana and Paria (ages 12 and 4), and son Wiley (age 2) spent most of February 2009 going to, staying in, and returning from Uganda.  Greg and Debra were the UCLA faculty leaders of a group of 15 undergraduates, two graduate students, and one postdoc on a biology field trip.  At times Don and Becky were in-effect running a day care center at the research station while Greg and Debra were working with the students.  However, it was seldom dull as in a sense the rainforest came to the research station: baboons, monkeys, an antelope, birds, lizards, and fascinating insects.  Almost every day we went on a hike in the rainforest with its mix of primates, birds, butterflies, other critters, flowers, and fungi.  We often saw ample evidence that dangerous forest elephants were not very far away. Our rainforest and research station experiences were very different from the typical tourist safari where one rides around the savannah in a minivan or other vehicle and stays in up-scale lodges or hotels.   Although at the very end of our stay we went on several game drives and one riverboat ride where we saw some of the large animals that populate the savannah but not the rainforest.   Don's presentation will consist almost entirely of photos:  getting there, the research station, the rainforest, the savannah, and the ordeal of getting back.

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