Introduction; Chile, summer 2011

Hello all,

For those of you who know me well, you’re probably familiar with my ability to avoid descriptive response in conversation. So, writing and maintaining a blog will not come easily to me. But I’m being strongly encouraged to do so, so I’ll try to keep it interesting for me and whoever takes (not so much) time to read it.

A bit of background on why I’m writing a blog: I just graduated from college in May, and while I’m planning on attending grad school in a couple years, I’d like to spend some time finding out exactly what I’m interested in. In general, I love the outdoors, and combined with my Biology major I’m probably interested in pursuing something in wildlife ecology. So, to prepare me more for school, I’m trying to fill up the next couple of years doing different internships that allow me to spend time as much time in the field as possible. I’m starting off this summer in Chile.

After graduating from Bates in May, I spent a relaxing week and a half at home, and packed to spend two months abroad. Last Saturday (June 11th), I flew down to Santiago, Chile, where I’ll be living until August 12th. I’ll be working under Loren Hayes, also a Bates grad, studying different aspects of the sociality and physiology of the degu (Octogon degus). Degus are diurnal semifossorial rodents, about the size of a large hamster, and endemic to Chile. Also working with Loren are two other recent grads (with whom I’m sharing an apartment) and two graduate students.

Santiago skyline

This internship is a great opportunity for me to combine field work with learning how to develop and answer scientific research questions. Hopefully I’ll get to do a bit of sight-seeing as well. The picture of the Santiago skyline, with the Andes in the background, was taken from Santa Lucia, a beautiful park in the middle of the city. The biggest obstacle about living in Santiago, I think, will be the language barrier. I know very little Spanish, certainly not enough to be self-dependent. But the city seems to be forgiving, and both other students I’m living with speak Spanish very well. So I’m not too worried.

Feel free to share this blog with anyone you’d think would be interested, and please let me know what you’re all thinking. I’m trying to squeeze as much out of these opportunities as possible, so any suggestions would be welcome. I’ll also be posting pictures periodically to my Picasa page, accessible via the links on the top right.

Hope to hear from you!

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12 Responses to Introduction; Chile, summer 2011

  1. Sherron Laurrell says:

    Hi Andrew, Chile! You are truly a world traveller. I enjoyed reading your first post and will look forward to reading more as you share your experiences. I must admit following the story of South American rodents would not have been first choice of a journey to pursue, but for you, I’ll do it 🙂 I’m glad your mom let me know about this blog and your latest adventure. Enjoy every single minute!



    • Andrew says:

      I’ll definitely enjoy it all! As for degus not being the first choice…would it help to know they sell them as pets? Some people (not my mom…) may call them cute.


      • Sherron Laurrell says:

        Hi Andrew,

        I just took the time to go through all of your photos to enjoy them. They are absolutely wonderful! I am so glad you are taking the time to share all of them. I don’t get tired of looking through your collection. I want to join your Uncle Bill in wishing you a belated Happy Birthday! There aren’t many people in the world to whom I can say “I was there when you were born!!” I hope your adventure continues to be exciting and productive. It sure looks like it is from the photos. Keep having fun!



      • Andrew says:

        Thanks! I never get tired of taking pictures. Always seems like a reason to photograph even the same scene over and over.


  2. Bill Baver says:

    Andrew – this is great! I am so excited for you and it seems like you are starting to get settled. Good luck and keep the updates coming. I will spend some more time over your trip to spend more time to provide some really valuable inputs and thoughts! Too busy right now – but I am not worried about the rodents.

    Enjoy and looking forward to the updates!

    Uncle Bill!


    • Andrew says:

      Thanks Uncle Bill! Hope your summer’s going well.


      • Bill Baver says:

        Just catching up again and first, I wanted to wish you a little late Happy Birthday. The updates are great and I enjoyed reading about the way you trap the animals and the work. The city sounds wild – hopefully you are getting to enjoy some of the local life. The recent trip to the mountains sounds (and looked) really great. Keep the updates coming – they are interesting!

        (It is also REALLY HOT back here – like over 100 for a couple of days! Enjoy the cooler weather!)


      • Andrew says:

        Thanks for the birthday wishes! And I’m sure I’ll miss the cooler weather a bit when I get back–my dad sent me a link to the weather for Merchantville, and the heat index was 119 one day.


  3. Steve Shaffer says:

    Have a great adventure, Andrew. The Santiago skyline reminds me a little of Denver. Any summer skiing in the Andes? Steve Shaffer


  4. Emily, Lilla, and Bailey says:

    We want cute degu pictures!


    • Andrew says:

      Working on it…unfortunately the best time to photograph is when we’re watching them and the traps are out, but I can’t take pictures then. But I’ll put them up if I get some!


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