BOONE, N.C. — In summer 2018, Appalachian State University students and faculty embarked on a study abroad journey to the Andes Mountains of Peru to participate in critical climate research projects. They gazed upon Machu Picchu, slept in tents at subfreezing temperatures and hiked to elevations over 18,000 feet, taking scientific measurements to better understand the effects of climate change.
Join them on their journey as captured in these nine short videos by Appalachian videographer Garrett Ford and audio engineer Dave Blanks, both from University Communications.
- Peak to Peak
Eleven Appalachian students, led by Dr. Baker Perry — who is recognized worldwide for his research in high altitude precipitation and climate change — hike into the Peruvian Andes Mountains, where they are challenged both physically and academically.
- Sister universities, sister mountains
Learn about the collaborative climate research shared by Appalachian and UNSAAC, a public university in Cusco, as well as how the weather stations there and at Grandfather Mountain in Linville, North Carolina, are providing critical predictive information.
- Machu Picchu
Hear from two Appalachian students as they make their way through Peru’s Sacred Valley. Learn about their hike to Montaña Machu Picchu, the magnificence of the view from the mountain, the ingenuity of Incan architecture and the value of sustainable tourism.
- The Trek
Appalachian students leave the comforts of the more populous areas of Cusco, Chinchero and Ollantaylambo, and set up their first campsite in Pucarumi. Dr. Baker Perry details the rigors of the eight-day, 60-mile trek to the ice cap at Quelccaya, and a student shares her efforts to adapt to ever-changing surroundings and a 5,000-foot elevation increase.
- Citizen Scientists
An Appalachian graduate student explains the enormous value of the work of Peruvian citizen scientists — individuals who voluntarily contribute their time, effort and resources toward scientific research in collaboration with professional scientists — to the Appalachian team’s climate research in Peru. Also, a student from Peru shares she is glad to be contributing to science in her homeland.
- On Quelccaya
The weather station atop the Quelccaya Ice Cap provides critical climate data. University professors explain its capabilities and the value of the data. Students share their experience on the ice cap and in the snow pit laboratory.
- Study Abroad
Study abroad experiences like this expedition distill the Appalachian Experience. In Peru, the students were immersed in a different culture and endured both physical and mental challenges. Research was validated and put to real-life practice. Here, students describe the value of study abroad.
- Outside the Classroom
Dr. Baker Perry and his students describe the nature and rigors of field study abroad. Learn how they predict weather for a night on the trail and glean knowledge from the terrain, and what impact these out-of-the-classroom experiences had on their exchange of ideas.
- The Culture
Peru is a country of great history. Here, students share their favorite takeaways from the trip. Key themes include the work ethic of the citizens, one citizen’s lessons learned from lifelong trekking and the Peruvian’s pragmatic approach to life. The students take part in a weaving demonstration in Chinchero.
What do you think?
Share your feedback on this story.
About Appalachian State University
As the premier, public undergraduate institution in the state of North Carolina, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls more than 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.