Agronomy Student Experiences the Biodiversity of Chile

Gabriel Ponce in front of Lliama Volcano in Chile.
Monkey Puzzle Trees
Monkey Puzzle Trees

Gabriel Ponce, a junior in agronomy, spent his spring break in Chile with the Natural Resources and Ecology Management Department (NREM) learning many aspects related to ecology and the environment.

He was interested in visiting Chile due to the hiking aspect. “I have always wanted to go to South America. I plan to visit every continent at least once in my life. I knew little about Chile in terms of ecology and landscape, but doing research about the country made me appreciate Chile even more. I knew it would be a great opportunity to experience the biodiversity and picturesque views Chile had to offer,” said Ponce.

His favorite experience on the trip was visiting Conguillío National Park (Parque Nacional Conguillío) and seeing the famous Araucaria Trees, also referred to as Monkey Puzzle Trees. “We were there for two days and the best part was hiking the Sierra Nevada Trail,” said Ponce.

He learned much about the ecological formation and history of Chile. “Some aspects of Agronomy were learned in terms of soil profiles, what aspects of Chile’s soil landscape make it so diverse and abundant in biodiversity,” said Ponce. He said he even helped educate others on the trip about Chile’s agricultural sector and how they have a similar soil profile to Iowa in their prairies due to the many glaciers from the mountains.

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