Summer Enrichment in Ecuador
Posted 08/16/2016 11:08AM
Lovett's endowed summer study and travel funds allow faculty to take advantage of professional development opportunities that might not be feasible during the school year. Lower School Counselor Yasmine Schmid used the funds to participate in the adult trip to Siempre Verde, Lovett's property in Ecuador. Upon her return, she offered this reflection and shared a picture of Senor Nelson and his family, the property's caretakers.

"I had the opportunity to journey to Ecuador this summer with other Lovett faculty and staff, along with members of our families, to the Siempre Verde cloudforest property owned by Lovett since 1996. This trip was slightly different from the annual student trips, as we were able to bring our partners and children and experience a bit more of the region’s incredible resources.

The INTAG region of Ecuador is strikingly beautiful, and the vast diversity of environments, flora and fauna within the region is fascinating. Like the students who’ve visited Siempre Verde, we hiked trails that challenged us physically and mentally and allowed us to reconnect with nature in a way that both humbled us and filled us spiritually. We visited communities and a school that strove to create meaningful purpose and success for their members in a way that was sustainable and respectful of the environment. We learned about the cultural groups who have lived in Ecuador for hundreds, some even thousands, of years, and how their struggles for power and influence have shaped the history of the country. Of course, also we filled our stomachs with new foods (guinea pig meat for some!) and shopped to our hearts’ content for trinkets and gifts for those back home in Atlanta.

There is a greater gift to me, though, than the souvenirs I bought and photos I took of the experience. The gift is that of knowing that I belong to a truly close knit community, one that cares not only for those who work within the confines of a beautiful Buckhead campus but also one that models stewardship of precious natural resources and appreciation for the people who are connected to them. Senor Nelson and his family, caretakers of the Siempre Verde reserve, are as much a Lovett family as any that drives through the carpool lines on a daily basis, and the school his youngest children attend is one Lovett students helped to build. I learned over the course of the trip that the Lovett community is an international one, a caring one that spans languages, cultures and individual differences, as well as one of which I am so grateful to be a member."
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