Everyone’s a biologist in the Mashpi Laboratory

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It’s one thing to glimpse the mega-diverse flora, fauna and beauty of the Andean tropical forest outside of Quito, Ecuador; another entirely to understand and appreciate what you’ll see. Mashpi Lodge, set amid 6,177 acres of cloud forest in the Mashpi Biodiversity Reserve, assures that guests will be able to do both with its interactive Mashpi Laboratory, opened in July 2017.

Located right onsite just steps from the main Lodge, the Laboratory offers opportunity for guests to interact with and learn from Mashpi’s resident biologist and guides. The interior space of the Laboratory, stretching 65 sq. feet within a glass structure, is arrayed with myriad exhibits such as amphibian and reptile terrariums and pinned insects, including flamboyantly colored butterflies, bees and bugs.

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As innovative as the Lodge itself, the remarkable thing about the Mashpi Lab is that as well as being a functioning scientific facility, it is a showroom, museum and a hands-on biology classroom with an important mission.

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Guests can lend a hand with the Lodge’s ongoing Camera Trap Project, learn about microphotography in the Mashpi Laboratory’s studio where the often-elusive denizens of the Tropical forest are studied, photographed and catalogued.  Conservation work is also available for those interested in learning as they go, with opportunities to assist in identifying and documenting the colour, size and other characteristics of insects.

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Meanwhile, children are invited to join in guide-led nature scavenger hunts, searching out and making plaster casts of foot and paw prints for inclusion in the Laboratory or to take home as souvenirs. The Laboratory also offers a stereomicroscope with two eyepieces – much easier for young eyes to use to examine things up close.

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 The Mashpi Laboratory is open daily from 8:30am to 10pm and upon request.

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