People who like new experiences, adventures, and fringe explorations in wild nature love SAVE THE FROGS! Ecotours. SAVE THE FROGS! Ecotours are defined by lasting friendships, impressions, experience, and adventures, where you’ll meet like-minded people and have experiences of a lifetime. The 2016 SAVE THE FROGS! Ecuador Ecotour had people of all ages—from college-aged to senior—from a variety of backgrounds, brought together by a common love of frogs, wildlife, and adventure. The trip included many firsts for the participants, including rescuing an ocelot, ziplining through the canopy, even the first time out of the country or flying solo for some. Read the profiles below of some of the 2016 participants to get a feel of what it’s like to travel with SAVE THE FROGS! and learn about our upcoming ecotours here.

Pristimantis ornatissimus Mashpi Jaime Culebras
Photo of Pristimantis ornatissimus from Mashpi, Ecuador courtesy of Jaime Culebras, who led our group through the Mindo cloudforests.

Jessica Srivener

Q: What do you do for a living?
A: I am an intern coordinator and keeper at Lubee Bat Conservancy in Florida. I feed and take care of more than 200 animals, representing nine different species of fruit bats, a tortoise, sugar glider and two prehensile-tailed skinks. I also assist in non-invasive research and public education. My hobbies are hiking and walking my dog.

Q: What did you come on the ecotour to see, do, or accomplish?
A: I was very interested in seeing Poison Dart Frogs, a species of cat, and a species of monkey and managed to see them all and so many more!

Q: What was your favorite moment of the trip?
A: Probably our stay in the Amazon because going to the Amazon has been a life-long dream of mine and we got to see poison dart frogs, squirrel monkeys, and help assist in the transfer and rescue of a baby ocelot.

Q: What was a first for you on this trip?
A: It was my first time out of the country, river rafting, zip-lining, hiking at that high of elevations and trying all of the different food.

Q: What is something that you weren’t expecting but added to the trip’s experience?
A: I would have never expected us to have a baby ocelot at a lodge we were staying at that needed our help. I also didn't expect to be with such a great group of adventurers and make the connections with everyone that I did which will lead to life-long friendships.

jessica scrivener llamas ecuador ecotour 2016
Jessica Scrivener posing with her new favorite animals

Deborah Blake Dempsey

Q: What do you do for a living?
A: I am a writer and finance manager. My hobbies outside of work are cooking, reading, walking, camping and traveling.

Q: What did you come on the ecotour to see, do, or accomplish?
A: To learn more about amphibians, STF, conservation, and research ideas for The Hoppernots book series.

Q: What was your favorite moment of the trip?
A: No "one" moment, but from the second I left my house for the airport to Ecuador to the moment I boarded the cab to return home. I went with an open mind and no expectations other than to learn and experience something new to enrich my life and my stories. Everything about me was pushed - mind, body, and soul - and I came home a richer, more peaceful human because I opened myself up to what Ecuador and being with 16 other strangers for 12 days could teach me.

Q: What was a first for you on this trip?
A: Ziplining was a first and it was beyond what I could have hoped for. Flying in the cloud forest over the Andes upside with arms open wide and a reaching soul was nothing short of breathtaking. Night frogging was a first too! To be embraced by the darkness of night and a shining light stuck on my forehead looking for frogs and finding sleeping birds hidden in trees, snakes curled up wishing not to be bothered, spiders on a mission, finding strange, hairy, and colorful moths, and roaches the size of my hand was enlightening, and of course, the beautiful and majestic frogs I came to see was the first I was looking for and more. What an adventure! [We would like to add the Deborah was the most fierce and daring on the ziplining trip, even going upside down with her guide when most of the other participants were scared!]

Q: What is something that you weren’t expecting but added to the trip’s experience?
A: The waterfall hike at Ruta de las Cascadas. It was one of the hardest physical things I've done in a long time, but it was more of a mental challenge. I wanted to stop -- again and again I did -- but something inside me kept my feet moving as well as my newly found best friend Bertuus (aka my walking stick of sanity). When I finally arrived at the waterfall and plunged into the cooling waters, surrounded by such beauty, something strange and wondrous happened. Like a baptism, I came up like a new person. The water washed away all the "hardship" of the walk to the waterfall. The walk back was a breeze. I even wondered why I thought the walk there was so bad. It was challenging, but not a bad challenge. I overcame a mental block I had and didn't know it. I can honestly say I am much fiercer after the waterfall.

deborah dempsey waterfall hike ecuador ecotour 2016
Deborah Blake Dempsey after the waterfall hike that changed her life

Mike Horton

Q: What do you do for a living?
A: I am a retired endangered species biologist. My hobbies are writing, reading and pursuing adventures.

Q: What did you come on the ecotour to see, do, or accomplish?
A: Explore South America, hike, bird watch, and search for frogs

Q: What was your favorite moment of the trip?
A: Bird watching the first morning at Casa Divina [We would like to add that Michael’s wife, who was also on the trip, told us that a birder was born that day. The new obsession with birding, which lasted the rest of the trip, was born that morning. Mindo and the incredible guides do that to people!]

Q: What was a first for you on this trip?
A: First time in South America

Q: What is something that you weren’t expecting but added to the trip’s experience?
A: I didn't expect to have such wonderful people on the trip. Some of these folks will likely be friends for the rest of my life.

hiking andes save the frogs ecuador ecotour
Michael Horton with SAVE THE FROGS! Founder Dr. Kerry Kriger on the left and Jessica Scrivener on the right, climbing the mountain overlook above Quito, Ecuador's capital

Choti Singh

Q: What do you do for a living?
A: I assist people with developmental disabilities navigate behavior and mental health challenges to integrate successfully into community living. My hobbies include being in nature around wildlife, photography, spending time with my animals.

Q: What did you come on the ecotour to see, do, or accomplish?
A: To be on a STF! Ecotour; go to South America for the first time; see Ecuador; visit the Galápagos Islands; be amongst the incredible fauna and flora of the rainforest and cloud forest!

Q: What was your favorite moment of the trip?
A: There were so many! Saw iconic frogs, wild toucans, squirrel monkeys frolicking around me, the serenity of tubing down the river...

Q: What was a first for you on this trip?
A: Many firsts! First time on that continent, in Ecuador, ziplining!! First time to see a glass frog in the wild!

Q: What is something that you weren’t expecting but added to the trip’s experience?
A: Ziplining was a trip!

Suchipakari amazon boat Choti a
Choti Singh riding on a Napo River tributary on the way to AmaZOOnico, a wild animal rescue center in the Amazon

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