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Rainforest hero leaves Brazil for Los Angeles

Hilton Oyamaguchi was born in Brazil, and spent the majority of his childhood adventuring through the rainforests so many North Americans dream of seeing. It may be difficult to imagine, but this poised academic is more accustomed to wading through the Amazon than speaking on Los Angeles panels.

Oyamaguchi earned a bachelor’s degree in the biological sciences, and has now applied to UCLA’s PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Oyamaguchi’s fight to preserve biodiversity in his home country brought him to America before he could even speak English. He dove into the intensive culture shock of a full-time PhD program, in a language he could not speak, in order to protect the ecosystem he grew up with.

Oyamaguchi has tracked crocodiles, snakes, and birds through the rainforest, and he recalls driving through the Brazilian wilderness with fondness. “I felt like I was inside a National Geographic documentary” he says, “I knew then, that I had found it.”

Oyamaguchi began a new stage of his commitment to the environment when he presented at G2 Gallery’s Young Environmentalists Symposium last Thursday: public outreach. Although he says that he is most comfortable in academia, Oyamaguchi is still dedicated to bringing science to everyone who cares about the environment. Oyamaguchi will wade through the rainforest, work in a lab, or speak to a panel if it will help protect the natural beauty he grew up with.

To read the full article by Courtney Hayden on the Sierra Club Green Home website click here.