Firefighter’s volunteer trip ends with harrowing jungle escape | News

Jessica Saunders, a Fauquier County professional firefighter based in Upperville, is the type of person who likes to use her vacation days for more than sitting on the beach and drinking, as she put it. During a recent trip to Ecuador, however, “I got more adventure than I bargained for,” she said. Volunteering at an animal conservation site in South America, she had to escape through the jungle when the country was gripped by political turmoil and street demonstrations.







Jessica Saunders holds a woolly monkey named Oded at the Yana Cocha Rescue Center in Ecuador.


An experienced world traveler, Saunders has been on several trips to conservation and wildlife rehabilitation sites, including in South Africa and Florida. Animals have always been her primary passion outside of work, she explained, and her love of travel has always meshed well with that passion.







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A river Jessica Saunders and her companions had to cross on the way through the jungle to Shell


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