The End of an Era

After over 6 years of intensive research and community development work in and around the Yachana Reserve, GVI Amazon is coming to a close. We have finished our final research project (look forward to our Road Effects paper, coming soon!) and are handing over the project to our partner, The Yachana Foundation. They will continue to maintain and monitor the reserve, using it as an hands-on science education center for students -- we're very excited to see what fabulous things this next generation of scientists find! For more detail on GVI Amazon's closure, and our accomplishments over the years, please read on...
GVI Amazon Closure Statement

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The other side (of the river)...

Sunday was our first visit to Yachana High School and EcoLodge. The school and their work with agriculture and micro enterprises was very impressive. After our tour we headed off to the Yachana Lodge for a well earned cup of “real” coffee, a very kind treat from the very kind Germania, our fearless leader.

With coffee in our bloodstream and bravado on our minds we (well, the “chicos” from GVI) took on the Yachana students in a game of football. Having had no practice and many players not having played for more than a decade, Team GVI walked away with a respectable draw… and several battle scars.

On Monday the real work started. My group was the first group to venture into the wilds on “sat camp”. We were shown the jungle hammocks and how to tie them in knots and then set off to the Cascada Camp, so named for the beautiful waterfalls nearby. Arriving in a pool of sweat we set to pitching our hammocks, getting the fire going and setting the bat nets. Once night had fallen we started checking the net and in total found 4 bats. These microchiroptera were measured, recorded and set free. All in all a successful camp.

On Wednesday some of us took the opportunity to trial a survey method for the new water quality project. This project entails using indicator macroinvertebrate species found in streams as an indicator for water quality and habitat value. Using a “kick net” and a larger sediment net we found quite a few aggressive insect larvae which were collected for identification back at camp. Along the way we also found a juvenile bird that seemed to have fallen from its nest, a millipede that smelled strongly of marzipan, two young catfish and a sardine-like fish.

Saturday was our second ‘pub’ night. All the girls made an effort to dress up, with the best dressed going to Hannah (whose birthday we were celebrating) who had a skirt made for her by another EM (Sophie P) out of “My Little Pony” material she found in Quito. The evening kicked off with a game of ‘who can bend the lowest and pick up an ever decreasing size cereal box from the floor with their teeth’ (amazingly we seem to be a flexible lot, with 7 EMs being able to go right to the ground). This was followed by a very inventive game of jungle twister using frog, bird, wellies, machete, binoculars and snake as symbols – apparently, given the size of the playing area and the slightly sadistic nature of fellow EMs, many participants were quite sore in the morning.

More next week!
Anna Ferguson