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

Sunday, November 2, 2008


The week began, as weeks usually do, on Monday (so far so good)……16 intrepid eco-volunteers, plus those notorious members of staff (you know who you are) arrived back from Hector’s Island. After a soaking-wet canoe ride (read torrential down-pour) – fun was had by all of course – to Coca (where we had a short stay feasting on all manner of pastries and meats – we were all small Hansels and Grettles bewitched by the infinite varieties of cholesterol) where we hitched a ranchera ride back to camp disembarking in late afternoon.

After a long awaited good night's kip (Hammock sleeping – vis-à-vis Hector’s Island – is not the world’s most comfortable contraption in which to have forty winks),Tuesday dawned and progressed through to Friday (Halloween) naturally enough. The week’s various activities included some local bird mist-netting on the ridge – a glorious number of humming-birds were caught (and some were let go…Jon) and a wonderful Blue-crowned Motmot – in all its regalia – found its way fortuitously into our nets. Two pioneering Shackeltonesque five week BTEC-rs lead their individual bird-surveys….they both did terribly well, so a hearty round of applause and the Royal Geographic Society’s Field’s Medal to them both!!

A small number of EMs departed for sat-camp on the Cascada trail; where they stayed lit by a homely fire overnight, and enjoyed a successful day’s butterfly surveying the following morning – so much so that we thought we might require to follow in the footsteps of Henry Morton Stanley and go and rescue them….EMs I presume? A new area of the reserve – recently trailed – was walked along by a few brave EMs lead by their gallant general Adam C (all returned – none tragically lost thankfully!).

Halloween seemed to arrive in an instant and everyone greeted it with a horrifically ghoulish mood. To mark the event Saturday night was Halloween themed. The evening began well with the camp’s top chef on board – Pete, the apple crumble was delicious – though it slowly went downhill when some of the guys turned up dressed as ladies, particularly because they seemed to enjoy it far too much – Tom & Mark – I have the feeling you do this sort of thing quite often – though you both looked ravishing in your outfits. Everyone else that geared up looked amazing – Andy’s sword-touting pirate was right out of Pirates of the Caribbean, or should that be Pirates of Penzance???

The weekend also involved some fun extra-curricular activities in the guise of tubing – essentially hurling down the river on roped rubber rings whilst trying to hold on with dear life – I am told it was immense fun…a special mention should go to Sophie for managing not to drown herself. In addition all EMs were spiritually cleansed by the local curandero (not a shaman but of a similar heritage) – a very interesting ritual – involving much smoke and brushing of leaves. And finally I would like to record for posterity GVI’s first football win in our local EMs vs. Locals derby – even though there was some funny rule making going on (indoor rules applying to outdoors) – you won far and square guys – if only England could take penalties so well! That rounds off this week’s blog.