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, April 12, 2009

An Action Packed Week

Not so fresh from our last cold beer the night before, it was an excited team of 16 budding enthusiasts that set off from Tena last Saturday, buckets in hand, all eager to reach the final destination – GVI Base

Camp in the Yachana Reserve, Amazon . Our home for the next 5 or 10 weeks is a series of wooden buildings set away from the river and organized around the social hub known as the Comedor (hammocks included!). This is where we will all be sleeping and eating when not out in the rainforest tracking birds, frogs and dung beetles! Mind you, the camp attracts its own array of wildlife, but more on that later…..

In our first week we have been put through our paces in preparation for the weeks to come. This has included the “in jungle” risk assessments; Emergency First Response training; an introduction to TEFL (teaching English); the obligatory camp duties (yes we all get a turn cleaning the camp loos and cooking for the rest of the group) and bird & frog call training (I think camp favourite so far is the star wars frog…we’ll leave the rest to your imagination).

In between all the training we have ventured out on numerous rainforest walks catching our first glimpse of birds, frogs, insects and snakes! Weeks one’s highlights have included three snakes spotted on our first night walk, the Blunt headed Tree Snake, (Imantodes lentiferus); the vibrant and well camouflaged Green striped Vine Snake (Oxybelis argenteus) and the Amazon Tree Boa (Corallus hortulanus). Another group was fortunate enough to find a Cochanella midas, or glass frog, deftly spotted by Lucy W. In camp we have also had a visit from a Coral Snake that we think was a Slender Coral Snake (Micrurus filiformis), casually found hanging out in our wash area and ooh yes, don't forget to ask Hassan about his close encounter with the infamous Wandering Spider (Phoneutria nigriventer) that decided to 'drop in' on him in the shower!

Evenings have been spent playing cards by candlelight (‘s***head a la jungle’), calling for Pygmy Owls (Glaucidium brasilianum) through portable speakers and celebrating our first camp birthday – Happy Birthday Nikki!– with a stunning crumble and a few warm beers round the camp fire.

The end of our first week saw us battling it out on the football pitch with the students from Yachana Technical College….a very sweaty, muddy and surprisingly close game, everyone pitching in with great gusto (and some spectacular hedge diving from Matt!) – final score 3-2……With another action packed week in store I can’t help but think that the fun has only just begun!!!!