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

Friday, June 12, 2009

End of the Phase

It's sad, it's happy, it's amazing: it's the end of phase. The two last days the volunteers have undertaken their final transects, TEFLing and last forays into the jungle. On Monday, while TEFLwas being prepped, some volunteers went out for some chilled out birding and saw such gems as Gilded Barbet (Capito auratus), Lineated Woodpecker (Dryocopus lineatus), Tropical Kingbird(Tyrannus melancholicus) and a Lettered Aracari (Pteroglossus inscriptus).

That night, under a bright full moon, unprecedented dual transects were run. Two squads of volunteers went out, one to Grail and one to Cascada. Both enjoyed great success; highlights included a male Collared Forest Gecko (Gonatodes concinatus) in full breeding colours.

Tuesday! Four volunteers headed to the local school for a final TEFL lesson. The older kids had a more formal lesson with Lizzie and Katherine in the style of Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting, while the younger group enjoyed a more Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society class with Hassan and Dan.

Meanwhile, a couple long treks were held for one last experience of the jungle in the clear light of day. The group were greeted after dinner by a spectacular brownie-toffee-chocolate dessert, which Steph had somehow managed to rustle up from scratch on the open stove. Afterwards, two full-bellied groups ventured out on night-time forest and stream walks. Often, when two groups go out one has more luck than the other, but there was plenty to see for everyone on Tuesday night.

The stream walk set found a five-foot Amazonian Tree Boa (Corallus hortulanus) coiled in a branch above the water, caught a Red-skirted Treefrog (Dendropsophus rhodopeplus), and watched frog spawn hatch into tadpoles and drop into the swamp below. The forest-walkers found the most monstrous frog that many have seen on the reserve. It has been described as “just a... block of... frog,” an “enormous slab of frog,” and perhaps most tellingly, just a wordless look of horror. It was in fact a Smokey Jungle frog (Leptodactylus pentadactylus) – big and burly he most definitely was. They also had amazing sightings of the Yellow-tongued Anole (Anolis chrysolepis scypheus) and the Green Anole (Anolis carolinensis) – fantastic!

It was a fitting end to ten weeks of foresty adventure. People have said that they’ll miss the opportunity to see something new every day, our fellow volunteers, and the homemade granola. But most of all, the answer to “What will you miss the most?” has simply been: “Everything.”