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

Monday, March 1, 2010

Ahhh... So that is why they call this the ‘rain’ forest!

Well, we have been enjoying our time out here, the surveys have been going well and we have collected some great results. In our free time, us volunteers have been kicking back with some hammock time exchanging stories of back home in our native countries. The sun has been strong in recent months, our sun tans are coming on well, but this has resulted in frequent trips to the local community Puerto Rico for refreshments. One heavenly snack, The Galak biscuit, has the incredible property of never being able to melt. After extensive testing, we are still unsure how this is possible. The biscuits are also used as currency in camp - for three biscuits you can get a week’s worth of clothes washed by a desperate volunteer.

Just as we were getting used to the eleven hours of powerful sunlight a day, someone asked “So if this is the rainforest, where is all the rain?” What a plonker. Their question was answered by a magnitude of rain which we had never before experienced. Despite the fact the rain is a bit of nuisance, we all united in fascination of its sheer intensity. Under the relative shelter of the comedor (dining area), the sound was overwhelmingly loud. The only form of communication possible was hand signals! However, with this amount of rainfall, 15cm in 6 hours, some cool and confusing species emerged from their hideouts. On a volunteer trek to the waterhole, we encountered something that we sure was a 3ft Caecilian – a limbless amphibian that is very rarely sited on the reserve. Excited and unsure what we should do, we sent Bianca back to camp to summon the base camp manager, Andy, and the gang. A few minutes later the troops arrived with cameras and a very excited Andy in tow. The best part of the story was watching Andy’s face. In a split second, as he saw the caecilian, his face turned from ‘little kiddie skipping with a bag of rhubarb and custard’ to ‘the same kid opening a massive present only to find a bag of coal’ – utter disappointment! The words that followed were “It’s a bloody earthworm!. In fairness, not quite the discovery we thought it was, but only in the rainforest can you find a 3ft earthworm!

Benny Mansfield - GVI Amazon volunteer, January to March 2010