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, June 5, 2010

Bushbashing Adventures

When I joined the GVI Amazon Ecuador expedition I was looking forward to spending time in the Amazon rainforest, seeing the flora and fauna, and taking part in biological surveys. All of these things have been amazing and far exceeded all expectations. I’ve caught and held beautiful butterflies, found fabulous frogs, seen a snake and had a bat fly into me. It is so beautiful here and I’ve seen such cool thing and made amazing friends.

The biggest surprise however was that one of my favourite activities has been mapping tributaries to the main stream in Yachana Reserve. It sounds simple, really… follow the stream until you find a tributary, then walk up it marking turns in its course with the GPS until it runs out.

What it really involves is numerous falls, swimming in gumboots, clambering over logs (even if it does take you three tries to do it), jumping over fallen trees, and wading through deep water where the (hopefully fictional) five foot long caiman supposedly lives. And that’s just getting to the tributaries.

We climbed, not one, but two waterfalls. True, there were easier ways up, but it’s so much cooler to be able to say you climbed a waterfall. We ran up an enormous fallen tree that provided a very convenient bridge to higher parts of the tributary. We climbed over, under and through tangled vegetation, carefully edged past wasp nests and stinging plants and animals, rushed through ant-infested areas, and, as a last resort, machete-ed a way through.

Six tributaries were mapped over two days. On the second day heavy rain and limited time forced us to stop, so we further water-logged ourselves by going for a swim, fully clothed and wearing our ever fashionable gumboots, and taking silly photos. We added to our already impressive collection of cuts, bruises, stings and insect bites (jungle battle scars) but it was all worth it seeing our tributaries appear on the map. In all it was great fun with fabulous company.

Jackie Le Roux - GVI Amazon volunteer - May-June 2010