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

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Six Month Reflection....

Looking back to the beginning of 2010, it’s easy to forget how different everything was; laden down with what I hoped would prove to be all I would need for the next 6 months, I shivered my way onto a plane from a snow-hit Heathrow and promptly wondered what I had let myself in for. I needn’t have worried; it’s almost the end of my internship here and day to day life feels so normal that I almost have to pinch myself as a means to remind me where I am and what has changed.

It is an understatement to say that it’s been special: at the turn of the year I really didn’t appreciate the immense scale and complexity of the Amazon rainforest and the incredible diversity of species here, nor the science behind conservation or the challenges in trying to protect this precious habitat. Besides what I’ve seen and heard in the rainforest itself, I’ve had the opportunity to gain an insight into Ecuador that I probably wouldn’t have had from just travelling around. The local communities that we’re privileged enough to be living close to are warm, kind and welcoming – and that’s proven the case in the other parts of this strangely endearing country which I’ve visited as part of the programme here.

I think privilege is the word I would use to sum-up my time here at GVI Amazon; firstly for being in a position to be able to come and do something like this in the first place, but also because in addition to all the unforgettable experiences I’ve had along the way, I’ve also met some fantastic people and made some great friends, making the trip that little bit more special. Now I’m on the verge of returning to midsummer London, I’m faced with the same situation: what am I letting myself in for? With any luck – and possibly a forlorn hope this – sunshine. Seriously though, I’m hoping that enriched and enthused by my time here, I can put what I’ve learned to good effect, meaning that this wasn’t just a six-month sojourn, but the start of something new. So thank you GVI and thank you Ecuador; I hope to see you both again at some point in the future.

Tom Smith - GVI Amazon Conservation Intern - Jan-Jun 2010