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, September 6, 2010

A Weekend Away for GVI Amazon

Yasuni National Park was the icing on the cake. I would have never thought that Yasuni would be just as great as Yachana. Once we arrived at the farm, we set up our jungle hammocks. These hammocks were our beds for the next three days. We were also lucky enough to have the legendary Hector as our guide.

Our first afternoon in Yasuni was spent swimming in the Napo River. The river level was low. We had to pull the canoe through ankle deep water, but since it stormed the n
ight before the water level rose. We also had a great time jumping into the water from a big tree that reached across the water.

The next morning we woke up at around 5am. Hector took us to find some clay licks. Clay licks are certain areas throughout the Amazon that parrots gather around in order to lick the clay. They do this because of how acidic a parrot’s diet is. The clay acts as a neutralizer and settles in their
stomach. It took a while before we started to see parrots. Before we knew it there were hundreds of parrots on the ground. It’s like nothing I would have ever imagined. After, Hector took us on a hike to track a warthog-like pig (peccaries). We were able to find tracks but had no luck in the end. We were able to spot two different species of monkeys, which was just as exciting.
At around lunch time, Hector told us about the history of the local indigenous groups in that area. There are certain zones that people cannot enter because of how dangerous the groups could act towards outsiders in protection of their territory. This zone is known as the intangible zone.

The final day of our trip, Hector took us deep into the jungle to teach us different ways to survive. He taught us about different plants used for medicinal purposes. He taught us how to climb a tree using just a vine wrapped around our feet as well as how to set up a trap with very few materials. The materials include a small tree, a rope, and three small twigs. The knowledge given to us will also come in handy in basically any forest around the world.

In the end, the Yasuni trip will be a trip that I will never forget. I have already promised myself that I will go back to Yasuni someday. It was an experience of a life time.

Steve Guidos – GVI Amazon volunteer, Aug-Sept 2010