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

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Sunday Afternoon Drive on GVI Amazon

On Sunday afternoon we took a canoe journey along the Napo River in the sunshine to the village of Mondaña and the Yachana Lodge.

Douglas, the founder of the Yachana Foundation was in 'town' and spared us some time to speak about the foundation and answer our questions. He explained a little about how he came to set up the foundation and the obstacles faced, for example in the acquisition of land. It became evident that, to him, the education of local populations was of primary importance when considering the preservation of the rainforest. In this respect, 80% of the students currently boarding at the Yachana High School were from local indigenous populations. This can be compared to just approximately 5% in the state schools.

We took a while to relax at the lodge, taking in the breathtaking views and observing the Yellow-tufted Woodpeckers (Melanerpes cruentatus), Russet-backed Oropendolas (Psarocolius angustifrons) and Yellow-rumped Caciques (Cacicus cela) in the colourful gardens. It is not hard to see why the lodge is a popular tourist desitination.

A walk through the village of Mondaña took us into the Yachana Technical High School itself. Sunday afternoon saw students relaxing and playing volleyball and football. We took the opportunity to see the dorms, IT Centre and classrooms of the high school; new classrooms under construction providing evidence that the project is still expanding. It is an impressive high school and no wonder that applications outweigh places available. That said, the high school can still provide board and education for approximately 78 students at a time.

The afternoon was complete with the more energetic of our group joining the students in a game of football, before heading back to base camp with the sun setting behind us.

Sasha Johnson – GVI Amazon volunteer Oct-Nov 2010