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

Friday, November 12, 2010

Impromptu stuff...

Every now and again life calls for a lightly grilled French baguette, filled with cream cheese and a thinly sliced piece of pastrami. In the absence of said items, three audacious volunteers decided that life should call for an “Impromptu Night Survey”. Now Impromptu Night Surveys as the name suggests, consists of an unplanned, possibly accidental survey undertaken in the dark of night. It was the first of its kind and its success has ensured that many Impromptu Night Surveys will occur in the near future.

Bells, Mark and yours truly were the intrepid three who set off in search of all things possible in the world of the unimaginable. After a succinct risk assessment briefing where alien abduction seemed to be particularly prevalent, our adventure was momentarily stalled when Bells went in search for her missing glasses. Upon realising that she was currently wearing her glasses our Impromptu Night Survey was back on track. With the Jeopardy theme song going around in our heads and a renewed optimism towards life we set off towards the stream, despite some nagging doubts that if our fearless leader can’t see the glasses on her own face what chance was there to see anything off them.

Our disappointment at seeing nothing but a moth-shaped leaf and a tree that looked like Tony Blair was short lived when Mark saw what I thought was a Southern Miniature Sri Lankan Staring Tree Anaconda. Too excited for words, I ran to spread the news and upon hearing my brief but accurate description, Andy and Olly informed me that no such snake existed and my limited knowledge of snakes had not served me well.

Just when the Impromptu Night Survey team had thought that excitement levels had peaked for the evening, we spotted what appeared to be a cricket hanging from the underside of a leaf. Now this was no ordinary, usual, run of the mill, standard, see everyday type of cricket. This cricket was MID-MOULT. This rare glimpse of the act of moulting has only been observed by few and transfixed our gaze for what seemed like hours. Mark informed me that it had indeed only been 15 seconds and since the act of moulting is not a quick process, Mark and Bells left mid, mid-moult to experience other exciting night time activities such as explaining the intricacies of the game of Gaelic cricket to unsuspecting Ecuadorian graduate students. I however, mesmerized by the moulting cricket watched intently for the entirety of the process (which was successful by the way) before returning to the Comedor for an Impromptu Kitchen Night Survey, which with the exception of an ant, proved less eventful.

Tim Topper - GVI Amazon volunteers, Oct-Dec 2010