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, March 25, 2011

The Grand Finale!

It finally all came together – 10 weeks of hard work to plan & build an interpretive trail near GVI Amazon’s base camp finally came to fruition as we hammered in the last nail and the trail was finally done! The trail contains scientific information about the Amazon Rainforest and the Yachana Reserve. It is designed for tourists from the nearby Yachana Lodge who visit the reserve, to give them more information on the ecosystem that they are visiting. The previous path used by visitors had no major points of attraction, while the new route made by GVI volunteers goes past a giant Kapoc tree, a species known to locals as ‘king of the forest’, and explains other important parts of the rainforest ecosystem, such as tree falls, strangler figs and stilt palms.

The information signs along the trail were designed, painted and constructed by GVI Amazon volunteers – we even carried the fallen wood for the signs through the forest to base camp in the pouring rain! Despite the rain, we still had great fun getting the wood to camp and preparing the signs.

Once we had all the wood at base camp, we shaped the signs and a writing and painting marathon began! All of the volunteers and staff contributed and got creative with words and all sorts of artwork. The comedor (our communal eating/meeting area) was filled with colour pots and brushes. It was so exciting to see all these beautiful drawings of plants and animals appear in the signs – everyone did a great job!

In our last week at camp, equipped with all the signs, tools, nails and stones, the entire group hiked out to the kapok tree. Once there, everyone pitched in – hammering, levelling, hole-filling and sign-stabilizing – and by 12:00 it was all done. Whoo-hoo, what a great project to be part of! Putting the signs in and finishing the project in the last week of the phase, before everybody went their separate ways, was a really good way to round off the end of our time together and allowed us to see the final product of all our hard work.

A big thank you to everybody who contributed – your designs and handiwork will be seen by hundreds of tourists over the coming months and years, as they admire the kapok tree accompanied by our beautiful signs and gaining a better understanding of the habitat they are visiting.

Anja Robel GVI Amazon long-term intern, Jan-June 2011, and

Phil Brown – GVI long-term intern, Oct 2010-Mar 2011 (soon to be GVI staff!)