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, August 1, 2011

INTERN CORNER: Excursión al Yaku Kawsay – Centro de Interpretación

Anja Robel and I partipated in GVI Amazon’s 6-month Conservation Internship, and were lucky enough to be only the second interns ever placed at the community of Sani Isla, about 6 hours down the Rio Napo from the GVI Amazon base camp. In Sani, we have been doing land-use mapping to use a preliminary data to later plan survey work at Sani, and have been teaching nonstop in the community school, both English and natural science classes! To combine with our sciences classes, we (with some financial help from Anja´s family and friends!) organized a school field trip to the Yaku Kawsay interpretation centre for the students in year 10. This is one of the first opportunities for students to participate in a trip of this sort, and it was very successful! We aim to create further arrangements to take the entire school over a number of trips.

The centre is located in Nueva Providencia, a 30 minute canoe ride towards Coca on the Rio Napo from the community of Sani Isla. The Centre consists of four bamboo constructed cabins. The first is aimed at educating and creating awareness of the animal species that live in the Amazonian rivers and their interrelations, through guided talks in one of the cabins that holds life size animal models.

Another cabin is designed at creating awareness of the Yasuní national park, with illustrated signs to inform of the high biodiversity of Yasuní, different cultures that inhabit the biosphere reserve and environmental threats the area is currently facing.

The centre also holds a cabin designed for an introductory talk upon arrival into the centre, with a television that played a video about environmental effects of oil pollution in areas around the Rio Napo and how this affects local communities. Perfect for a lesson plan we had after the trip about how natural oil reserves are formed and used!

The fourth cabin holds artesanías, made by the men and women of the Nueva Providencia community. Preparing for the first field trip with the school, we gave each student a notice for their parents about the trip, and made a list of students attending to post in the class room, so they wouldn’t forget! We held the field trip on Saturday the 18th June, Hope took the students while Anja went to Sani lodge for our regular English classes for the staff there. There are only 11 students in year 10 so we invited three adults from the community, Carlos, Victor and Jason. The center limits groups up to 15. Anja ensured the canoe left with lunch food for the students in good time, to collect us from port at 8. Only one student didn’t show up, but another who had dropped out of the school previously came to fill the gap!

When we arrived to the port of the centre there was a Yaku Kawsay employee to meet us, then we took a 30 minute walk to the centre. When we arrived we all had an introductory talk about the centre, and were split into two groups to be taken on guided talks through the other cabins. The first group went into the cabin about Yasuní while the other went straight into the aquatic centre. The students I was with were very interested in the descriptive signs about the high biodiversity and Victor took lots of pictures! Our group then went through to the Aquatic centre. The students and adults really enjoyed this part! It all proved very educational.

We all then met in the artesanías cabin, with a small talk about this aspect of the community’s traditions. After that, we had lunch in the first cabin where intro talks are held. The main manager of the lodge was away so we didn’t have any sandwiches prepared! Two pieces of fruit each and two big bags of biscuits went around the group well though. After lunch the guide put some videos on, the first about the biodiversity in Yasuní, then another about a local project working to rehabilitate turtle hatchlings into the rivers. The third was to show the effects of oil pollution in local areas and its effect on the communities. This video definitely caught the most attention from the students!

After that we took a paddle canoe ride down a small tributary, on which the centre is located, towards the main river. It started to rain heavily, but luckily we had some Sani ponchos! We all huddled under those for the canoe ride, with Brunos music box playing in the background! As soon as we got around to the big canoe we dove in and headed for home. A very wet canoe ride home, but a great time had by all! We look forward to helping with the arrangements for future interns to take years 8 and 9 to Yaku Kawsay, and eventually hope to have all the students participate in such a valuable educational experience!

Hope Swift, GVI Amazon Conservation Interns, Jan-June 2011



Anonymous said...

Anja and Hope - that is awesome!! Where are you both now? I hope you enjoyed your placement, would love to hear more about it if you get the chance to mail me. Cheer, Karina