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

Wednesday, December 7, 2011



Al otro lado del río

So... when we were scheduled for the raft challenge at the GVI 2nd Official 24-Hour Survey Challenge, we were quite excited about making a super speed boat out of jungle materials.

We had everything we needed to win: local knowledge, an awesome team of girls and one of the most valuable resources for crafting around here, balsa wood.

Balsa means raft in Spanish, so we were pretty convinced that it would work.  We had a sketch, we had the energy (kind of) and we had Charlie chopping at a fallen tree at 1 am.

With the challenge starting at 8 am, we hid the materials (balsa and lianas) until the morning.  At the starting time we met the guys down at the waterhole.  I decided to invite our ranger, Abdon, to the race and he showed up with a sonrisa en la cara and a machete in hand.

Both teams quickly started building their rafts: the guys seemed like a bunch of pirates with a plan, the girls had a very well tied up raft (go Amanda!) that they tested (upside-down) before the race.

And then, from the corner of my eye, I saw Abdon cutting three logs like a knife through butter, and building a balsa that could take you to Iquitos (Peru) in 20 minutes.  We decided to ask him to take part on the race, which made the boys rather nervous.  At 9 am sharp, at the sound of "1, 2, 3, GO!", all teams started to make their way across the waterhole.  The boys and girls hadn’t made it to the other side when Abdon was already back.  After that it was a pretty tight race, but right at the end, five metres from the end line, the girls sped up like steam (thanks to Vicky’s rowing technique, for which she received an award) and they won the raft challenge!

It was one of the most exciting challenges and we all definitely learnt another lesson from the one we call “The Don”.

 Isabel Varela, Field Staff, GVI Amazon