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

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


It has been close to three weeks since I left Philadelphia for a volunteer expedition with GVI in Ecuador. It took us a day and a half to get from Quito, the capital of Ecuador, to Los Rios which is situated to the East of the Andes. The last leg of our journey was a 30 minute canoe ride down river from Los Rios which took us to the GVI Base Camp which is set up on top of a hill, on the banks of the Napo, a massive river that winds its way through the Amazon.

The first week was a mix between an introduction to camp life, introductory presentations and field walks and talks. As a part of training week we went through an Emergency First Response training course which prepared us to deal with cases of medical emergency. Later that evening we went on our first night walk during which I spotted my first frog, a poison dart frog, which was an exciting moment. On returning from an adrenaline packed night walk I was walking around Base Camp and there it was! 

The first snake of the expedition stretched out on one of the chonta steps. My cousin Naren was behind me and after an abrupt halt he yelled “SNAKE!” according to protocol. I informed Charlie, one of the staff members and while Naren kept an eye on the snake she grabbed the snake tongs and I rushed to get my camera. When I got back the snake had been ID’d as a Blunt Headed Tree Snake and we got some really cool pictures.

What a great start to a month long expedition in the Amazon Basin!

Manu Bajpal - GVI Amazon 4 week volunteer, Jan/Feb 2012