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, August 7, 2012

Community Time in the Amazon

Hi all, GVI Amazon BioBlitz news and updates will be online shortly -- we've been delayed due to internet connection problems at base camp, but in the meantime wanted to share with you all some great blogs from recent volunteers and interns about life at GVI Amazon -- enjoy!  -- GVI Amazon

If I had to choose one overall theme for this week at GVI Amazon, it would have to be community partners.  On Wednesday morning, I had my first opportunity to teach English as a foreign language (TEFL) at a local elementary school.  That night, a group of local families and friend came over for dinner and a tour of the science museum volunteers and staff have created at GVI base camp. On Thursday, seven kids and three adults came from the nearby Agua Santa elementary school and spent the day at camp.

I was a bit nervous for my first TEFL lesson, but the kids made it easy. They were so eager to learn and incredibly well behaved. Charlie and I taught the kids how to describe themselves and their friends with words like hair, eyes, mustache, fat, thin, and colours. After the lesson we had a two hour walk back to base through the jungle. Staff member Sateesh and GVI volunteer Mahalia went to teach at another nearby school, Rio Bueno, that same morning.
Wednesday night we were able to have a group of locals -- interested in learning about GVI and the work we are doing in the rainforest -- over to camp for dinner and a tour of the on-site museum. It was really exciting to have so many new faces at dinner. Most of the volunteers enjoyed the opportunity to practise their Spanish skills. Everyone is already looking forward to seeing them again at our Sunday football game.

On Thursday long-term conservation intern Vicky ran her Leadership project. She invited students and parents from the Agua Santa school to base for a day. We showed the kids a Blue Crowned Manakin (gorgeous bird) that Lana caught in a mist net; had them identify butterflies from our traps; and look at mammal pictures from an SD card from one of our motion-sensor camera traps placed in the forest. In the museum the kids got to make animal prints in the sand, learn about potential dangers in the rainforest, and look at butterfly wings under a microscope. Finally, lunch. Again we enjoyed the fresh faces at meal time.

It was great to spend so much time with our community partners this week. Their interest in GVI’s work makes it seem even more worthwhile.

GVI Amazon Leadership Intern Laura Hartman

Laura recently completed her own Leadership project with an incredibly successful presentation on snakes for the local community.  After thoroughly researching the topic, she worked with the doctors at the local clinic (who recently arrived to the Amazon from Quito), helping them learn more about the effects of poisonous snakes found in the area, and different types of treatment.   Laura then presented to a packed classroom, in Spanish, about poisonous vs. non-poisonous snakes, effects of different types of venom on the body, first aid for different types of snakebites, and what to expect when arriving for further care at a clinic or hospital.  The community members were highly interested and full of questions, and extremely grateful to Laura for providing them the opportunity to learn -- way to go Laura!