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2nd Jungle Trip

December 10, 2008

As a biology teacher you dream of being able to do decent ecology practicals. The chance to teach the entire iGCSE ecology module to the whole of year 10 in 9 days in the Amazonian rainforest is a dream come true. However taking 2 groups of 67 pupils to the rainforest is not an easy undertaking. Thankfully Harry organises most of it, although Peruvian logistics makes it more interesting. I am sure that if you were taking a school group through an airport in the UK you would have to tell them in advance and they would arrange for people to get you through check-in, security, airport tax etc. Not in Peru. Chaos comes close to describing the scene in the airport. Add into this ‘Peruvian time’ and things get VERY tricky. In the end, after waiting for kids to get out of Starbucks and dealing with many officious airport staff we made it onto the plane – but we had to run from security to the gate!

 

Composting

Composting

 

 

 

Our first flight took us to Cuzco where we stopped to refuel, and then we continued over the Andes to Puerto Moldonado where we were met by our guides and taken to the offices of Rainforest expeditions for a cold drink of aguaje juice before splitting into groups. The kids that did geography went to a place to talk about sustainability and we went to a ‘tierra de los niños’ run by a local school – it is basically an area of land that has been legally given to the kids from the school for them to run as they want. They have planted a range of gardens with local food and medicinal plants. We were doing a ‘service project’ to help them clear an area for their vegetable garden and paint the signs for the different things they were going to grow. Unfortunately they had very few tools and so most of the kids went for a walk into the surrounding countryside with the guides. We were also treated to traditional music and got time just to talk and play with the kids. It was good fun despite the suffocating heat and humidity!

 

Having fun

Having fun

 

 

We then met up with the geographers at the port and boarded our boats for the hours trip upriver to the lodge at Posada Amazonas ( http://www.perunature.com/pages/home_posada.htm ) which is probably the best lodge in the region.  I had a room to myself which was an unexpected luxury, but only because I was going to be there for the full 9 days and the other staff were only doing 5 days each.  It is an amazing trip.  Each day the activities start at 5 am (4am get up, 4.30 breakfast…), lunch at 1, afternoon activities at 2 pm, dinner at 7 pm and late activities at about 8.30.  The kids get to do all of the different activities;

 

After the rain

After the rain

 

 

Lake – visit an oxbow lake that is home to a family of giant river otters, where they get to fish for piranahs and learn about food chains.  A chance to have a swim in the river on your way back!

 

Sunset

Sunset

 

 

Birds – walk to the 37m Canopy tower and climb up to see what life is like at the top of the forest and then go to a hide overlooking a clay-lick.

 

The tower

The tower

 

 

Mammals – a LONG walk to a mammal clay-lick where they make wax casts of the footprints and look for other signs of mammal activity as well as learning about nutrient cycles, and maybe having a mud fight.

 

Dusky Titi monkeys

Dusky Titi monkeys

 

 

Insects – Walk to a GIANT kapok tree, taste some termites  and also use the capture-mark-release-recapture method to estimate the population of any ant colonies found on the way.  Also a chance to think about classification.

 

Attack!

Attack!

 

 

Ecology – Use various techniques to gather data (transects, quadrats etc.) and design their own research project as part of their coursework

 

Rhino beetle

Rhino beetle

 

 

Night insects – go and look at insects that come out at night attracted by a bright light placed in front of a white sheet

 

Assassin bug

Assassin bug

 

 

Night walk – a slow wander through the jungle at night looking for the telltale  reflection of eyes.  

 

Tree frog

Tree frog

 

 

Night Solo – 20 minutes alone, in the jungle, without your torch.  Tranquil or terrifying depending on your point of view…

Day solo – 20 minutes alone, in the jungle, in the daytime – peaceful time to just look at the life going on  around you.

 

Agouti

Agouti

 

 

Washing up – particularly for those kids who can’t be punctual, can’t use civil language, are far too lazy or are just being a pain!  Dishes from 67 students, 8 members of staff, 8 guides…  not what they’re used to in Lima!

 

The trip is just an amazing oppurtunity – I am so lucky to be able to go!

 

Funny fungi

Funny fungi

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2 comments

  1. I’m sorry, I’m sure you said that you visited a lake with Pirahna in it and you then went for a swim on the way back!!!!

    Are you insane?
    Have you seen the teeth on those little beggars!


    • The piraña are in the lake, we went for a swim in the river… which has cayman in it…



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