The Perfect Storm

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This morning birding was cut short! We were looking for pink dolphins but like their reputation they were very shy today! Instead, we took an amazing tour of the Indiana market! Yes I am from Indiana U.S.A. but I was in Indiana, Iquitos, Peru. This community was more developed than some of the other river populations. Paved streets, electricity, population in the 1000’s and automobiles made this a more familiar lifestyle than the others we visited.

As I ate breakfast, I looked across the tables at the amazing group of people who I have shared this journey with and couldn’t help but feel a wave of sadness roll through me. This wasn’t just any teacher professional development. It was an emotional journey of learning, friendship, facing fears, cooperation, exploring and a love of the Earth.  I was not ready for this journey to end, but I knew this day would come.

Before we left for Monkey Island, which I was sooo looking forward to, we hiked to the amazing Ceiba tree! As I walked through the mud and the muck, the trail widened and the Ceiba tree appeared. It’s size was both intimidating and awe-inspiring. From the base up, it looked like the tree went on forever. It stood strong and proud as if to say, “I am the great Ceiba. I one part of this beautiful place you call the Amazon. I call it home!”  This was the perfect stage to document the friendships forged here!

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After our photo ops, we left for Monkey Island. This is a monkey rehabilitation center whose aim is to not just educate people like us but to return monkeys to the wild. Many of these monkeys were rescued from the pet trade. I had been looking forward to this visit! I LOVE monkeys!

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After the morning fun,  we headed  back to Ceiba Tops for a shower, pack up and eat lunch. Packing was interesting! I had to creatively find room for my fragile souvenirs in between sweaty, smelly jungle infused clothes! After playing what I call Luggage Tetris, I was ready to go, but I wasn’t.  The storm was coming.

We took boats to Iquitos and busses to the airport. After checking in our luggage, we said farewell to our wonderful jungle guides and the Amazon. The farewell was bittersweet.   Once you experience the Amazon, you feel drawn to it in a way that seem innate. I knew I had to leave but I felt like I was leaving a part of me behind!  Once inside the airport gate, I was distracted from this sadness by the joyous banter of my Amazon amigos.  We ate, talked and laughed a lot. This was a great transition from heartache to the flight.

I slept most of the flight from Iquitos to Lima. I was eager to get out of my seat but not for what was coming – the goodbyes.  Our group was leaving to go in different directions. Some of us were heading to Machu Picchu. The rest of us were going home on different flights. The hugging began!! I was fine until my roomie Megan gave me a hug and said goodbye. The tears began to fall. I bit my lip hoping to fend off more tears. It didn’t work. The connections made were not just with the Amazon! Spending all this time roughing it, learning, laughing and exploring with these wonderful people has led to life long friendships! I knew the storm of sadness would not last long but I wasn’t ready to say good-bye.

There was a small group of us who were able to spend some awesome time together before our flights. We ate greasy food, itched our insect bites and laughed at Jackie applying Benadryl gel in the food court! It was perfect! I will never forget these people! I will never forget this experience! I will never be the same after this perfect storm!

Jackie and I

Jackie and I

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The Calm Before the Storm

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Birding this morning was so exciting! Like I stated previously, I am not a hard core birder. There are a few birds that I would  love to see in my lifetime. This morning we saw one of them. The Great Potoo is a master of camouflage. On a tree limb, it will perch still and point its beak upward. This and its coloring makes it look like a broken tree branch! I wa so impressed that our guide today, Raul, saw it! I thought to myself, how in the world did he see that amongst all of the leaves, trees and branches? Amazing start to the day!

This was our last day at Explorama! After breakfast, we all prepped for our morning of trading with the Yagua. Everyone brought practical items that the Yagua could use. I brought t-shirts, children’s clothes, hats, fishing line and fishing hooks. There were little shops set up for us to visit. Each had very unique items. They may have had similar items, but they were different in many ways. Everyone was busy shopping; looking for the best souvenir to capture the experience here! I walked away with a blowdart gun, purses, bracelet, spider mask and other trinkets. The beauty of these items was surpassed by the amount of effort, Amazon plants used to make them and the tradition rooted in their creation!

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Before lunch we had some time to pack and participate in two activities. We did a biomimicry challenge to try to solve a problem using nature. After describing our solutions to various problems, we were put into groups- elementary, middle and high school teachers.  Individually we were to reflect on this whole experience personally and professionally in our journal. “What is your action plan?” was the guiding prompt. I was excited and discouraged when compiling my list. On one hand, I couldn’t believe the number of things that this trip has inspired me to do. On the other hand, wow, I have a lot to do! Personally, I want to get involved in local associations, inform my community, make more informed purchases, use reuseable grocery bags consistently and help my children understand the importance of these decisions. My list for professional goals is too long to list! One BIG plan is to enroll in a doctoral program for curriculum and instruction. I want to be involved in science education programs on the college level and in science outreach! My head is filled with potential projects and ideas. Who would have thought a professional development could have such an impact on a person!

With all of this motivation in my heart, I was excited to move to Ceiba Tops lodge for a much needed break! We were all so excited at the thought of an enclosed room with a bed minus mosquito netting, hot water showers and most importantly air conditioning!

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At the top of that slide, there was a "hot" tub.

At the top of that slide, there was a “hot” tub.

DSCN1107 DSCN1108After a dip in that beautiful pool and a few drinks, it was time to get ready for a thank you presentation to our guides, dinner and a show.  At this point, I was preparing myself to leave this place.  If you don’t understand this struggle, you have never visited this wonderful place.  I was responsible for the presentation to our guides. I put together a little tribute to their unique qualities using stories that the group cherished most. After many laughs and hugs, we were ready for our dinner, a show and bed in air conditioning!

Tomorrow would be our last day on the Amazon! I was ready to be back home with my family but I was not ready to leave.  I knew today was the calm before the storm!

 

 

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I Fell In Love With The Jungle

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I have now settled into the Explorama lodge. Megan and I couldn’t be happier with the restroom now located in our room. No more late night treks to the restroom for me! THANK GOD!  The sad part about this transition was this meant our time in the Amazon was almost over! I wasn’t ready to leave this place. This place where I have become an explorer, learner and new friend to some awesome people! I fell in love with the jungle; and the people! This day I would learn more about the traditions of the Yagua people.

Lucio took us around to various stations where we learned many traditional practices and the way of life of the Yagua. Our first stop was amazing! We traveled in a dugout canoe with paddles. I have NEVER been in a canoe! As we floated gracefully through the water, we saw so many beautiful birds. It was a very peaceful experience! I had hoped we could stay on the water longer!

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It was such an enriching and fun learning experience! I learned about Yagua song and dance, food, blow dart gun making, and how to use a Yagua “lawn mower.” Okay it is a machete! I was able to help make an owl  that was made from rain forest plants. I was pretty good at it! The Yagua live and survive off of the land. Some are experts at a specific craft or skill while others skilled at many trades. They live simply yet live a more fulfilled life than most. Americans could learn a lot from the Riberenos, river people, along the Amazon.  I was so grateful for their willingness to share their history and lives with us, but it saddens me at the same time. Would they be better off without the modern world encroaching on their way of life? The reason I struggle with this is that their way of life is at risk. Younger generations of the Yagua, and other tribes, don’t want anything to do with ancient traditions. The shaman said his son doesn’t want to carry on in his footsteps. Yagua don’t dress in their traditional dress. They wear jeans and t-shirts just like us. They go into Iquitos to look for jobs. Is it natural change, economics, exploitation or is it pressure due to progress? Do I contribute to this problem?  I think these are questions that need discussed. There are no easy answers. I hope that by being open to their culture and sharing it with others that I am helping more than hurting!

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Now we were off to CONOPAC! CONOPAC is a library/ classroom for children along the Amazon. Today, teachers from all over Iquitos and along the Amazon met for a professional development while we were with the Yagua. It was so cool to meet and talk to Peruvian teachers. There was a lot of learning, laughing and sharing today between the teachers and the library students. For me, the best part was realizing that I was recognized by one of the students I met here last year! How did I know? She gave me that look and a smile that says, “Hey, I remember you!”  That is what Ceilo did! Of course I had to make sure I wasn’t crazy so I asked Jackie, my new teacher friend who spoke fluent Spanish, to ask her if she remembered me! I wasn’t crazy! It goes to show you that language isn’t always a barrier.

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I can honestly say there are not many communities in America that would be so welcoming and open to bringing in foreigners to their lives.  There was so much joy in the air today! I am truly blessed to have had this opportunity! The past two days have made my heart overflowing with love and happiness!

 

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The Gift

I have been looking forward to today’s events! Three big things: move to Explorama Lodge, Service Day at Jorge Chavez Community and visit the CONOPAC library/after-school program. I boarded the boat to head to the community of Jorge Chavez. As we near the shore, I hear drums in the distance. The closer we get I notice a group of people and children dancing! We have arrived! As I near the group, a beautiful little girl grabs my hand and dances me towards their school! Yes she danced as she guided the way!

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The community came together to greet us! What was even more amazing is they went around the room and told us their names. Then they wanted to know all of ours! After the introductions, the children sang and recited poetry to celebrate this day of community and service!

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The mission of today’s visit was to help the community with these community projects:  school garden, paint the water filtration tower, arts & crafts with the kids, sand and paint the school and build a fence for the kindergarten.  I  chose to sand and paint the kindergarten! All those years helping my dad with little projects around the house helped me out today! Sanding was a trip! I was covered head to toe with paint dust! The paint became a new hair accessory as well!

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After a yummy lunch, we toured a home to see what a typical home in Jorge Chavez looks like. It was almost time to go but it was time to dance and celebrate – and get wet!

My heart was so full of love at this point! The joy that was radiating from each and every one of us was amazing! We were complete strangers but they welcomed us like we were family. It felt so good to make a difference and give of myself!! The gift of genuine love can do amazing things for the soul!

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Embracing My Inner Child

Today is our last full day at the ACTS lodge. The ability to traverse the canopy isn’t something everyone can say they have done. I am proud to say that I can! My group, the Anacondas, prepped for our morning excursion. The plan was to split us into two smaller groups. One would go into the canopy and stay at one specific platform. The other would stay on the forest floor at the base of the tree where that platform was. Our mission was to collect data on the amount of light, temperature, humidity and wind speed to be able to compare the major differences between the canopy and forest floor.

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I was part of the first to go up into the canopy. We had to get creative with data collection. There were other people visiting the canopy and were coming through at the same time. The problem here is that there are only so many people allowed on a platform and bridge. So half of our team moved to another platform to avoid overloading them! Two ladies who came through made me want to laugh but I was trying to be nice!! One lady came through looking like Casper! She had a thick layer of sunscreen that had  not been rubbed in! I don’t think it quite works any better that way! SMH!! The other lady reminded me of Mrs. Howell from Gilligan’s Island. She not only had on gloves, had her hair done all fancy-like and dress nicer than most, she also was wearing her best pearls!! I felt WAY underdressed when she passed through!

Okay back to the data. We concluded that there was about a three degree difference between the canopy and the forest floor! I predicted correctly! The humidity was higher overall on the forest floor! I could have told you that with the amount of sweat that poured from every inch of my body when under the canopy.

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After lunch we had the choice of what to explore in the rain forest! I thought I had made up my mind. I wanted to look at soil of the forest floor and life in epiphytes.  My plan changed when I heard that Raul was taking a group to search for amphibians & reptiles!! I couldn’t pass this up! It was so refreshing to watch Raul searching & diving for these camouflaged creatures. His eyes lit up like a little child! The passion these guides have for the rain forest is what made this experience even more spectacular! Too many of us forget what it’s like to have that child-like curiosity and passion for something we love! What is so amazing about this trip, I was surrounded by educators, guides and communities that have embraced their love of learning, exploring and nature!!

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Our explorations were cut short when the rain came – again! Raul found some low growing palm leaves to stand under! We joined him under our new Amazonian umbrellas. I didn’t think this day could get any better, but it did. Steve Madagosky taught us about biomimicry in the Amazon. The examples on the Powerpoint were amazing! I think for a minute I had wished I went to school to become an Entomologist! To cap off this experience he and Randy shared real specimens!

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The best was the Click Beetle. The coolest bug I think that I have ever seen. I couldn’t get a clear picture but all I can say is WOW!!!! After a few photo ops, I went to the dining hall to relax and journal. This is where I came across another beautiful insect crawling on the floor! Most know my love of all things creepy hence I own Hissing Cockroaches. So when this Amazonian cockroach crawled across the floor, I knew I had to look closer! I really wanted to pick him up but I kept freaking out until Christa (fearless leader) picked it up for me. After she handed him over, it was like a Glamour Shots portrait studio! Tomorrow we head to Jorge Chavez for our service day and the CONOPAC library! I had to put George, the cockroach, outside and head to bed!

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Heigh Ho! Heigh Ho! Its Off to the Canopy I Go!

Our alarm didn’t go off this morning! We missed birding but that turned into a blessing. today was the day we were moving to our new lodge, ACTS. Megan and I were able to slowly pack our bags without rushing. By now, I have already figured out that Christa (remember our fearless leader) had matched me up with a great roommate. This was that point in the trip that everyone started to get to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. The Amazon has that kind of effect on a person! Whether you want to or not, the environmental challenges can bring out the best and worst in you. In my case, I think it brought out the best in me.

Before I trekked to ACTS, we had one last exploration.  We were taken to a trail not too far from Napo. Our mission was to observe. From those observations I was to create a list of twenty questions that started with why or how? As a group we used those questions to design an experiment. We decided to investigate the following question:  How does bird activity differ from a light gap to a non-light gap? I really got a lot out of this activity. The process of deciding on a question, designing a test and collaborating with one another was reminiscent of many of my classroom activities. The structure of the activity was there to guide us not determine what we would investigate. We had choice in our exploration. Choice is the key! I must remember this for my classroom!

It was now time to hike to ACTS. It took about 1 1/2 hours through the muddy clays of the forest floor. Along the way, our guide, Roldan, stopped to point out plants along the way, each with its own story!

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This was definitely a cardio workout to get to ACTS. When we finally arrived, I was so relieved to reduce my heart rate.  No time to dilly dally now! We had to get ready to climb into the canopy! I was energetic and motivated to see above the understory of the rain forest. Right before we left, it began to POUR down raining!

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The rain subsided and we began to hike! The previous rain made the trails a slick, muddy mess. You would think that we weren’t anywhere special with all of our heads pointed down to watch our feet. We were all so worried about slipping on the trail that we had little time to enjoy the scenery.  The rain had me nervous about the canopy walkway being slippery. I started off fine just being cautious as I held the bridge ropes and stepped on the wood boards. After about the 6th bridge, my nerves got the best of me and I had to stop. My new Amazonian amigos tried to encourage and console me but I decided to hang out on the first few bridges and platforms. I was disappointed that I let my nerves get the best of me but i was too busy enjoying the view to notice. Large epiphytes, even larger palms and green everywhere!

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While on platform 4, I turned around and my boots squeaked on the platform wood. I did it again on accident and noticed birds calling in the distance. There started moving closer. So I decided to experiment with this. I purposely began to squeak my boot. I couldn’t pin point where the birds were coming from but they were coming. One bird got close enough for me to see. I continued this melodious boot music long enough to snap a picture!

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Then we capped off the evening with a short night hike to see some bioluminescent fungus growing on leaves. It was light seeing the night sky on the forest floor.  Heading to bead for some much needed sleep after today’s events!! I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings!

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Arthropods Rule the World!!

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Birding this morning was spectacular! Lucio took our group to an Oxbow Lake. We traveled through and under a maze of branches. The area looked like a swamp area in southern U.S.  I was just waiting for an alligator to pop up!  The highlight of this birding session was when Lucio heard the call of the Hoatzin off in the distance. His phone had plethora of bird calls recorded in it. he reciprocated the Hoatzin in hopes to bring it closer. Well, it worked. I am not a die-hard birder but there are a few birds that I get VERY excited about. The Hoatzin is one of them. It’s dinosaur like features make it look like a living fossil. Of course I saw other birds on this trip but this was my favorite!

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After breakfast, the group was split into two smaller groups. We would then switch activities after lunch! My group would be spending time with Randy Morgan, the bug guy!  I will say I am a little addicted to insects. I find them fascinating! So I was excited to spend time learning about insects with Randy! Our session started out with a discussion about the answer to:  Why do some people fear insects?  I tend to believe the conclusions we drew from this discussion. Our parents, our experiences and the media’s portrayal of insects mold our ideas or misconceptions.  This is the very reason why I have hissing cockroaches in my classroom. I want to change those biases and misconceptions through positive interactions and knowledge. This idea goes for any creature we fear. The more positive the interaction and the more you learn about what scares you the more likely you will break through your initial fears! There are always exceptions – for example my new friend Julie! She did all of these things but still wanted nothing to do with insects! At least she didn’t scream and run with fear when the tarantula was brought out!

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After learning about the major groups of arthropods, their biomass and species numbers, I felt sooo much more intimidated by this group of the animal kingdom!! Not really! I was that much more empowered to share this knowledge with my students, my fellow teachers and anyone willing to listen! But for now I must open my mind to medicinal gardening!!

As I approached the ReNu Peru botanical garden site, we were greeted by the shaman. Guillermo greeted the group in his native tongue! Prior to this, we were all given “fake” ailments for the shaman to cure! Our fearless leader, Christa, knew that not one of use knew this was a game. She was so serious that when she announced that I had been bitten by a poisonous snake everyone was genuinely shocked and saddened. It didn’t help that I played along! Then everyone quickly realized that we all came down with varying ailments to set the stage for this learning experience!

Wild garlic, Cocona, Sangri de Dragon, Achiote, Golden Buttons, Ayawaska and Leche de Oje, Oh My!!! A treasure trove of medicinal uses for many plants growing in the Amazon. Most of our drugs come from this area of the world. All the more reason to preserve this beautiful place!  I learned so much! It makes me want to grow  my own medicinal garden!  It was now time for a traditional cleansing ritual done by an older shaman whose name slips my mind!😦 While some participated in the ritual, others were able to get a henna like tattoo courtesy of Guillermo!

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To round-up the evening of discussions, we received a hilarious recipe for Leaf-Cutting Ant Fungus and a beautiful poem by Margaret Kreig.

Green Medicine

I wonder what’s around the bend?  said the explorer.

I wonder what that plant is? said the collector.

I wonder what’s in it? said the chemist.

I wonder what activity it has? said the pharmacologist.

I wonder if it will work in this case? said the physician.

I hope she lives! said the father.

Please God! said the mother.

I think she’ll be alright in the morning said the nurse.

Margaret Kreig, 1964

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Creation of an Explorer

The idea of becoming an explorer seemed much less complex than I now know. I though being curious & observing were good enough! Little did I know that becoming an explorer would take even more skills, courage and heart!

I started off this day with a morning birding boat ride. Birding is much more intense than I had thought. I struggled finding the bird in my binoculars that I just saw with my own eyes. After a few helpful hints later on in the trip, it became a little easier. My guide this morning was Lucio. I was amazed at his knowledge of Peruvian birds, their calls and his ability to spot them from a far distance. I learned to watch for subtle movements between the maze of branches or for colors that shifted from drab to bright. It was such a treat to come across other life besides birds – a frog under a leaf, grass hoppers, dragon flies…  My favorite discovery of the birding trip was found near our dock near the ExplorNapo lodge. Beautiful toucans roosting near the tops of the trees! They were a beautiful sight!

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Today’s focus was on inquiry! What is inquiry? What does it look like? What is inquiry not?  Oh, by the way! I journaled throughout these learning experiences. I wanted to document my thought process, note new techniques and absorb EVERYTHING!!   After discussing and defining, there were two phrases that stuck with me!!  (1)  Perceptions drive actions! (2) If I can google the answer, it isn’t inquiry!   Number two might become a permanent sign in my classroom. Students and adults want immediate results that have a correct answer. Inquiry isn’t that smooth but it’s much more rewarding. Our task was to map a study site. I stood still in one spot and observed for 20 minutes. I was forced to develop those explorer skills that I mentioned previously.

After lunch, I had to choose between two workshop choices. This was awful! I wanted to go to both. I decided to spend some time learning about the Cornell Institute of Ornithology’s Habitat Connections program. During this session, I realized the importance of the backyard urban habitats. I learned so many ways to engage my students in local habitats. I also learned the six breeding stages of birds with an awesome activity! I feel so empowered to help students understand their own backyards in hopes that they will learn to appreciate & respect the importance of habitats!

During a workshop concept maps, two bunches of bananas were hung from branches near us! This attracted some hungry squirrel monkeys. As a group, we flocked to the tree. we all oohed and aahed at these beautiful monkeys. It was memorizing to watch them climb down to quickly snatch a banana and then climb high to peel and eat it. All while being very cautious. Our excitement continued to build as each of us tried to snap the perfect photo!

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After many discussions about service learning projects, grants and much more, it was time for our first night boat ride!!The first thing that caught my attention was the sky! The stars and moon seemed so much more brilliant than back home! The trees framed them like a masterpiece! We all were able to see the southern cross constellation too. As the night went on our guide, Raul, pointed out a plethora of animals.

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One beautiful little frog found its way into my lap. I felt it jump on my lap but couldn’t see it. So I was a little freaked out at first not knowing what this mysterious creature was. This is the courageous part of being an explorer! I had to take risks and stay calm. Had I freaked out and shooed the mystery animal off of my lap. I would have never seen this beautiful creature! Day #2 of explorer mode was a beautiful start to what I hope would continue to surprise, inspire and challenge me physically and mentally!

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I Am Finally in the Amazon!!

One would think a journey as amazing as the one I was embarking on would begin just as spectacular. Nope! I arrive at the Cincinnati airport to begin said journey. After I adjust my checked and carry-on luggage, since it was over the weight limit, I head to the security check.  I set off the body scanner. The guard asked me if I had any metal in my back pockets. Of course, I said no but I still had the honor of getting a pat down! I guess she wasn’t happy with the pat down and proceeded to swipe my hands with a substance. I was then released to get my carry-on. This is where I was stopped again! After a few minutes, they discovered my flushable wipes set off that scanner! If this was any indication of the rest of journey, I was a little worried.  As you read about my adventure, you will discover how wrong I was to worry at all!!

After a day full of flights, a scenic ride through Lima, and a few hours of sleep in a Mira Flores hotel, I was ready for the last necessary flight and boat ride to Iquitos and then the Amazon. The two-hour boat ride was breath-taking. The size of the Amazon river was overwhelmingly powerful. The dense foliage along the shore made the mystery even more real! My head began to fill with images of what I may see once INSIDE that mysterious rain forest! The boat stopped! I have arrived!

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After getting settled in my room with my roommate Megan, it was time for dinner followed by our first workshop with Al from PLT. Al led us in a geography lesson to get a sense of place – where we were on this complexity of a river called the Amazon.  The Amazon is 4,225 miles long. It is the river with the highest volume. Second in volume is the Negro which is also on the Amazon. I can understand now after seeing the Amazon why there are no bridges crossing it. To connect the learning to action, we learned about the Green Belt Movement and Wangari Maathai.  This Nobel Peace Prize winner put her passion for the environment into action for her Kenyan people. She also fought to reduce poverty. One of her quotes that stuck with me was:  “You don’t need a diploma to plant a tree.”  It reminded me that this simple act doesn’t require anything but action.  With all that I will learn on this journey, I must not only educate my community but I must also take action and inspire others to do the same!! What a powerful first day in the Amazon!

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Nine Days Until Lift Off!!

My tummy is in knots thinking about my trip to the Amazon. Of course the anticipation of the wonderful experiences that i will have is the culprit. The more pressing excitement is making sure I have everything I need including technology, entertainment, protection and the essentials. I would like to give you a sneak peek into some of the material required for this trip before you see my Tetris like packing skills later on this week!!

I am planning on taking certain technology to document this amazing expedition.

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To visually capture each moment, of course, I will take my camera. I have a Nikon L820. Seeing everything in the Amazon is just not possible. Most creatures keep their distance from humans or come out at night. To document these moments, I will be using a trail camera. I purchased the Stealth Cam from our local Rural King. It is motion sensor activated for day and night action.

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My Bushnell binoculars will come in handy on our daily birding and hiking trips!

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Lighting is important. Walking to the restrooms wouldn’t be possible with some sort of flashlight or head lamp. The cabin where I will sleep get very dark by 6pm so these will help as well!

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To keep up with this blog, upload pictures to Project Noah, check my trail camera, upload bird sighting to eBird and much more, I will need my ASUS tablet. Keep in mind the access to internet is spotty to say the least. I will try my best to do all of these things in the field, but I will have to finish them when I return to the U.S. To use all of this technology, I must use my handy dandy rechargeable batteries and lots of SD cards for storage!! Remember that I will be in a very wet, hot & humid environment. Humidity can ruin technology quicker than you think! To combat the humidity, I will put all of these items in Ziploc baggies with desiccant packets. Those are the packets you find in medicines, purses, food and many other items. They remove moisture build up in the bag they are placed in. My dear friend, Leslie McGrew, has been collecting these packets from shipments of fundraiser suckers she sells at the middle school. I couldn’t have been so prepared for the moisture without her help! She also did a fundraiser to help raise funds for my trip!

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I can’t forget my workshop resources and journals. I will be taking my Educator Academy field journal & handbook, the PLT Forests of the World book, workshop ID & luggage tag and my personal field journal.

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I am prepared for the overstimulation of senses but I can’t forget about my bodies transition to this environment. It is very different from Indiana weather/conditions. I will travel to Iquitos, Peru by way of three flight in two days. I will have logged many hours on a plane. The jet lag itself can be a doozy. Once there, I must be prepared for the insects with protection. I will bring a lighter more natural insect repellant and the harder DEET spray as well. Just in case, I will have some cream to fight the itch if necessary.

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There is much more to pack. More to share with you all but it will have to wait! Check back in a few days for the final packing arrangements! It’s not your typical packing of luggage!

 

 

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