Environmental education workshops with the local kids from Las Tolas are always fun, and so two weeks ago we invited a group of 16 kids from Las Tolas for a Nature Treasure Hunt at Un poco del Chocó.
Together with our conservation intern, Chloé from Belgium, we had planned a mixture of fun and nature activities at the reserve. In order to make it more interesting and challenging, we created the story of a stolen treasure the kids had to find. They would get a piece of a code on where to find the treasure for each activity realized.
Thursday afternoon Wilo picked up the kids in Las Tolas and they were all very excited to have a sleep-over at the field station. So once the kids reached the reserve, we started off with some fun games to canalize their energy. We divided the kids into two teams and from now on each team had the chance to win a part of the key to the treasure. The two teams, the “monsters” and the “lions”, as they had called themselves, had to compete against each other. It was so much fun to watch them playing and a good start for the workshop.
After dinner we went out on a night hike. Accompanied by either Wilo or me, each team had to find a certain number of katydids, spiders, caterpillars, frogs and stick insects. And despite a light drizzle each team completed the given challenge.
We had an early wake-up call the next morning and started with the next challenge: bird watching! Each team had to find a toucan, a trogon, a motmot and a pigeon. Part of the time the kids went with me checking out the trees with binoculars and then we switched with Wilo who tried to find birds with the scope. None of the teams got to see a trogon, but they both found several toucans, a motmot and pigeons. The highlight was a male White-bearded Manakin displaying in a shrub alongside the road. The kids were all very impressed to find out that Manakins produce the sounds with their wings. An unforgettable detail they learned this day!
After a hearty breakfast back at the field station, we continued with a few other games, including bird Pictionary, teamwork challenges and a rainforest quiz.
In the end both teams had a good set of words for their code and the kids began to solve the mistery where the treasure was hidden. Almost simultaneously both teams started with their search around the chicken stable, but in the end it was a member of the monsters who found the treasure (a box of sweets) next to our water tower.