Buenas tardes dear followers from “Un poco del Chocó“
We already have November, but here in the reserve the sun is warm, the trees are still green, the birds are singing with their loveliest voice and soon comes Christmas. Even if you can´t really notice that as a European intern in the rainforest, the year comes slowly to an end. And therefore we decided to invite 12 kids aged between 12 and 16 years from the village next to the reserve, Las Tolas.
Our concept was pretty easy and at the same time luckily successful. We wanted to bring nature closer to the kids and therefore we linked excitement, joy, play and learning together.
The kids arrived on the evening of the 14th November and were welcomed with peach cake and hot chocolate.
Afterwards all together we set up the nets for the mist netting we planned to do early in the next morning and gave the kids an introduction of the way how to use them. Additionally we used a bird skin of a toucanet to teach them how to handle a bird, how to ring and measure it, how to sex and age a bird and how to collect data and we explained them why this work is so important for the research of ecosystems.
While the sun set the kids had a bit of free time to settle down and prepare their rooms for the night. In the meantime Wilo cooked something nice for dinner.
Straight afterwards we started our night hike to discover the nocturnal animals of “Un poco del Chocó”. On our walk we saw among others millipedes, centipedes, a glass frog, leaf-cutter ants and of course a lot of spiders. And back at the station we had to find out, that not only nocturnal animals exists in the rainforest, but also nocturnal children. The giggles of the boys next door kept us awake until 2.30 am ;-)
After a short night we all got up together with the sunrise. We divided the children into three groups and caught birds in three different spots. In total we caught five birds, one Lineated Foliage-Gleaner, one Spotted Woodcreeper and three Orange-Billed Sparrows (one recapture from September). With these birds Nicole showed the whole process of bird ringing. While Nicole was measuring the birds, the children had to identify the species using the different bird guides. Subsequently, five kids had the chance to release the birds after they had been ringed.
Filled with a hearty breakfast the kids couldn’t wait to have a swim in the river Pachijal. Over there some of them tried to learn how to swim and some were successful in fishing. The kids didn`t want to leave the river even after 4 hours of swimming, but they were also getting hungry and therefore we had a nice lunch cooked by Wilo at 2 pm.
With satisfied stomachs and a bit exhausted from the morning the kids hopped on Nicole and Wilos pick up truck. Happy but also a bit melancholic they were ready to go back home.
Altogether it was a weekend with a lot of fun and input for everybody. And we would like to say thank you again to the kids of the 3a and 3b of the “Internationale Deutsche Schule Brüssel” (iDSB) who made this weekend possible thanks to their donation.
This blog post was written by: Vivian Welzel 3. Semester BSc. Landscape Management and Nature Conversation at the University for Sustainable Development in Eberswalde