AMAZON RAINFOREST WORKSHOP
Designed for Educators & Naturalists
~ Workshop Description ~
After you arrive at the Lima Airport and clear immigration and customs, you will be met and transferred to our Lima Hotel. We will meet air carriers arriving late in the evening of your departure day. You will need to arrange for a special transfer if you are arriving at any other time during your departure day. We have made arrangements for the group to overnight at the Casa Andina Hotel - Centro in Miraflores, a district in Lima. Your group will be transferred from the hotel to the Lima Airport the following morning and assisted with your connecting flight to Iquitos.
As a group you will fly to Iquitos, in the upper Amazon basin of northern Peru. At the Iquitos Airport, you will be met by the Peruvian naturalist guides who will be our close companions for the rest of the week. We make our way through the bustling streets of Iquitos. Located 2,300 miles from the Atlantic Ocean, Iquitos is the most inland port navigable by ocean-going ships on the Amazon River. It is a city whose population has increased from 4,000 to 400,000 in the last 30 years. You will experience the excitement of the marketplace where everything, from bananas and live chickens to motorcycle parts, is sold. A fascinating array of chipped barks, dried leaves, hand-bottled potions, aromatic oils and aphrodisiacs are among the items on display in the marketplace apothecaries. Children are everywhere, playing happily along the street as the traffic of daily life goes by. From the airport we are transferred to a dock to board boats for an approximately 1 1/2-hour trip to our first rainforest destination.
During the workshop, you'll have an opportunity to meet several Yagua and Ribereños people at a Culture & Craft Fair. You will learn about the local culture through their demonstrations and an array of hands-on experiences such as casting fishing nets; sampling locally prepared foods and beverages made from tropical fruits; thatching palm leaves to create roofing; constructing fiber bags and hammocks; creating a blowgun with native vines, wood and tree sap; molding coil pots from local clay; carving paddles from plank buttress wood; and paddling in a dugout canoe.
Several new opportunities have been added to our workshop program, including a service project in an Amazon Village. The Ribereños people in the community that we visit welcome us with a ceremony and acknowledgement of our contribution to their village. We’ll exchange songs and praises, and begin any number of activities including: 1) painting a school; 2) planting palm or fruit trees or vegetable garden; 3) constructing and painting a fence around school property; 4) palm thatching the roof of a shelter; or 5) creating ecological or community signs. Observing how precious few resources sustain each family or classroom in a rural village school is a humbling experience.
Your visit to Monkey Island’s primate conservation project will also no doubt be a highlight. You’ll see as many as seven kinds of monkeys in their natural environment and be able to interact with up-close and personal. Watch the Woolly Monkeys tangle, playing with each other in the lower branches of a nearby tree. Marvel at the strength of the prehensile tale of the Spider Monkey. Observe the social and foraging behaviors of the Sakis, Tamarins, Marmosets, and Uakaris. Ten species of bananas as well as fruit trees are grown on the island to provide food for the monkeys.
Workshop activities during the balance of the week are further described under Workshop Topics.
~ ACTS ~
During our workshop week we have the opportunity to overnight at the Amazon Conservatory of Tropical Studies (ACTS). The ACTS is a science, education, and tourism facility located on an Amazon Rainforest Reserve, a protected wilderness area encompassing 250,000 acres of primary rainforest in Peru. One of the most exciting aspects of the ACTS is its 1/4-mile Canopy Walkway, an extensive multilevel system of aerial platforms and pathways. The ACTS provides opportunities for teachers and their students to continue their personal connection with the rainforest. Popular with our workshop teachers, the ACTS's Adopt-a-School and Environmental Teacher Training projects offer cultural exchange and assistance programs for students and teachers to get involved in when they return home.