My time at Regua has been trully amazing. I highly commend Nicholas and Raquel for what they have done with / are doing with the land at Regua. Its amazing to think that it used to be a Cattle Ranch, considering the enormous diversity there is at Regua. It is also of high importance as less than 9% of the Atlantic Rainforest exists. Everyone from the staff and locals are very friendly most do not speak any english but its easy to get by. My time was spent mostly wandering the trails day and night looking for cool Insects and animals which was easy considering the diversity. It helps having a good trained eye for detail as some of the insects and tiny or well camouflaged, And as Nicholas will happily but very jealously tell you. He thinks I have a natural born talent.
I also involved myself with the guests and created a photo álbum of a selection of my best photos, as a welcome pack for guests up at the lodge. During my time there was some very lovely guests that joined us for lunches as they were interested in what we we we’re doing, and although they were primarily Birder’s they had keen passion in all nature as they understood the symbiosis everything has in nature.
I had the opportunity of doing some conservation education and gameawith the local school( recommended) due to being involed with the Bader family who came to Regua with their two boys.
All in all it was a fantastic experience and I will be going back semi longterm thanks to Nicholas who just to give you a word of warning is a bit of a character lol, and try not too make him too jealous of any skill or talent you have. He does play a mean ping pong.
( Left to Right :- Leading the Trail Walk, Collecting Papaya, Fun Rides, Teaching Class, Teaching a New Game, Thumbu Hug)
Since the 22nd of september Regua has had its first family staying. When Nicholas told me I offered to help as I am good and enjoy working with children. I went with a driver to Río De Janeiro to pick them up.
The Baders and thier two young boys are from Weybridge in England, they are spending a year travelling round South America, New Zealand, Australia and Fuji. The boys are 7(had birthday here) and 8 years old, They will be getting home schooled. Thier Father Phil found he never really got to spend much quality tie with the boys due to work ( like many other families) snd felt the boys where old enough to appreciate and learn from a trip like this before they go to High School. The boys are going to be learning and experiencing different cultures and languages and of course experience nature first hand which they already enjoy through shows like Deadly 60.
Its been an important and interesting week for Regua as they have never had a family stay before, one of thier main aims is in too instill the importance of or natural world into young children. As if we do not get them interested and appreciative of the world around them, what hope will nature and survival of our forests and animals have in future generations.
I took the family on a couple of trail walks including a night walks, and joined them on the majority of thier other outings. When they went to the local School to meet the children and to teach about thier country they handed out London 2012 bands. The School visits were also rewarding for me as with Raquels help in translation I was talking to the class about the importance of nature and showed the my photos and help taught the English names of the animals. Some of the children had a dislike of certain animals so I helped explain why those animals are ok and inportant, sometimes i did it in a fun way. During breaks I managed to teach two new games which all the children wanted to get involved in. My youth group days paid off lol. Back at Regua i had st up a little creche with finger paints, modeling clay, and other things for drawing it was bit hit and kept the chidern happy and busy including the children of the staff at Regua joined in with their new friends.
It was a very successful week. And lets hope more families are brave enough. Now am not saying all famlies should take a year out. Family holidays can be an expensive trip so rather than say going to Florida or Spain etc you could quite easily come too somewhere like Regua and these days for about the same cost. And the whole family would learn and experience new things most people only see on TV. Also with the World Cup and the Olympics happening in Brazil why not have the most amazing trip.
Yesterday a new volunteer researcher arrived from the USA, Davie Rolnick is here studying Moths. In the evening I took him on a night walk around part of the trail round the lagoons. Part of the trail path was covered in a swarm of large Froglets with varied tail lengths, seeing this was rather cool. As we continued we kept on finding other cool things, the highlights for me was having a tree frog on my thumb in a rather cute position. And finally after 6 years of being interested in Dragonflies we came across a couple of emerging Dragonflies so I was very happy.
Its been an amazing but busy 2 weeks. Firstly I’ve been able to see and photograph some amazing cool Insects etc and I would say I have taken some of my best photos too date which are worthy of being entered into serious Photography Competition. Nicholas is loving my photos and is always telling people and asking me too show my photos, he says (rather jealously) I have an amazing talent and passion for my photography. I’m not letting it go to my head (hehe) although I do know I am ;).
There have been some really lovely guests staying here for the USA and the UK. They have teached me as well as me teaching them about things. While they were waiting for a presentation I showed them a selection of my best photos taken at Regua, they all appreciated it and loved the photos and Nicholas was thrilled. I decided to make a nice photo album using a selection of my best shots, Showcasing the wildlife diversity here at Regua. Also explaining a bit about myself and advertising as I hope to raise some money for Regua through my photography. Both Nicholas and Raquel love it and so far the guests have been raving about. A selection of my photos are being used for talks to schools communities and I’m making a photo video slide show for an Arts festival which Regua has be asked to be involved in too showcase the wildlife There are also blogs been written not by me) showcasing my findings and photos
I have now been at Regua nature reserve / Guapi Assu Bird Lodge for 2 weeks now. Everyone here is lovely and all the Volunteers are European mostly British. We have to do our own projects and help with general maintenance. I am spending my days and some nights walking the main trails finding cool insects etc sadly yet nothing new or rare yet but at my rate it will happen.
Although it is primarily a Birding Lodge it is really important to appreciate and understand the full diversity and the roles that each species has to play, without certain plants or insect species many birds would not be able to survive.
I am compiling a photo database of the non bird wildlife for them. You do get some fantastic birders like Sally and Chris Thornburn from Greenwich who appreciate all nature but you get others who just care about the birds. And I hope my photos will open peoples eyes and educate them too the wider diversity and the roles played.
Now yes there are other good photographers there but to do what I am doing you need a good eye for detail, a lot of the insects are small or hidden. You also need patience, passion, time a decent camera ( a decent bridge camera will do) and of course Talent – now I’m not being big headed both Nicholas and Raquel( the administrators ) think I’m amazing at what I am doing and want me back.
You can spend a few thousand on a good camera and lens but if you don’t have the skill, passion for the subject of your photo or understand the subjects behaviour then you won’t get a good photo.
Also I wish this was not the case but over the years I have come across a fair number of arrogant British birders. We can no longer treat wildlife the way the Victorians did. So if you get a good photo of something rare or unusual behaviour, don’t just have on your hard drive collecting dust. Copyright it and share it with others through sites like Flickr etc and let the Reserve where you took it use it if they wish (they will credit you). Its only through sharing information etc can we learn to protect more species from extinction. The human race is the biggest disease to the Earth.
Have had an amazing week in Río, Made lots of new friends and contacts from all over including some other Scots. The El Misti Hostel has been fantastic always lots going on. Rio itself is not the prettiest of citys as its a bit of a concrete jungle. But every street especially in Ipanema has large trees which keeps it cool and the birds are louder than the traffic. Rio also has Tijuca National Park, which is the largest urban forest in the world and sustains a large diversity of wildlife.
All the tours have been amazing but The Favela Tour was my highlight, I highly recommend it. When I come back I am planning to work as a Volunteer in the Children’s centre in the Favela.
I’m now in Brazil until September. Looking forward to it in an nervously excited way as it’s my 1st time here and its a new language, luckily with some similarities to Latin American Spanish. The flights were good and the highlight was being able to watch the plane land. The plane to Rio had 2 cameras on the nose one facing forward and the other one facing down. You could watch these on your personal tv screen.
It’s now my second time in Ecuador and most definitely will not be my last its a lovely beautiful country. I feel at peace and at home here, and I can see myself living here within 5 years. Spanish in Ecuador is nice too the ear rather tuneful if that makes any sense.
As for the people on a whole they are very welcoming and really touched that people wish too come and volunteer in their country, of course you get the usual idiots and trouble makers. But lets be honest you get them anywhere, you just have to be street smart and know when to avoid eye contact. Ecuador does have issues after all it’s a developing country. For me its this rawness that gives Ecuador its charm as well as you still see a lot of you girls and women wearing traditional dress everyday.