Saturday, November 23, 2013
Friday, November 22, 2013
Written by Pam Webber - GVI Manuel Antonio Volunteer from USA
I am beginning my second and last week volunteering at the school/community center in El Cocal, Costa Rica. Colorado was beginning to slide into Winter as I left for Costa Rica, so the return to Summer is a bit of a shock.
Last week week in the community center I worked mostly with a group of little girls. They loved jumping rope, especially if two volunteers swing the rope. They worked on counting in English and Spanish. One of them, Angeli, looked exasperated when we did not swing the rope correctly and she missed. One of the volunteers said "lo siento", and Angeli ran growling to her for a hug.
Today I worked with some third grade boys, four of them. Boys at this age in a group are not my strong point. However we played a memory game with animal tiles. They did a great job of taking turns and making sure that I had a turn. I am looking forward to seeing what happens the rest of this week.
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Written by - Ryan Venne, Six month intern
On 31st October, Global Vison International’s Jalova Biological Research Station participated in Tortufest an educational event in Tortuguero, Costa Rica. We participated in a day event thrown by the Sea Turtle Conservancy of Tortuguero along with GVI and CORTEC (Canadian Organization for Rainforest and Tropical Ecological Conservation). The event was geared towards the children of Tortuguero although it was open to everyone whether they were tourists or local residents. It was held at the central park of Tortuguero and each of the organizations gave presentations about the work they did in Tortuguero National Park.
|GVI Jalova (far right) stand next to the STC and COTERC to describe our work to the local people|
|Two volunteers, Ellie and Sophia, helping local children to solve our puzzles|
Along with these presentations there were educational games, activities and face painting for the children. The face painting in particular was a hit with the children. However they also enjoyed the educational activities as they learned about the species of Tortuguero National Park, for instance we had puzzles for the children to make local species such as Jaguar, Sloth, Purple Gallinule and Northern Tamandua. We also had an exhibit of skulls that included local wildlife such as Green Turtle, Kinkajou, and Crocodile. We gave presentations on biodiversity and the Jaguar Project that is currently being conducted at Jalova. The Jaguar presentation included footage of jaguars captured on our camera traps. Afterward, many of the children tested their jaguar identification skills on some of the footage. This was perhaps some the children’s’ favorite part of the day as they developed their abilities as future conservationists.
|Our newest staff member Marcelle working with a local child to identify a jaguar|
The Sea Turtle Conservancy gave presentations on Marine Turtles and their benefits to the community and environment as well as on sustainability. Then CORTEC gave a presentation on their conservation projects within the park. Tortufest helped the community by educating the youth on the park and its value as a biodiversity hotspot and eco-tourist destination. It also gave the children a chance to experience cross cultural exchanges with Spanish and non-Spanish speakers from all over the world. This is a beneficial opportunity for the children as they are growing up in a tourist town based on nature tourism. Tortufest was also beneficial for the volunteers who participated as they got a chance to interact and speak with the children of Tortuguero.
Monday, November 18, 2013
Sunday, November 17, 2013
Written by Mike Park, Six month intern
|Mike with some other students from the Spanish School on a trip to El Tisey|
After classes, Esther, a Spanish teacher, would take us on optional trips several times a week including a cigar factory, coffee factory, and a museum. At the cigar factory, they allowed me to roll a cigar. We also challenged some locals to a volleyball match in which we dominated them. Other afternoons were spent exploring Esteli’s shopping areas or hanging out at our host house.
|The breath-taking view from atop a small peak within El Tisey|
Monday, November 11, 2013
Sunday, November 10, 2013
Written by Jayne Shepherd - GVI Manuel Antonio Sports Volunteer from Australia
I have just completed a fantastic time on project in El Cocal on the Manuel Antonio Sports Program in Costa Rica.
What an amazing month. Due to examinations at the school on my arrival my experience was a lot more varied than I initially expected. I originally signed up for the school sports program but managed to get involved in English teaching, an intercultural day production, painting the new classroom (with a little help from the students), and of course multiple sporting events including a football (soccer) competition. This meant that the daily bus, walk and then boat over to El Cocal from our house were always an adventure.
House life was made all the more wonderful by our resident sloth and the cheeky monkeys (Squirrel and white-faced Capuchins) cruising through daily. The Capuchins were seen on more than one occasion trying to push the sloth out of the tree, much to our horror!
|Jayne rafting with other GVI Manuel Antonio volunteers|
Free times on the weekend were also a blast with so much to do for such a small area. My highlights included walking up our road to a waterfall where we lept off the top into the water (or for those not so keen you could abseil down), visiting the world renowned Manual Antonio National Park just 5 minutes down the road and a day trip white-water rafting. I also enjoyed the numerous places to have a nice meal, play pool or watch sports on TV.
I met some amazing people on the project, at our house and of course on El Cocal and I really look forward to seeing what else GVI in Quepos has in store for the future!
Saturday, October 12, 2013
Written by – Sateesh Venkatesh, Field Staff Member
Jaguars are among the most majestic big cats in the world although they are also among the most cryptic. On Tortugeuro beach we see signs of Jaguars almost every day but often never see the animals in person. But due to the revolution of camera trapping we can still collect value presence and behavioral data on the animals. Since 2010 GVI has been camera trapping along the beach and in the forest and over this time we have developed and altered our techniques. We see Jaguars in the forest and returning to kills but the gap in between these two times we have no records. In order to fill this gap we wanted to find a way to have a camera on the beach that can capture new hunting behaviors. In 2012 we thought of the idea to hide a camera in a log in the middle of the beach but could not figure out how to possibly get the camera in the log.
|Armando using his chainsaw skills to carve a perfect camera-shaped hole in this piece of driftwood|
The solution finally came in the form of Armando, a local who works on the nearby coconut plantation, and a chainsaw. With some expert delicate work with a large power tool Armando made a perfect camera-sized hole in large log. We started with the log placed on the beach at Mile 16 & 4/8 in the middle of the beach looking out toward the water. After a week set up in this location the only images we captured were our staff and volunteers patrolling for turtles in the night and the ocean slowly moving closer. As a result we decided to move our log, with the help of Minor the ranger, to a more active area of the beach at Mile 15. So far here we have captured three Jaguars passing by the camera and an Ocelot. If the camera continues to work and show successful results the hope is to set up more stations along the beach. The ultimate goal of being able to capture hunting behavior is still a possibility that we hope to achieve.
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Our new volunteers and interns have successfully completed their first week in the jungle, so we asked them (and the resident staff) to complete the sentence “You know you’re in the jungle when…”. Here’s the results!
…you start to forget what day, month and year it is and start basing your schedule on when and where you can see animals
-Sateesh, staff member
|A young Howler Monkey picking up a snack right outside base|
…the sounds of the howler monkeys work as a lullaby
-Ryan, 6 month intern
…the small town of Tortuguero feels like a city with bright lights
-Nicole, 2 week volunteer
…you want to go out in the pouring rain, just to look for frogs!
-Ellie, 3 month volunteer
…scratching your bites is a constant, subconscious action
-Ian, Field staff
…your room becomes a mini zoo because you have to share it with so many jungle creatures
-Sarah, 6 month intern
...you’re always looking above for falling coconuts
-Kat, 6 month intern
…you shake out your bed before you go to sleep and aren’t surprised that insects and sand pour out
-Dionthé, 6 month intern
…you feel like you've lost a limb when you go out without your binoculars
-Heather, Field Staff
…you hear howler monkeys at 5am instead of roosters
-Sophia, 6 month intern
…you get woken up by a bat flying into the outside of your mosquito net
-Courtney, 3 month volunteer
…roll-on mosquito repellent actually runs out
-Frank, Field staff
…you walk to the restroom with a head torch in the middle of the night and have to check the toilet for snakes
-Alex, 6 month intern
|A Green Turtle observed returning to sea during an early morning survey on the beach|
…you ask not whether you will have a shower companion but what species they will be
-Roddy, 1 month volunteer
…you go to bed happy after seeing the turtles have returned safely to sea
-David, Field Staff
Thursday, October 3, 2013
Written by Dave Booth - GVI Manuel Antonio Community Volunteer
Landed in Quepos. Friday 20th Sept 2013.
After 20 hrs on 2 planes, 1 bus, a nights sleep and another 2 buses finally make it up a twisty road to the GVI house 3 clicks from Quepos.
I had already met Nick (staff) and 4 other volunteers in San Jose the day before and then meet Clint, Kristin (also staff) and 3 other volunteers.
Let the games (and serious work) begin!
|Dave participating in some serious work|
Early Tuesday morning we head over to El Cocal and to the Casa Del Sol community centre.
Here come the children rushing in full of frijoles (beans) and day 1 proper starts with a bang.
Have a few games of playdough and (newly invented?) whiteboard football with a boy called Angel. I am sure he was adapting the rules to suit his winning score and test me out. 8-1 to him. He clearly knew I was a newbie and must of thought 'right lets have a go' at testing this guy out.
Looks like I am going to have to keep up with them and learn Español rapido!!
|Helping to make planet rings|
Will be great to be able to interact and communicate with them on a equal level and hopefully help all the children more than I can at present.
Looking forward to the whole next 3 months and adventures on each day as they come.
Till next time. Dave
-Written by Dionthé Hingson, Six Month Intern
First week of the Jalova experience consists of a lot of training. Emergency First Responder (EFR) training was first on the list. Two days of training (both practical and reading) then one day with a written exam and a practical exam. These once strangers could now be responsible for saving my life. We could make the difference between a lifelong disability and short recovery, even between life and death.
Which is good because a lot of things are deadly here. From snakes that contain neurotoxins and haemotoxins, to the cuddly jaguars and branch throwing monkeys, even several of the frogs secrete neurotoxins in their skin capable of killing 10 adult humans or 20,000 mice. I think the mice or agouti is more likely. Even just a few days ago I shrank in the protection of my mosquito-netted bed from the scorpion crawling on my wall.
|Volunteer Nicole being expertly strapped up by interns Sophia, Alex and Dionthe|
The great thing is that the training is super practical so as to keep us from boredom. When we are doing 14 mile walks on the beach in Costa Rica heat stroke and heat exhaustion are legitimate concerns. Food poisoning, and treating a snake bite are all things we need to be prepared to handle for ourselves and others. The practical made us a bit nervous as we approached our first scenario, excited and aware we went step by step through our training and were able to treat our victims from their various signs and symptoms which ranged from life threatening to treating for shock. We even learned to use the things around us to improvise when needed. Other training we are receiving is just as practical and includes turtles, jaguars, birds, duty, and machete. Hopefully the reason we do EFR training before machete training is because of sound judgement, not experience.
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Written by Rhiannan Davies from Australia - GVI Manuel Antonio Long Term Intern
Social nights are an awesome way for members of any team to come together. And what better way to kick off tradition than with a classic murder mystery party? Which is exactly what we here at GVI Manuel Antonio did. Now, some advice when creating your own murder mystery party: it involves a lot of intricate planning. I´m talking extensive character plots and backgrounds, confusing and extensive relationships between people, as well as objectives per character, scripted confessions, voting slips, costumes, and more! Yet come the Wednesday and there we were; a gang-lord’s wife and daughter, a butler, a duchess, a homeless person, a failed professional surfer, out-of-work child star, a journalist, a sleazy businessman, and a professional 1920’s dancer. All having pizza together – who would ever have imagined?
I must say everyone played their characters wonderfully. As the night went on beyond pizza, we had conflicts, a murder and accusations, questionings, manipulation of relationships, and one more murder before the ‘police’ arrived. After intensive questioning from the astonishing policewoman (I may have killed myself off to have time for a costume change), the murderers were revealed. As it turns out the Duchess (played by our lovely programs manager, Nick) killed Bobby B. Fletcher-Brown to cover up a secret affair, and desperate young journalist Thelma Winkley (GVI volunteer, Bethany) killed the homeless woman, Eileen Smith – played by yours truly.
As the evening wound down it was evident that despite the theme of the night it did bring us closer as a group. We worked together and had fun for the weekend, and it is still something we laugh about as a group. Just a word to the wise – giving yourself four days notice to plan something like this WILL result in an eventual blurred perception of reality and fiction.