5 – 9 September 2011
These last few weeks we have started mammal walks throughout the reserve. We first started these back during the wet season and it forms part of our research into the behaviour, diversity and abundance of mammals in the reserve.
Once a week a couple of volunteers and a staff member walk slowly along pre-selected sections of trails looking out for mammals. The walks take place early in the morning, between 6am and 8am and in the afternoon from 4pm onwards as these are times when the animals should be most active. Although we may not always be successful, when we do see something, we record details such as location and species and number of individuals to enable Raul Bello, our resident mammal biologist, to collate the data and compare it with other information we have from during the wet season and from our fixed sensor cameras which we also have around the reserve to help us find out more about those more secretive animals.
A Tapir footprint found along one of our trails
Also, every two weeks, we undertake a night walk with the same aim: discovering more about the movements of the nocturnal animals. With only torchlight to see by, senses become heightened as you listen for rustles within the leaves or up in the branches of a tree or sniff the air for the unmistakable stench of Collared Peccaries. Often it may only prove to be a falling leaf or twig, but occasionally we are lucky enough to come across something more. So far during the day and night, we have spotted tapirs, peccaries, night monkeys, capuchin and squirrel monkeys as well as smaller animals such as agouti and opossums.
Volunteers walking along Eugenio Trail
Yesterday the volunteers attended the weekly social in Calca. We went to see a theatre play organized by the students of the Agro Calca School. In that School we have one volunteer, Christopher Barry, who helped organized this event with the other teachers.
The play started with a documentary of Jose Maria Arguedas's life, an important writer in Peru who, in all his books, represents the Andean life. After, the students put on a very funny play; the volunteers really enjoyed the show and all the music and poetry.
Thanks to Agro Calca for helping us to learn more about the Peruvian Culture!
The last weekly social event took place in Urubamba at Kaï’s, a cultural place located near the Plaza de Armas. Seven volunteers attended. To change a bit from the past weekly social events, I thought that it would be a good idea to take advantage of the big screen available there and watch a movie. We chose to watch Babel which told us the story of four people living in different places all over the world. It was really interesting as it highlighted how people’s lives can be related to each other.
Obviously, volunteers had yummy snacks such as vegetarian sandwiches with home-made bread and banana, apple or passion fruit juices. This gathering was the occasion for the new Care volunteer Karine LeBlanc to meet the current volunteers and spend her first weekend with them out in Cusco...
Last Friday I went with the Care supervisor, Yessi, to Yucay and attended the “birthday” of the village.
In Peru a village officialy exists after it is politically created. The people working in the the constitutions forming the village such as the town hall, kindergartens, schools etc. celebrate their village. In the morning they march dressed in traditional outfits and in the afternoon they have typical dishes such as Ceviche, Chiriuchu, Watya etc.
The Care volunteers Valentina Asquini and Caithlin Tham had the opportunity to fully take part in this celebration a few days before they headed back to their countries. As they were volunteering in the Marquesado kindergarden in Yucay, they went with all the kids from their placement to experience the dances and try the Peruvian dishes.
Both of them truly enjoyed this event as it took place on their very last working day. They felt lucky to be able to play a role in it and were happy to find out more about the Peruvian celebrations.
Usually the Care worshop takes place in our office in Urubamba
Last Tuesday, Tim, our director, Yessika, the Care supervisor, and Tatiana, the Assistant manager went to Calca to give a workshop about educational materials. Francesca Zingali and Lucia Squaquara brought different types of puzzles and showed the teachers how to incorporate them in their lessons.
Knowing how crucial it is to tell the children the importance of hygiene, Lucia brought a giant toothbrush and showed them how to brush their teeth properly.
Caithlin came up with a very bright idea. She taught the teachers how the children can keep calm and manage their anger by playing games.
After that the staff gave the teachers educational materials such as pencils, colored paper as well as logical mathematical games.
This workshop was very interesting as it highlighted important points in the kids education through innovative and fresh ideas.
The last social event took place in Calca, at Sofi’s, a cake shop located in the Plaza de Armas. Seventeen volunteers showed up. Four of them had recently arrived toPeru. Sabine Bech and Christian Lonhart both come fromDenmarkand are doing our Teaching project for 3 and 1 months respectively. Louise Stuart, an Australian volunteer, is doing Teaching for 2 months.
The 4th new one is Nico Reinhold, a German volunteer, who signed up to stay 1 year in our Sport project!!!!
The social event was the occasion for them to introduce themselves and get to know each other. This group of volunteers is really warm, friendly and easy going. They organize weekend trips to Macchu Pichu,TiticacaLakeorArequipa. I am sure that they are enjoyingPerua lot and will make the best of their stay here....J
20th August 2011
Yesterday we saw the second round of our new weekly photography competition take place! In addition to the usual routine of conservation activities, we decided 2 weeks ago to introduce this more social event at Taricaya. There are so many moments everyday that are recorded by volunteers that it seemed a shame not to share these in some way. We also felt that it was a good way to get groups of volunteers working together during their free time and was another opportunity for newer and older volunteers to socialise and get involved.
So, the idea is that each week we choose a theme for the photos to focus on. We began with something fairly standard: Landscape. Volunteers were told to use their imaginations and creativity to put together a (PowerPoint) presentation to be shown at the end of the week, on Friday. The presentation should be organized in some way: perhaps tell a story or certain photos grouped together. Volunteers worked in groups of 3 to 6 and had opportunities throughout the week to take photos, either during their free time or also with a member of staff who could take them further afield to find more interesting places to take photos. With a trip to Lake Valencia planned that first week, as well as nights at the Turtle beach, landscape seemed a good choice for a starting theme.
Friday afternoon arrived and groups of volunteers could be seen huddled in corners organizing their presentations: not only was there a prize for the winning group, but the best individual photo as well! We had 3 groups enter the first week and the winning presentation, “A Day in Taricaya” showed some beautiful photos taken throughout the day from sunrise to sunset and all based around water.
Photos from the winning landscape presentation by Julia Waldherr, Isabelle Jaimeson, Grace King, Bessie Richards and Katarina Dittlau
Two photos were then nominated by the judges (members of staff) from each presentation for the Best Photo Award and all the volunteers voted for their favourite. Julia Waldherr won the first week with the misty boat scene above, taken in the morning after a night at Playa Alta (the turtle beach).
We then announced our less serious theme for the following week: The Unexpected.... Volunteers were able to interpret the theme in their own way. Some chose to focus on unexpected sightings along trails and around the reserve, others decided to create unusual photos that would surprise the judges. The week had seen a water fight take place in the river and again volunteers had an opportunity to walk with staff to look for or create their photos. Despite some great individual attempts, the winning group this week were the group that created a rather unexpected storyline to their presentation: Taricaya’s Unexpected Volunteer.
Some of the photos from the winning presentation by Caitlin Kafura, Chris Stuart, Mike Keane, Ryan Chalmers, Jonathan Bell and Julia Eggert
The winning photo this week, by Caitlin Kafura, was the sight of “Gigo” (staff member, Daniel Alvarado) playing chess with the unexpected visitor and, it seemed, losing.
I look forward to seeing the entries over the next few weeks too...look out for the winners on our facebook page: http:/
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