Denis Drouin’s Diary
Climate Change, Canopies and Wildlife in the Ecuadorian Andes

« Back to all Posts

September 26, 2009: First day on the job

DenCollectingData Our first breakfast all together. It is an opportunity to introduce ourselves and learn more about other Earthwatch fellows. What a great experience to meet people from all around the world in this gorgeous place, all here for the same goal: to make this planet a better place to live. This cranks me up. After breakfast Tim the project leader in the field for the next ten days explains to us, what is the project? What will be our task and duty? What are the safety rules, (yes, just like at work, there are safety rules to follow)? We will learn during the presentation that: The Santa Lucia Reserve is protected cloud forest. The Santa Lucia Reserve is also home to tremendous biodiversity, including mammals such as Andean cats, pumas, coatimundis (similar to Spectacledbear raccoons), endangered spectacled bears, and ocelots. We are going to help survey key carnivore and bird species and their associated vegetation types to determine abundance and distribution, which will provide reserve managers with accurate scientific data to create habitat and species action plans. Collecting data is a key because if we know well what going on, it is much easier to predict what is going to happen. On our walking intro tour we learn for example that when a tree falls, making a hole in the canopy, the ground which receives sunlight instantly becomes a war zone for new growth. Sometimes CoatiNasuaNarica seeds that have been in the ground for many years feel the heat, and then start rapidly to grow. The tour is followed by an international soccer game. Canada, UK, US, India, Hungary, and Netherlands join together to try to defeat the local Ecuadorians, but they are too strong. Dinner time follows, a great time. Agi, AgiDenMollyDinnerTime Molly and I, the Alcoa team, sit together and enjoy being there. After dinner everybody picks up their task assignment for tomorrow. For me, for the next two days, I will take a long walk to reach the point where we are going to do Habitat assessment. Have a good sleep!

Click image to enlarge.