Written by Johnny Wilson, St Stephen’s Episcopal School
Photos Courtesy of Alex Tozer
My group of 9 students and one teacher just departed for Georgetown to return to the US after spending two weeks in the rainforest at OpWall’s Guyana site. What an amazing experience they had. What a thrill to wake up in your hammock to the sounds of howler monkeys, macaws or other birds singing. Every day was filled with activities and sightings the students had never experienced. Each day the students rotated through the various scientific surveys and they were guaranteed to see things they had never seen before such as red-faced spider monkeys throwing branches at them. One day on the Burro-Burro River we encountered a group of wedge-capped capuchins leaping across a monkey bridge right in above of our boats. On another morning an anteater came into a tree at the edge of our camp. The diversity of birds and bats caught in the mist nets was fascinating. False coral snakes, tree boas and poison dart frogs were among the herp highlights.
This is my third trip with OpWall and as a professional educator with 30 years of experience I cannot imagine a better combination of field science and adventure. Observing my students banding birds, identifying bats, handling herps, discovering anteaters or ocelots on their camera traps, or trekking through the forest affirms my belief that this is the most valuable thing I do as a science educator. I will be returning to the rainforest with students for years to come.