Friday, March 23, 2007


Hi Everyone!

It was so wonderful to be able to speak to some of my students this morning! We were calling from a satellite phone and some of the other teachers had a little trouble with dropped calls, but I was able to hear everyone perfectly. It makes me excited to be able to come back to school and tell everyone all about my trip.

I'm talking to you guys!

This morning was taken up by coordinating the phone call, so after lunch I joined up with a group doing a vegetation study. We spent our time wading through the mangroves – it was really muddy! Sometimes I was in mud up to my knees in spots. We were trying to assess the health of the mangroves and to see if any changes in their environment were affecting them. I first used a densiometer to measure how much canopy cover there was at five different points. A densiometer is basically a mirror that I held out in front of me so that it was reflecting the trees above me, and then I used it to calculate the percentage of cover in that spot. I took four readings in each spot: north, south, east, and west. At first I was worried that I wasn’t using it correctly because I didn’t have any experience using it, but I was told that I did a good job. Yay! Next, I worked with another Earthwatch volunteer to count up all the dead wood along a line through the mangrove. We wanted to know how much dead wood there was because if there was a lot, that means that the mangroves are dying and that would probably be a bad sign. At one point, I had to squirm through a really tight spot in a dead tree. Someone tried to get a picture – it’s sort of hard to see, but minutes after the picture was taken I was sliding on my belly through a muddy dead tree!

Me and my tree "friend."

Once the vegetation study was through, I took a long shower and then we met up for more lectures during dinner. It was neat to see some of the work that other scientists are doing up and down the coast with birds and their habitats. Tomorrow, Mrs. Perkins, Ms. Shluger and I are going to interview the head of the fishing cooperative in town to find out how the fish populations have changed as the town has become more developed - that should be pretty interesting, but I'll have to work really hard to understand all the Spanish!

Mrs. Perkins, Ms. Shluger, and me planting trees.

Check out this picture. What coastal landform is this? How does it form?

A gecko!

Mrs. Parks, I have been eating lots of delicious Mexican food - quesadillas, tacos, tortillas - yum!! Mexican food is my favorite! As for the sand, I actually filled up a big bag with some yesterday, I can't wait to check it out under a microscope.

Ms. Torigian, Mrs. Perkins and I are pretty lucky because we have doors and screens in our room, we don't really get any bugs at all. Some of the other teachers are sleeping in rooms without walls! I think it would be really fun for you to come here, we would have a great time! No Caramel Macchiattos, though :(

Rebecca Walker, I don't actually know the time the sun sets here, but Mr. Magee reminded me that he has a place on his blog where you can check all the weather info for La Manzanilla, probably you could find that information there . . .

Have a great weekend everyone!

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