First Full Work Day

It’s really dark beginning at 6:30pm but the stars are really bright and beautiful. Saw a bunch of bats at dusk – We’ve been told that they roost in the ceiling of our house and come out to feed at night, so any noises at dawn are the bats returning for the day! Have seen lots of birds (but no ”cool ones”), tons of bugs but no monkeys or wild pigs … yet.

Alarm at 6am, breakfast, then into the forest around 7am, before it gets too hot. Probably around 65-70 this morning. Worked on Paul’s Resistivity project today, laying electrodes along a transect to record moisture content of the soil. Put up 2 more critter cams along the transect – along the path where we saw pig poop and hope to catch an image of something tonight! I’m taking tons of pictures but there’s no way this computer can handle even one I’ll bet.

There are 2 grad students from Brown Univ in RI and one of them, Carmen, knows some of Joey’s friends who I had as students in 8th grade! It really is a small world.

Every meal so far has been rice and beans, meat, some other starchy carb and fruit juice (Passion fruit/cashew mix today was yummy). I’m sitting on the porch now typing this and waiting for a group to go down to the reservoir. I think the only way to get all the bug spray and dust from my hair is through a swim! We ran out of water this morning so need to conserve. (it comes from a well and somehow the pump failed during the night, it’ ok now - only has one temp anyway) Wait til you see the pictures!

We made it!

The bus ride from Goiania to Canarana was long but uneventful and relatively comfortable. I slept on and off the whole ride. Got there at 9am. Paul (from WHRC) meet us in Canarana, took us to breakfast, to the supermarket and to meet Maristela, who is an educational consultant to IPAM in Canarana and is coordinating my visits to local schools next week.

Finally made it to the ranch for lunch at noon, then dressed in long pants, long sleeve t. Don’t forget to tuck socks in pants and boots – don’t forget the snake chaps, sunglasses and hat. Placed a few “Critter Cams” to capture images of whatever may pass them in the forest. Will check on then later in the week.

Paul and Kathleen swam in the reservoir near the compound while I acted as “lifeguard”. It’s 8pm now and I’m really tired. Will add more tomorrow.

We’re almost there!

We finally left JFK for our 1pm flight at 2pm and arrived safely in Rio at 1am. Long flight, saw the movie “The Adjustment Bureau” with Matt Damon as well as a bunch of NBC TV shows. My kindle has been awesome too. Tried to sleep but only dozed from time to time. Got a voucher from the airlines for a hotel and taxi when we landed. Got to a decent hotel at 2:30am. Slept til 9am but still tired.

This morning we saw the big Jesus from the roof of our hotel – very cool. Drank cafe zima and had poa de queijo, little cheese balls, at an outdoor cafe in downtown Rio. On to airport. Taxi drivers drive VERY fast!!

Security in Rio – put bag on belt – thats it! No free internet anywhere. Kathleen paid $.25/min at the hotel to contact WHRC about all the changes to our reservations.

At airport, needed to exchange dollars for “R$ – Reai”, pronounced Hay I, (the rate R$1.5/$1). Food – got a cafe con leche 4.70 (Brazilian), a small quiche 6.40 with onion and some green stuff that I thought was spinach when I ordered it but don’t think it was when I was eating it – but very delicioso anyway. 4 postcard stamps (8.4).

Now hanging out at a “day room” near the airport til bus time tonight at 9pm. Will arrive in Canarana mid morning I think.

Will blog from “the ranch” tomorrow night.

The adventure has begun…

Yesterday (Sat), Kathleen (from WHRC) and I left Cape Cod around 3pm. We were psyched -  no traffic going off Cape, no traffic in Boston, no problems checking bags or going through security. The flight to JFK in New York even arrived a few minutes early.

It’s when  we got to our gate that our worries began. The flight to Rio had been delayed from 9:35 til 11pm. Not a big problem, but then they moved it to 12:30, and gave us a food voucher for “our inconvenience”. Unfortunately, at midnight, all the food places but 1 were closed so there were slim pickins. I figured that as long as we could make our 3pm connection the next day, the wait time in Rio was lessened by waiting in NY.

When they posted 9am departure, we were truly concerned and when that changed to 1pm (on Sunday) we knew we were in trouble! The airlines said they would set us up with a hotel and transportation and would rebook missed connections etc.. Things were looking up, minutely.

We waited, and waited and waited some more – it was Sat night in NY – there were no rooms? Finally at 2am they started issuing vouchers to a hotel in Stamford, CT! We eventually boarded a taxi at 3am, got to CT at 4am and will catch another taxi at 10am back to JFK.

Keep your fingers crossed for success! Success in arriving back at airport on time, success at going through security – again, success that the plane will leave NY, and success at rebooking all the missed connections.

Final thought for today – pack a toothbrush in your carry-on.

Weather in Canarana

http://www.weather.com/weather/tenday/BRXX1408

What am I gonna do in Brazil??

Here’s some interesting info from the last time teachers went on this trip.

Brazil Research Experience for Teachers  by Chris Brothers, Falmouth High School

Scroll down to page 4 after clicking on this link to Falmouth High School Teachers Journey to Center Field Site in Brazil

2 more days!

Departing Boston 7pm Sat 7/23  to JFK to Rio then fly to Goiania – arrive 5pm Sun 7/24 , bus (12hrs) to Canarana and then 1.5 hr dirt road ride  to ranch.  Arrive mid-day Mon 7/25.

Have been checking the weather forecast daily and even though it’s winter in Brazil, the temp is very close to New England in summer.

My packing list is ever expanding so I need to whittle it down to the bare essentials to fit into one suitcase and a backpack (leaving room for souvenirs from Rio). Will run errands today and do last minute stuff tomorrow.

Background Info

The Woods Hole Research Center conducts major field experiments in the transitional forest on the edge of the Amazon rainforest, at the Fazenda Tanguro, a private soy ranch in eastern Mato Grosso state in Brazil. There, Center researchers and collaborators are studying how fire, land use change, and deforestation affect the vigor, health, biodiversity, and animal habitat in these forests. Through this work, scientists are learning how to predict the impacts of current trends in land use and climate change, and how those impacts are altering forests throughout the southern Amazon.

A supporting grant awarded to the Woods Hole Research Center from the National Science Foundation sent two high school teachers from Falmouth, Massachusetts, to the ranch for two weeks in August 2009.

This summer, I will be traveling to Brazil in conjunction with WHRC. Follow my adventures here…

Ms Cruse