Manu Learning Center, Peruvian Amazon (2009)

The Manu Learning Center (MLC) is owned and operated by Quinn Meyer. It’s an eco-tourist lodge, but focused on education and research. We visited in ’09 to set up a plot. It’s a wonderful place, but is currently vulnerable to government officials selling the land to oil companies. Hunt Oil recently received the rights to blast most of the surrounding areas looking for oil and gas (they literally dynamite the ground and listen for changes in the sound waves caused by oil/gas rather than rock in the ground).


Photos contributed by Anthony, Marije and Ana.

It’s a relaxing boat ride down from near Patria to the MLC.


Yellow was fashionable this season.


Waldo was sent to us as our guide for a few days. We were fortunate enough to have him point out the birds to us down the river. However, it became somewhat repetitive when he would disrupt the peaceful journey with a loud shout of, “Road-side hawk!!!” We were all like, yes, we get it already.


Yadvinder and I disembark the boats and walk to the MLC.


When we set up the new 1 ha (100 m x 100 m) plot, my team of artists and scientists quickly saw me change from relaxed Josh to slave-driver Josh. They soon understood the logistical challenges that we are faced with in tropical ecology and the organizational management of efficiency that I direct. Needless to say, our team ended the day well ahead of all the other teams in the amount of data collected, and I bought them all beer.


Artist Daro Montag gives me a diameter reading.


Rhian checks out my scribbles.


Hannah is intent on not only marking with a knife where we need the measurements taken, but also on etching some pretty pictures along side with it.


The next day we went to check on Joel’s work nearby the MLC. Joel is the lone social scientist grad student in our group, and he asks the community what it would take for them to conserve their forests.


We check out a reforestation project that was planted with banana trees to provide not only carbon sequestration, but also the fruit commodity to sustain livelihoods. Unfortunately, it appeared that the leaf cutter ants were just starting to move in and take down the trees one by one.


The interesting flower of the banana trees.


Group photo with Cape Farewell and Quinn on the far right.