Back in the Forest Again!

By Jackie Willis
January 16, 2003

This is the seventh year of the Rainforest Connection, and it's a very special year. Since we last posted journal entries about our experiences in Panama, we have been able to take a group of teachers to this same forest. In July and August, for two weeks, Greg and I enjoyed showing our favorite wild places to 17 teachers from New Jersey.

We were honored by being granted permission by the Smithsonian to bring our enthusiastic and adventurous group to stay at the field station on Barro Colorado Island (BCI). The teachers were able to walk the same trails that they've read about in the Rainforest Connection. They were able to see firsthand the animals and plants we've written about in past journal entries. They talked with scientists living at the field station and learned about their studies of wildlife and plant ecology. We also visited other places in Panama and met many native peoples of Panama.

These very special teachers kept their own journals during their trip. Being the teachers that they are, they saw an educational opportunity. They selected, collected, and edited their journal entries, and added photos. Visit the Rainforest Teachers in Panama page to read about their experiences.

The website is organized by broad topics, in case you want to find information about any area in particular. Look for the buttons on the left side of the page. These will guide you to journal entries that span several topics:

  • Habitat - several descriptions of the rainforest and what the teachers saw, heard, felt
  • Adaptations of animals to this habitat
  • Species Interactions such as symbiosis
  • Night-time as a special experience in the forest, sometimes very frightening even for a staunch-hearted teacher!
  • Local Cultures -with helpful Spanish words, and soon some material on tribal cultures
  • The Panama Canal -how it works and it's incredible technology.

We will add to this site from time to time. We thought it would be a great introduction to the tropical forests of Panama. Please explore the site and enjoy the adventures. Then, in a few days, you'll also hear what I am doing this week in the forest, besides being bitten by chiggers and fleas. As a preview, you can see one of the snakes that I saw in the forest this week.