Pam has recently returned from a month in the bio-hotspot of the Amazonian rainforest of Peru – below is a photo of Pam and one of her co-volunteers, Georgie … and an article about Pam’s experience reported in her local Bridport newspaper …
“It took a 6,000 mile journey to Peru for Lyme Regis student Georgie to get acquainted with West Dorset ‘neighbour’ Pam, who runs a Bridport bed and breakfast and found herself sharing a room with 18-year-old Georgie – asking the usual ‘where are you from?’ questions.
She didn’t expect to hear the young student lived in Lyme Regis.”
the article continues:
Pam and Georgie were both volunteering to do conservation work in the Amazon rainforest. Pam said: “I have done conservation work in the Seychelles, climbed Kilimanjaro, gone to Everest base camp but this was the first thing Georgie has done, being a young girl finishing school. She really enjoyed it.”
For Pam the work satisfies both her itchy feet and scientific curiosity.
She said: “I am a scientist, and my background is biology. I am too old now to go and work in London and being a scientist is not really compatible with living in Dorset. I can satisfy my curiosity and that side of my nature by doing conservation things every now and then.
“I love the new experiences and doing something that maybe wasn’t available when I was Georgie’s age. Every couple of years I normally get itchy feet and head off to do something.”
The volunteers made the two-day journey up the Madre de Dios River to their temporary home [in the Manu biosphere reserve]
[during their 6-8 hour days in the forest] they encountered everything from squirrel monkeys to poison dart frogs and aquatic coral snakes.
Pam said: “The aim [of the project] is to create a realistic long-term model for protecting the bio-diversity of the rainforest that fully involves the people who live there.” The foundation works with local villages to establish new methods of agriculture which will replace the traditional ‘slash and burn’ methods, said Pam.
She added: “In 2004 it was estimated that, in Brazil alone, 500,000 small farmers were each clearing an average of one hectare of forest per year. This technique is not sustainable because without the trees, the soil quality soon becomes too poor to support crops.”
The volunteers were collecting data on the wildlife in the jungle – during the rainy season. Pam said: “We had to go out in the mud and the rain; it was actually physically tough work.”
Pam also says that although the rainforest is a physically and mentally challenging environment in many ways, but that she thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience.
Pam will be at our next volunteers’ get-together in Dorset on June 14th (see article ‘”Saturday 14th June in Dorset” in this newsletter) – so why not come along and find out more?