Brittany: Parque Amazónico internship

November 27, 2010

I enjoy my internship, although it has little to do with my academic/career interests or my final project for the semester.

As I explained briefly before, I am working the Parque Amazónico. It is on an island (well, technically a peninsula) in the river that goes through the center of Tena.  The municipal government runs it, and its purpose is environmental conservation and education.

It is free to visit, and one of my jobs is to give tours to visitors. There are a lot of plants and a decent amount of animals. (The only snakes I have seen are the boa and the anaconda they have here, both of which are safely secured in a cage). There is also a big observation tower from which you can see the Sumaco Volcano.

A flood in spring 2009 destroyed a lot of the park’s infrastructure, including the bridge that connected the island to mainland.  Now, people have to come across in canoes.  That is also how Anna and I have to get there. There are plans for a new bridge… but government moves slowly and there isn’t a lot of money for such a big project.

Anna and I also work in the office some days across from the island on the mainland, doing random jobs.  Most days we work a lot in the mornings, have two hours for lunch, and then spend the afternoon waiting for 4:00 so we can leave. Sometimes there just isn’t that much to do, or our boss doesn’t use us as much as he could. In a typical week we work Monday through Friday, 8 to 4.

The last two weeks have been really busy. Last Wednesday was the first day of our “Day in the Park” program. We invited fifth graders from 10 schools around Tena to come to the island at different times over the next two weeks for a special program geared toward kids. The theme is the connections between animals, plants and humans, and we give the kids a tour and play a game, all connecting back to that theme.

So far it has been pretty exhausting. Sometimes the kids are super crazy. And last Thursday, a school came on the wrong day and two schools came late so we ended up having three schools there at once. That meant Anna and I were basically dealing with 100 kids at once!

Overall I enjoy the job. And, of course, getting to play with the park’s monkeys doesn’t hurt…

–Brittany Libra

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