Friday 11th April
Today was spent at a local school with Becca and Jorge and a cheeky monkey called Matilde! This was the first of a series of visits to a school in Santa Barbera to promote the importance of conservation and introduce the children to PLT and the scientific work that is carried out at Laguna Blanca.
Community outreach work is a key piece of the PLT jigsaw and vitally important if future generations are to be able to look at wildlife in its natural surroundings. De-forestation to cattle ranching and eucalyptus plantation is still a major concern in Paraguay.
The first part of the day was spent in the classroom with a powerpoint presentation on Laguna Blanca and the Capuchin and Howler monkeys that live within the reserve. My role today was photographer with opportunity to practice some Spanish.
The second part of the day was in the form of a game which the teachers and the students became totally engrossed in. The playground was divided into four habitat types (Cerrado, Lake, Atlantic and Transitional Forests) Matilde the monkey would try to catch children before they reached the safety of a habitat.
A habitat type was then randomly chosen and the children in that area would be asked questions about the habitat and what creatures they would expect to find there.
After a group photograph it was back into the classroom to conclude the day and pass out some goodies to the children. The day was a great success and I can see these visits becoming a regular fixture for PLT.
I had to prepare myself for an incoming monkey at the end of the day!!