2008 Bioregional Education Class: The Estuary

Ramon’s Weekly Report #8

Bioregionalism Education
Summer Session, 2008

June 25 & 27, 2008

The Bioregionalism class meets in the city park

The theme for the week was the Estuary and its importance in the bioregion. We were accompanied by three Planet Drum volunteers: Danielle, Mica, and William. Before beginning class everyone introduced themselves. Frank gave a summary of the previous class, Flora. Then we got into a large circle and I talked a bit about the Estuary. 

Mica, Gladis, Carlos David and Arturo study about the estuary.

I told the class that the Estuary was the mouth of the large watershed of the Chone River. Within it are mangrove forests and a large quantity of animals that live in them.After the introduction, we split into work groups, where each volunteer had to participate in a group. The students read and analyzed their Estuary worksheets to be able to answer the included questions.

In William’s group they talked about all of the different kinds of birds that nest in the mangroves and the types of marine life that live there, too. Mica, with Gladis, Carlos David, and Arturo, told us that conches, shrimp and fish all live in the mangroves and that because of this people go to the mangroves to fish and observe wildlife. Danielle’s group explained how the mangroves help protect the estuary against sedimentation.         

After all the groups presented, I gave a synthesis of the material. I talked about the several different types of mangroves: red, white, black and conch. I told them that there are lots of animals that live in the water, mud and air around the mangroves, all of which we would be able to see on Friday.        

I also talked about the impact that shrimp farming has had on the estuary, how it nearly wiped out all of the mangrove forests, and continues to pollute the waters upon which many people in the watershed depend for their livelihoods. I also explained how the estuary got filled up with sedimentation during the phenomenon of El Niño in 1998. And now one can see the bottom in places during low tide. As a result of this, the waters aren’t as deep and dolphins no longer enter the estuary.

Arturo, William, Jaime and Frank arriving at Isla de los Pajaros.

On Friday we took a field trip to Isla de los Pajaros (Island of the Birds). Thanks to Planet Drum Foundation for paying for half of the trip, the students paid for the other half out of their own pockets. Two Planet Drum volunteers, William and Jaime, came along for the trip. As we were leaving the dock, we saw fishermen fishing in the river. 

A Frigata bird hanging out in the mangrove trees.

When we arrived at the island we all got off the boat and began to sink in the soft mud. Along the way we saw lots of Frigates, Pelicans, Herons, Ibis, crabs, and sand dollars. As we got close to the mangroves we could see two different kinds: red and black mangroves. In the canopy we saw young Frigates and Pelicans. 

Joao, Carlos David, Jaime, Raisa and Jean Carlos

We explored the entire island, in some parts sinking deeply into the mud. On the way back, Jaime and some of the students crawled through the mud because it was easier going. 

Joao after getting unstuck from the mud.

       Joao got stuck and cried for help, but I shouted that he could make it and he pulled himself out. Once we were back in Bahia we all went to the beach to bath ourselves in the ocean.

     – Ramon

Translated by Clay.

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