Hi from Peru everyone! Yesterday after our normal morning shifts, we put together a program for the guano mine workers to educate them about what all the volunteers are doing here, and about the reserve. We split the workers up into five groups, then led them to several different stations at the reserve. We started out by telling them bout the reserve, the animals inside the reserve, and what we volunteers do. We wanted to explain that to them, because the volunteers at the guano site sometimes feel like we are looked upon (by the workers) as “guards,” scribbling down notes about them! We explained that we are observing the animals and their behaviors, as well as measuring the area of guano extracted each day.
After that, we led them up the cliff from their camp, to an area overlooking the cormorant colony. We wanted to explain the importance of the cormorants and their behaviors. Next, we took the workers to the cliff edge, where we split them into two groups. One group went off to learn how to use binoculars. Then they crept to the cliff edge with a guide to watch the sea lions and fur seals. They were all so excited to use the binoculars! Their faces lit up when it was their turn to use a pair! The other group went to learn how to use the telescope we had set up on a tripod, to watch the “far away” penguins. The workers loved that experience, too! We asked the groups to swap places then, so everyone got to do both things. Then, we went back to their camp, gave them some local snacks, and answered their questions. All of the men really seemed to enjoy the afternoon’s lessons!
Today, we did our normal shifts, and now we are packing up and getting ready to leave via the night bus to go back to Lima!! So, this concludes our Punta San Juan portion of the trip! Dawn, the NEW Zoo volunteer, and I will be traveling on our own to Cusco!! We are really excited! Bye for now!!