Rainforest Library Overtaken by Crazy US Educators – Crazy GOOD educators!


What happens when 30 US educators spend an afternoon at CONAPAC’s  tiny Amazon library, located along the banks of the Amazon rainforest in Peru? Not your normal library experience, that’s for sure! 

There was no stern librarian telling us to keep our voices down or reminding us to read quietly to ourselves!  Instead this tiny library was filled with laughter, fun, and even (believe it or not) turkey calling.  What ensued was a memorable afternoon of science, inquiry, and investigation which was crazy good, crazy fun, and crazy incredible!

Dias de Ciencias

The day began with a biodiversity scavenger hunt using Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s International BirdSleuth curriculum.  Amazon students honed their naturalist guide skills as they roamed the library’s grounds in search of the wildlife.  Educators showed the students how to use digital cameras to capture wildlife spottings for Project Noah  – an international biodiversity monitoring project supported by National Geographic.

Bird Sleuth

Next up, teams of educators and students used Project Learning Tree activities to learn more about the nature just outside the library doors.   Geared for different age levels, the activities included exploring shapes in nature, “adopting trees” and creating nature journals.  Older students launched a tree banding project sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution in order to measure rates of carbon sequestration around the world – a first in this part of the Amazon!

Adopt a tree

As Science Day at the library drew to a close, several of the educators shared their “environmental exchange” boxes with the students.  Students got to taste maple syrup from New York, learn about wildlife in Nevada, explore the seasons in Indiana, and even learn how to imitate the call of a wild turkey from Arkansas!

Educational Exchange

The best part of the day was knowing that we had enriched the lives of these students.  Life in the Amazon is tough, and education is a precious commodity.  The students who are able to participate in CONAPAC’s after school enrichment programs at the Amazon library, such as our Science Day, are eager, motivated, and exceptional.  They will be the ones who will lead their communities and ultimately make a difference in the future of the Amazon.  It was OUR great privilege to get to spend a day with these wonderful children and share a little bit of what we love best – teaching and learning!

You can help sponsor educational enrichment programs like science day at the library or educational field trips for students at the Amazon library.  Please visit http://www.conapac.org/library.html  to learn how you can get involved!

Science Day at the library, Peru



Christa Dillabaugh is our Education and the Rainforest Editor.  A former middle school and high school science educator, she coordinates experiential field programs for educators and students in the rainforests of Central and South America.  She currently serves as education director for Amazon Rainforest Workshops and loves traipsing through rainforest mud in search of teachable moments!  You can read her Amazon field notes at http://amazonworkshops.wordpress.com/