|Learning about the strangler fig, a parasitic plant that grows around and smothers trees|
Between the Chiquibul Forest Reserve (part of the largest national park in Belize) and our own 17-acre campus, there was no scarcity of things to explore, discover and learn from in the wilderness. Thankfully we also had Jeff's expansive wealth of knowledge to help us focus our lenses and teach us the things that nature couldn't overtly tell us.
Gallivanting about in the forest with notebooks and binoculars in hand, we got to do and see some pretty amazing stuff. For example:
See the dewlap of an anole (a male anole will display his brightly-colored dewlap to assert territorial dominance or attract a mate).
Try a taste of a termite (yes, you can eat them! They taste like carrots or mint, depending on whom you ask).
|Marissa grabs an unsuspecting termite off its mound|
Have class literally in the middle of the (beautiful) bush,
|Learning about relationships and adaptations in the forest|
Eat lunch at the mouth of a cave.
|Rio Frio cave in southwestern Belize|
See Christmas plants in 80-degree weather.
|Taylor discovers that we have poinsettia trees on our campus|
And if you're lucky, you may even get the opportunity to push Harvey, our 15-passenger van, through some mud.
One of the favorite activities of the week was mist-netting with birds.
|Mara, Eric and Taylor scrutinize a Spot-breasted wren|
Jeff, who has professional training in catching and banding birds, showed us how to catch some birds and hold them (without harming them), study them a little bit and let them go in a short enough time so as not to stress them out.
|A Tawny-crowned greenlet|
|The stunning Blue bunting|
Some of the students even got the chance to hold a bird in their open palms when Jeff was ready to release it. Many times, the bird would lie there resting for a few moments before it realized that it was free to fly away (which was quite amusing).
|Ren enraptured by the Ochre-bellied flycatcher|
|Rachel overcomes her fear of birds with the help of an adorably|
oblivious Dusky antbird
We certainly learned a lot from our adventures, and as usual the Belizean forest did not disappoint!