"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines.

Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." -Mark Twain

A bit more on Asa Wright...

>> Monday, March 21, 2011

It seems ages ago we left Trinidad, but before we move on in our blog, here's a bit more about our visit to the Asa Wright Nature Centre:
The Centre is located in the Arima valley high in the mountains of Trinidad. It was once a cocoa, coffee, and citrus plantation, owned and operated by a couple from 1936 until after the Second World War, when they abandoned it to return to the United States. Newcombe and Asa Wright bought the land, ran the plantation, and hosted scientists who came from all over the world to observe and study the Oilbird population that resides in a cave on the grounds. Oilbirds are the only nocturnal, fruit-eating bird on the planet, flying as far as 75 miles under the cover of night to forage the surrounding forests. They are so named because the young birds grow to be 50% heavier than adults, and were captured and rendered down for their oil by indigenous people and early settlers. The only known easily accessible colony is located at the Asa Wright Nature Centre. These rare birds, as well as the vast array of wildlife in the Arima Valley, inspired a group of Trinidadians and foreigners alike to come together to form the Asa Wright Nature Centre in 1967. Their efforts have preserved this diverse ecosystem, and the Centre has been a prime spot for ecotourists, with a beautiful hotel and a unique opportunity to study and appreciate the beauty of Trinidad's tropical rainforest.
The car ride into the mountains was long, grueling, and even nauseating for a couple of the crew and educators. For the students, it was an opportunity for a snooze. They were all fast asleep instantly, it seemed. A sun shower welcomed us to the Centre, and we were led indoors through a beautiful parlor and out to a veranda overlooking the grounds. We immediately took notice of how many different birds inhabited the lush forest. The colors and patterns flitting and flashing before our eyes were breathtaking. For the first half hour or so, we could do little more than sit in awe while we picnicked on the veranda.
After lunch, the students spent a solid hour observing, sketching, and learning about the birds of Trinidad and Tobago. A few examples of their hard work are proudly presented here (From top to bottom, work by: Sarah Nelson; Wyatt Richard; Cree Lehrman; Ben Voisine-Addis; Milo Stanley; Ashley Charles).


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