Becki Cohn-Vargas, Co-Owner, Makengue Reserve

22 March 2016

In 2017, in addition to Professor Tudge coming for the fourth year, Dr. Angela Van Doorn, a primatology professor came with her masters student, Dorian Russell returning to Makengue for a third time to study howler monkeys.

Also, Dorian’s husband, Aspen an avid photographer took hundreds of photos and offered to redesign the Makengue website. The AU students increased the collection of student-made videos and produced a unique video “Makengue, Through Their Eyes” that tried to show the world through the eyes of a boa, frog, sloth, alligator, hummingbird, and tapir, all animals found at Makengue. The film was shown as part of the lesson given at the El Castillo library where the students donated Spanish books, additional flashcards, and new educational materials.

Rainforest Animals: Through Their Eyes

The local teacher training day, now a tradition was again a success. Some local teachers were back for a second or third time. They loved the hike and shared their Hurricane Otto stories as they viewed the damage as the hurricane that tore through Makengue and the region in November, 2016. On the night boat ride, students saw and took a photo of a kinkajou. Also, they filmed several sloths that were observed on the Makengue property.

On a trip to Sabalos, the students toured a Cacao plantation and cooperative. They saw cacao plants growing and learned how the cacao was dried and roasted.

In Managua, the Aspen and Dorian interviewed researcher, Jose Zolotov from the Cocibolca Foundation for an online middle school science curriculum. They also learned about birdbanding and other projects at the Mombacho volcano. Due to recent volcanic activity, the Masaya Volcano opened at sunset and only allowed 15- minute observations of the bubbling red-hot lava. But, even in 15 minutes, the experience was unforgettable!

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