P h i l   H .

Day 2, 16 March 1998
Amazon canopy tower

Today we went to the forest canopy in the morning to watch birds from the different layers of the tower. Alex and I were on the top section. Before we began, we looked out around us at the vast scenery that lay in front of us. I was awed by what we saw: it was one of the most amazing views that I have ever seen. The sun reflecting off the forest canopy was beautiful. We were able to identify many species of birds, including some that I have never seen before, such as an Ani and a Black Headed Parrot. After rotating everyone through the tower, we headed back to the base camp for lunch.

Shortly after the meal, Bruce assigned our positions for the “rapid assessments” on the canopy tower. Alex and I were assigned to the top. We were also told, much to our delight, that we would be able to try out the new zip line to the independent platform in a nearby tree. Before we left the lodge Norman (the head of the lodge) suited the first eight of us into our climbing gear for the zip line.

The first order of business was to cycle everyone through the separate platform via zip line. Alex went first and I went second, followed by the rest of the group. A. was scared of going at first but with a little encouragement she was able to make it. Then there was M. who was the most afraid of heights. At first she would go nowhere near the edge, but she soon took some huge steps toward the edge and stepped off the tower. I feel that she was the bravest person on the tower that day.

After we all ran the zip line we began the rapid assessment. Alex and I were stationed on the top platform at 115 feet. In the ten minutes we found a total of 13 animals and 4 plants. When all of the data had been compiled, we found that we had hypothesized incorrectly that morning, when we guessed at what platforms would have the most life.

After we had performed the rapid assessment Alex and I had to take light readings on every platform to see that if the hypothesis that only 10% of sunlight reached the rainforest floor. This hypothesis was correct. After we finished the light readings we headed back to the lodge to call it a day.

—Phil H.

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