It’s not every day that you get to meet a real life explorer and scientist… one who had spent the last 6 years in the rainforests carrying out exciting research! Today, Andy Whitworth, conservation biologist, very kindly visited MDJS to speak to the Year 6 pupils as part of their rainforest topic.
Andy is a friend of WildlifeKate and she invited him to visit our school when she heard he was back from Peru for a brief time.
Andy has done a lot of work in south-eastern Peru in an area of the Manu Biosphere Reserve, one of the most acclaimed bio-diverse places on the planet.The majority of his field work is situated in the lowland rainforest, a hot and humid environment with regular temperature of 30ºC plus and humidity levels of over 90%.
His main field site, for the last few years, has been the Manu Learning Center (operated by crees for The crees Foundation) sits on the banks of the fast flowing waters of the upper Madre de Dios (Mother of God) river. An incredible site, with stunning views of the mountains in the distance to the west and lowland forest cover to the east.
Andy has carried out incredible research using Bushnell trail cameras up in the canopies of the rain forest, documenting all the animals and birds that use this part of the rainforest. More about his work can be seen HERE
Some videos showing Andy at work can be seen below!
Andy catches one of the most dangerous snakes in the world!!!
The pupils had spent time watching the videos and then had spent the weekend planning questions to ask Andy… and there were LOADS of brilliant questions!
Andy started by giving a talk to the whole of year 6 (He was rather nervous as there re a lot of us!!) It was incredible to hear about the work he does and the environments he works in. He showed us some wonderful trail cam clips of really rare species, such as the Harpy Eagle, Crested Eagle and a bear and Cassowary where there could be only 250 left in the WHOLE world! Nobody had ever got footage of these birds in this part of the rainforest!
Andy then visited each class for a question and answer session. The pupils had come up with some fantastic questions for Andy. Here are a selection of the questions some of the pupils had prepared….
Whilst in the classrooms, Andy showed us the hammock he uses, some spears and, most exciting… a botfly that was extracted from his head over Christmas! He had preserved it in a bottle of alcohol and we were all fascinated!!
We even asked for his autograph!!!…
You can see seem more photos on our Flickr account HERE
We want to say a big THANK YOU to Andy for finding time, in his precious time at home in the UK with his family, to visit us! He is hoping to be heading back to Peru in early February to continue with his research… we will be looking forwarded to getting updates!