Adventurers Paddle the Amazon River

Teaching students about the Amazon Rainforest and raising awareness about rainforest destruction
May 19, 2008 - PRLog -- The Wilderness Classroom expedition team returned home on May 15, after a 1,500 mile, 45 day canoe journey down the Amazon River.  For a taste of the experience, imagine paddling from dawn to dusk every day, fishing for Piranha, freeing an Anaconda from a fisherman’s net, camping in remote river communities every night, spotting the deadly Wandering Spider on several occasions, floating alongside Pink River Dolphins daily, and in the end being chased by Brazilian police in a motorboat.  These are just tidbits of the adventure had by the team of four Americans and two Peruvians.

The current of the Amazon in full flood stage made the paddle from Iquitos, Peru to Manaus, Brazil swift.  The reason for undertaking such a journey was to call attention to the biodiversity of the Amazon Rainforest, the devastation of deforestation, and the important role the Amazon Rainforest plays in global climate change. Brazil has some 3636 known species of amphibians, birds, mammals and reptiles. Of these, 28.9% are endemic, meaning they exist in no other country, and 6.6% are threatened (figures from the World Conservation Monitoring Centre).  Since 1970, Brazil has lost approximately 700,000 sq. km of rainforest.

As the team paddled, they were teaching kids about these important issues via the Internet. Photos, journal entries, podcasts, videos, polls, chat sessions, quizzes, and lesson plans were updated daily on the website:  Participating students were in charge of making decisions for the expedition team—like a “choose-your-own adventure book” but it’s real—by voting on online polls, communicating with the team via email and online chat sessions.  Schools also interact with expedition team members through school assemblies.  50,000+ students throughout the United States participated.  

The Wilderness Classroom’s expedition actually began last year on Peru’s Pacific coast, where the team bicycled 500 miles through the Andes and then paddled canoes 500 miles to Iquitos.  The final stage of the journey will be completed in the fall of 2008 with a final 1,200 mile, six week paddle to the Atlantic Ocean.  The Wilderness Classroom is a nonprofit organization and access to all content on the website is free.  The Trans-Amazon Expedition is the organization’s tenth educational expedition.

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The Wilderness Classroom is a non-profit organization that engages students and teachers using an interactive, technology-based learning model. This program “electronically” brings young people on virtual expeditions all over the world. The educational content—photos, journals, videos, polls, podcasts, chat sessions, quizzes, and more—is for students, teachers, and anyone interested in following the expedition via their website,

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