"A Day on Barro Colorado Island" by Marina Wong and Jorge Ventocilla with Oris Acevedo is a trail guide and field manual for one of the routes that is walked by day visitors and their guides. The most recent edition is from 2002. The photos are in black and white, so we set out to photograph the diverse organisms in color, to get to know the forest a little better, and note some of the changes that have taken place over the years.
We were fortunate to accompany Dr. Stanley Heckadon-Moreno to Punta Galeta, a STRI marine lab, via the Panama Canal Railway. The train leaves from Panama City on the Pacific Coast and reaches Colón on the Atlantic Coast in about an hour. The scenery across the isthmus is mostly swamp, jungle, and canal. Galeta is situated on mangrove swamp, an ecosystem essential to cleaning the water that falls on land as it heads for the sea, and is critical for stopping erosion.
On July 6, 2010, we visited the STRI site at Culebra, located on the Amador Causeway. We rented bikes and explored the over 3 mile stretch of land created with rocks and earth dug from the Culebra Cut during the construction of the Panama Canal. Three islands were to become what is now a drive/bike/walk-able destination for tourists and Panamanians alike. The Culebra Smithsonian site is largely dedicated to educating Panamanian schoolchildren. Over 25,000 students visit every year.
On BCI there is a 50-hectacre forest plot where all stems with a diameter greater than 10 cm have been mapped. The plot is divided into 5m x 5m squares that are marked by metal candy cane shaped stakes. Our group was working on estimating liana coverage of the canopy of trees with trunk diameters greater than 20cm. We saw some other interesting things along the way...
This photo album is home to views from around BCI, including looking out into the canal, in the dining hall, and on the trail, all taken on our first day there in 2010.
On the morning of July 3, 2010 Dana, Sarah and Carrie took the 6:30 boat off of BCI to visit the Soberania National Park. We walked up Pipeline Road and decided to see what the Panama Rainforest Discovery Center had to offer. In addition to climbing the canopy tower, we saw lots of plant-animal interactions and other wildlife. Enjoy!