MET Students Savor Nature at Centro Mamoní

By Elliot Blumberg 7 February, 2015

Last week, 34 students from the Metropolitan School of Panama mounted the road from Las Margaritas through the rugged terrain of the Mamoní Valley, landing at Earth Train’s own Centro Mamoní.

As always, biocultural leadership and renewal were front and center in our itinerary. Our drive through the valley gave us an opportunity to survey the borders between barren pastures and primary forest and reminded us of the need for sustainable development and balance between our need for food and the global need for biodiversity. Our trip leaders mirrored this lesson on several hikes, where we saw the separations between primary and secondary forest, took notice of several endemic species, and reminded ourselves that it would be over a century before speciation in the secondary forest on one side of the ridge we hiked reached the same level of the primary forest on the other.

Equal to conservation on our priority list is fun. The students enjoyed a dip in the white water at Junglewood Falls, hikes to pristine mountain waterfalls and workshops that gave them leadership and team-building skills.

Students constructed star domes and boats with bamboo, gaining teamwork experience and a lesson in the properties of natural building materials. They participated in the ancient Embera and Wounaan art of body painting using ingredients from the rainforest and also learned about Centro Mamoní’s closed-loop agricultural system. Some even baked and ate all-natural pop-tarts with ingredients found in the rainforest.

This upcoming week, MET students will explore Guna Yala and learn loads more about biocultural renewal in Panama. Onward and upward, MET!

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