Deforestation in the Pantanal - My Family Travels

Adventura de Uma Vida

            Twenty-four hours have passed since I left my home and my country.  I am on the final leg of my first journey to Brazil. I ponder over many questions about the Pantanal and the projects with which we are about to assist, attempting to answer these questions: “How is deforestation affecting their water and animal life?  What are the natives of this region doing to repair their current situation?” 

            I continue to wonder if all eight months of planning, preparation and fundraising will be worth it.  Expedition Pantanal is an enlightening program designed for high school students to assist biologists with field and lab work. The Pantanal of Brazil is the world’s largest freshwater wetland, covering more than seventy-five thousand square miles.

            Presently, the Pantanal is threatened by an array of challenges that include fishing, hunting, pollution, deforestation and land development. I was inspired to take part in this exciting ecological project in order to make a difference in the world.  By taking this trip, I would have the opportunity to broaden my horizons, learn more about our global environment and help to protect the life that supports it.  This trip would acquaint me with a different culture; it would provide me with the opportunity to develop a new respect and perspective toward life.

            Upon arriving to Pousada Ararauna, we were introduced to the three biologists in charge of this vital project that would instruct us in our field and lab work.  The field component consisted of trapping and tracking the peccary, collecting water quality data, and gathering fish and plant samples.  We sorted and classified organisms, took vital measurements, and analyzed indirect evidence for our supervising biologists.  Working in the many areas of this project gave me a deeper insight of biological research and how economical development can detrimentally impact a region like the Pantanal.

    Before I knew it, I was leaving a place and people I had grown to love and admire. I was bringing with me vivid memories of my experiences; experiences that gave me insight to some of the many environmental damage and concerns affecting our planet.

            “Expedition Pantanal” was an adventure of a lifetime, or as the natives say, “adventura de uma vida.”  It was an adventure that has given my life new direction, direction for now and for my future.  I found that in order to truly understand the changes occurring in our global climate, we must first locate the forces which bring about these changes.   It is through this community service that I have gained a better understanding for the challenges we encounter, environmental challenges for my local community and for the world.  In order to create change, people must be aware of the need for change. In order to create awareness, we must speak up; speak with voices of experience, education and passion.  Speak with passion for our people, animals, and our earth, of an utmost desire to respect our surroundings, our environment, ourselves.

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