Look up, look down, avoid running into trees…

…and tripping over roots. Life is all around us, constantly filling any silence with diverse sounds and displaying vivid colors to catch our eye. The plants and animals that make up this world can be breathed in, seen, felt, and heard when one knows where and how to do so. Guyana’s biodiversity is overwhelming, it is beautiful, and it is also a challenge. When I first experienced this country’s incredible ecosystem, my senses were overflowing and there was so much to take in.

The rare sightings and frequent sounds of birds always seemed to take priority during our time in Guyana. The country’s nearly-pristine rainforest is the perfect place to take in the surroundings and listen to various tropical bird species. The dense foliage provided difficult opportunities to find birds through my binoculars, yet their songs and calls seemingly begged for my eyes to remain searching upward towards the canopy. And that’s where they remained, until we went on transect lines to search for mammal tracks in the soft earth — this is where the challenge was for me! As we walked through the forest, I felt like a bobble-head, looking up to follow birds and glancing down to prevent myself from tripping over tree roots. Each time we spotted new and captivating tracks, I had to consciously keep my eyes down and prevent my ears from drifting back to the ongoing sounds of avian life (sorry, Matt).

Learning to explore wildlife and the world from every angle was a core theme — and apparently, challenge — that stuck with me throughout this Earth Expedition, and it is something I still think about to this day (when my attention is not focused on birds). While I would consider myself an observant person with solid awareness, there is always room for growth when exploring the unknown areas of the world.

Amy Geibel

Flying over the rainforest canopy to Iwokrama, not knowing just how much life dwells within.
Evidence of elusive life on the ground.
One of the coolest sights during my Guyana experience — Scarlet Ibis flying overhead! Photo cred: Becca Weaver. 🙂
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