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College students help with conservation project in Honduras

A GROUP of sixth form geography students and members of staff at Frome College experienced a trip to Central America in the summer.

Year 13 student Imy Piper reports, “At the end of the summer term, Mr Haines, Mrs West and 7 sixth form students embarked on a trip of a lifetime to Honduras in Central America.

“After much fundraising for the trip, we were heading out to help ‘Operation Wallacea’ scientists with their conservation projects in the cloud forest of Cusuco National Park.

“We arrived in Miami airport very delayed and had to sprint through the huge airport to (very narrowly) catch our connecting flight to San Pedro Sula airport in Honduras.

“The next day we arrived at the base camp in Cusuco National Park, after driving through the park on 4×4 trucks to reach the camp. We then completed a really strenuous 4-hour hike to the remote satellite camp of Cantiles. We stayed at this camp for three nights and whilst here, showered in a waterfall and slept in hammocks deep in the rainforest.

“We took part in many surveys and activities including habitat surveys, night walking and light trapping, where we saw animals ranging from the Honduran spike frog, venomous ‘Timbo’ snakes, and Brazilian wandering spider to the endemic species of jewelled scarab beetle.

“On our fourth day in the park we hiked back to the main base camp where we spent the rest of the first week of our trip. Here we carried out  further surveys and saw more amazing animals including hummingbirds, fruit bats and a green racer snake.

“We ended this week with a sense of satisfaction that we had helped to preserve this special cloud forest. The scientists were really glad of our help in collecting data, as this is used to calculate carbon capture storage, which in turn allows the National Park to receive money from large multinational companies who want to ‘do their bit’ for conservation.

“On the ninth day of our trip we left the rainforest and travelled from San Pedro Sula to Tela, where we caught the ferry to the Caribbean island of Utila, where we would spend the second week of our trip.

“During this week we all took the PADI Open Water Divers Course where we all qualified as scuba divers, apart from Mrs West who had a relaxing week exploring the town and enjoying the views. We also sat in some lectures about marine biology with scientist Dr Owen O’Shea, which we all found really interesting. During the days, we completed a series of dives in the warm (28 degree) sea where we encountered some amazing species of marine life, and also explored the coral reef up close. We spent the evenings venturing out into the main town and enjoyed the amazing views of clear water and Caribbean sunsets.

“We saw some amazing things and met some fantastic people on our trip and after these two contrasting but incredible weeks, we arrived back home having made memories that will never be forgotten!”

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