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The Rainforest comes to HMSG

November 25th, 2014

Year 8 were treated to a rainforest experience as part of their investigation of Brazil and tropical rainforests.  Dave Shaw, from the Rainforest Roadshow, staged a whole day of fun and thought-provoking activities, including talks on issues facing rainforest tribes and workshops to enable pupils to gain a greater understanding of this fascinating and endangered ecosystem.  Dave has been a regular visitor to HMSG since 2008.  His experiences, stories, photographs, insects and rainforest foods add that extra dimension which enables pupils to understand the many issues that face these amazing ecosystems and the lives of its indigenous people.

After introducing pupils to a Milk Snake, indigenous to Central America, a ‘Bird-Eating’ Spider, a scorpion (called Sting!) and an Elephant Beetle larva, Dave treated pupils to some rainforest tastes.  The Tamarind fruit proved very popular; however, the Durian Fruit had mixed responses, possibly due to its smell which is reminiscent of rotting garlic and onions!  On a more serious point Dave discussed current issues facing global rainforests, notably the impacts of Soya Bean and Palm Oil farming which is leading to significant amounts of deforestation.  Dave also highlighted a number of places where rainforests are under threat; these included the Belo Monte Dam Project on the Xingu River, Brazil and deforestation in Madagascar.  After 20 years of protest and delay the Belo Monte Dam is going ahead and will flood a total of 668 km2 of which 400 km2 is standing forest.  The flooding will also force more than 20,000 indigenous people from their homes.  Madagascar has lost over 80% of its forests, due to mining, clearing of land for agriculture and the need for firewood.  Poverty is at the heart of much of the deforestation and this is in turn leading to significant loss of biodiversity.

Dave encouraged pupils to research further about rainforest biodiversity, tribes and the threat posed by palm oil production.  50% of all the products we consume and use incorporate this cheap vegetable oil.

Mr Meek
Head of Geography

 

Pupil comments

“Makes you want to know more about rainforests, fun and educational.”

“I saw species of animals and insects that I didn’t know existed.”

“Well it’s not every day you can touch a tarantula.”

 

Useful Web links:

http://amazonwatch.org/work/belo-monte-dam

http://www.survivalinternational.org/about/belo-monte-dam

http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/where_we_work/project/projects_in_depth/conservation_program2/

 

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