The semester started just a week ago and students are still getting used to the rainforest environment with all its noises, smells, and dampness.
After a good introduction to the site of the Centre for Rainforest Studies and to regulations to keep students and staff happy, healthy, and safe, the academic program began. Students were familiarized with the courses, the various teaching activities and what is expected from them (to speak of assignments and exams). Then they learnt about the area, its geology, the different types of rainforests and how people settled here and used the land. Information on these topics was presented in lectures followed by field lectures in which students actually saw specific geological features, rainforest types, and land uses.
Students also familiarized themselves with the local bird fauna. Very early in the morning, students assembled at a spot on site and listened to the first bird calls. It is amazing how quiet a day starts and how many birds suddenly join into a dawn chorus. Students are required to learn some of the bird calls for a quiz, and it helps listening to the birds in our lovely rainforest, not just on an iPod.
Now the students are on their way to hear more about the natural and human history of the place to better understand factors that affected and shaped the present landscape. There is a lot more to learn and to discover….