Name: John Williams, Ph.D.
Position: Resident Lecturer in Principles of Natural Resources Management
Program: Tropical Island Biodiversity and Conservation Studies, Panama
In the footsteps of last week’s Super Bowl, we had a great kick-off to our semester at SFS Panama. An auspicious start, the students and their luggage arrived together, and we spent a chock-full couple of days getting oriented to our new friends and surroundings. After some background on the natural and cultural history of the country, we took a tour of Panama City’s historic Casco Viejo district and a visit to the Panama Canal Museum and Miraflores locks.
We also spent some time getting acquainted with the natural side of the country, with an afternoon hike looking at trogons, sloths, and howler monkeys along the famed Pipeline Road, and a night walk to get up-close-and-personal introductions to red-eyed tree and glass frogs in the ponds around Gamboa. We then boarded the noisy prop-plane and headed out to what will be our home for the next three months, the islands of Bocas del Toro. There, we were greeted by Patricia’s delicious Caribbean cooking, introductory lectures to our courses, and a steady patter of rain that didn’t deter us (it is a rainforest, after all!) from a walk in the forest and a boat-ride introduction to the mangroves. So far, so good!