Our return

Well, we are back in Panamá for a few weeks this summer.  This time we knew what to pack and what should stay home!  The trip here was pretty easy.  We drove to Chicago, flew to Panama City, took a taxi to Gamboa and finally got on a boat to Barro Colorado Island (BCI).  In all we traveled for about 17 hours.

Gamboa, the Chagres meeting the canal
Panama City, the Panamá Canal, and Amador causeway

For those who don't know yet, BCI is an island that was created when the Panama Canal was built nearly 100 years ago.  It used to be a hill top, but when they flooded the area, the lower surrounding land was covered with water.  At that time, the Smithsonian recognized that the new island formed had unique qualities, one of which was relatively undisturbed rainforest.  As you can imagine, because it was a hill top, everywhere you walk on the island is either uphill or downhill!

Many researchers and scientists live here for anywhere from a few days to months or even years at a time.  There are very nice rooms, laboratories, a dining hall, and even a basketball court!  The station is on a very small area of the island.  The vast majority of it is forest with a few trails going through it.  Parts of the island are some of the most heavily researched areas in the world!

For teachers and students, BCI is a very exciting and curious place to be.  You can meet people from all over the world at lunch time and it is not unusual to hear a variety of languages (although Spanish and English are the most common).

Enjoy the future posts as we add to our report!

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