From riding through dense jungle in the back of a pickup, high above the clouds, to walking along the bottom of the Caribbean ocean through shoals of fish, our recent trip to Honduras was nothing short of spectacular.
The main purpose of our trip was to work as research assistants collecting carbon survey data to be included in a REDD (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) proposal. This was data used to calculate the amounts of carbon stored in the Cusuco National Park where we were working. Large, multi-national organisations like Shell are then able to buy shares in the scheme as part of their carbon-offset programme. The money is then used to protect the habitat of the park for the many endemic species that live there.
During the second part of the trip we travelled to a marine research station on the Honduran island of Utila. Here we qualified as open water divers and undertook marine research surveys into coral structures and aquatic bio-diversity.
Nothing quite prepares you for looking out over the misty jungle treetops in the morning or walking through the dense undergrowth in the black of night, in search of spiders and snakes that could kill you with one bite. But one thing is for sure, our time spent living in our remote jungle camp was both fascinating and eye-opening. Wandering around lost ancient temples seems so far away now and despite all the hard work, the endless fund-raising, the exhaustion of 24-hour journeys and trekking for eight hours in heat and humidity, looking back, it only seems wonderful.
Kate and I would like to extend our greatest thanks to Jackie Reeves and Alex Jenkins from James Calvert Spence College, the Coquet Youth Team and all our friends and family for their support, without which, our trip would not have been possible.
Jeff Handyside, Year 13 leaver