Charity struggling to find boys for Amazon expedition

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An intrepid Amazon Rainforest expedition in Peru, South America, has proved so popular with girls that they have been signing up in record numbers for the five week trek in summer 2008. The British Schools Exploring Society (BSES Expeditions), the charity organising this unique expedition which involves being an active member of a research team investigating biodiversity, is actively calling for boys to balance team dymanics. BSES Expeditions, the UK’s youth development charity for 75 years is seeking boys aged 16-20 to get involved. Experience is not necessary, but enthusiasm and determination are crucial, as is a love of the outdoors. Charlie Masding, Marketing Manager for BSES Expeditions said, “Usually we get an equal number of male and female applicants, but so far the vast majority of applicants are girls. “Traditionally, warm environments appeal more to girls, and this Amazon expedition especially so because of the animal research involved in it. We are hoping more boys apply before the deadline on 4 April 2008.” The 40-strong team will head out to the magnificent Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve, which is the largest protected area in the South American tropical rainforest which spans over 2,000 square kilometres. This area is based at the top of the River Amazon, and has a flooded forest ecosystem that is home to the greatest diversity of animals and plants found it the world.Will Taunton-Burnet, BSES Expeditions Executive Director explains, “This expedition is the only one in the UK that is allowed access to this wilderness area because of our recognised scientific research programmes. This gives the lucky participants the unique opportunity to work alongside researchers and conservationists from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).

“Together, the dedicated team will work together to preserve this stunningly diverse, picturesque area,” Will Taunton-Burnet continued. On arrival, the group will travel by boat deep into the reserve, and establish two base camps; land and boat based. All will train in jungle survival and fieldwork techniques. Research The biodiversity projects on land will research the abundance and behaviours of the endangered and rare species within the reserve. The data will then be used to develop management practices in the reserve. Other activities include census work on many types of primates, such as the rare spider monkey as well as surveying the tropical birdlife. There will also be the opportunity to search for new species of insects as the team explores the dense forest. Water research projects include surveying the pink and grey river dolphins in the Samiria River, as well as collecting turtle eggs to relocate them in to safe hatching areas. In 2006, the Amazon expedition saved 30,000 turtle eggs that would otherwise have been threatened, and in 2007, there were three jaguar sightings. Adventure The team will attempt to visit unexplored territory that has never been surveyed or visited by any research group. This will involve trekking through the thick rainforest and wild camping under the stars surrounded by the wild animals. “The expedition offered a fantastic opportunity to get right into one of the most inaccessible corners of the world and to be able to interact with one of the world’s few totally untouched habitats,” said Andy Cowen of a previous BSES expedition to the Amazon. There will also be time for exploring the river in canoes, but fear not, jungle survival and boat handling training will be provided. Lectures will also be given by leading conservationists and researchers on the jingle ecosystem and problems on the area. Cost The total cost of this BSES Expedition is £2,400 including a deposit of £500 (excluding flights which are expected to be £1,000). In many instances, the total fund is met by a combination of fundraising, sponsorship and bursaries. “We realise that the expedition represents a significant investment, but BSES is offering fundraising help every step of the way, plus the opportunity of a personal mentor and bursary funding,” says Will Taunton-Burnet. All prospective applicants need to do is visit the website at www.bses.org.uk to download an application form. Professor David Bellamy praises the BSES Expeditions as they are a way to “discover yourself and help save the world’s most important places”.Visit: www.bses.org.uk for more information

The British Schools Exploring Society (BSES Expeditions) is a non-profit UK-based charity which last year celebrated its 75th anniversary. Founded in 1932 by the late Surgeon Commander G Murray Levick, a member of Scott’s Antarctic Expedition of 1910-13, the BSES is one of the longest running organisations of its type. Over the past 75 years, the BSES has: Discovered one new site of bushman artwork and artefacts in Africa. * Trekked 57.6 times around the world. (That’s 2,303,840 km!) * Measured 133 glacier snouts in the Arctic. * Recorded 13,860 blood pressures in high altitude physiology studies. * Protected 30,000 turtle eggs. Based at The Royal Geographical Society in London, BSES Expeditions has provided opportunities for young people of all abilities between the ages of 16 and 23 to take part in adventure projects that involve science research in wilderness areas. Recently honoured by the Royal Geographical Society with IBG at their annual awards ceremony, BSES Expeditions received The Geographical Award for ‘engaging young people with scientific fieldwork through expeditions’ for the past 75 years. The BSES 75th Anniversary Appeal has been launched with the aim providing the funding to encourage and enable more young people from all sectors of society to join these worthwhile expeditions.

Visit: www.bses.org.uk for more information