About the Rainforest Project

 


See the 2016 Rainforest Team’s Location below:

 

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The Rainforest Project is dedicated to finding alternatives to tropical deforestation while empowering high school students to make a global difference.

The Forman School Rainforest Project is a nonprofit program dedicated to rain forest education through scientific research with young adults from northwest Connecticut high schools. The philosophy of our program is contributing to science well as needed information on endangered species. The Rainforest Project started in 1992 as an exploration to the tropics. Since its inception, there have been great strides to gather pertinent information in a professional way for universities and museums alike.

Students in our program are chosen based on their problem solving capabilities, community awareness and dedication to the planet’s health. They participate in a seven month tropical ecology class before leaving on the expedition to Costa Rica. Goals of the Rainforest Project include teaching students confidence and global awareness, developing field research skills, finding new information on endangered species, finding alternative wage-making enterprises for cattle ranchers who abut rainforest land, and implementing strategies (such as legal agreements) to protect people and and resources in Central American from exploitation.

The growth of the students is beyond words. Their confidence, research skills, and speaking ability improve immeasurably. Students become more focused academically and in their college and career pursuits. They develop a greater sense of responsibility for the planet and realize that they can make a global difference.

Ongoing Research Includes:

  • Research on the pharmaceutical aspects of the ant species Paraponera clavata or Bullet Ant
  • Farming and extraction of spider silk from the Nephila clavipes or Golden Orb Weaver for commercial use (extraction method patented)
  • Radio telemetry on rare canopy rodents to determine home ranges
  • Propagation of orchids in test tubes as a possible wage making enterprise for locals in Costa Rica
  • Survey of reptiles and amphibians for census and as indicators of environmental disturbance
  • Banding of migratory birds to establish fly routes from North America to Central America

A note from Wendy Welshans, Director of the Rainforest Project:

The salvation of our planet depends on gathering information that can save our vital natural resources. Student scientists become experts in their chosen fields and work with some of the leading researchers in the world. Our goal is to help students develop confidence, global awareness, research skils and field data collection techniques to offer alternative economic opportunities for shifted cultivation in Central America. We also strive to empower students to make personal decisions about supply of and demand for tropical resources. The science of this program goes beyond the realms of a standard high school classroom. It encompasses depth of knowledge and skills usually found only at the college level.

The growth of the students in this program is beyond words. Their confidence, research skills, and public speaking ability improve immeasurably. Students become more focused academically and in their college and career pursuits. They also develop a greater sense of responsibility for the planet and realize that they can make a global difference.

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