Caroline Trippel – 8/26

We flew all night and finally got back home to Detroit! Overall this was an excellent trip and I learned a lot about medical infrastructure in other countries, especially South America. I also learned a ton about the rainforest ecosystem over our time in Ceiba Tops. Some of my favorite fun facts include the differences between millipedes and centipedes being that millipedes are detritivores, have 2 legs per body segment on each side, and are poisonous and secrete cyanide when threatened while centipedes have 1 leg per body segment, are carnivores and are venomous because they bite. Also that some trees grow from the top/canopy down to the forest floor and that the roots are very shallow because all the nutrients are at the surface where there is dead/decaying matter. Perhaps most importantly for our concerns, I learned that only 21% of the rainforests have been explored for medicinal purposes. We saw a lot of local herbal remedies that the shaman showed us after the canopy walk and each was very impressive. It certainly seems like there is a lot of unharnessed potential in our rain forests that would be worth investigating in an ethical/conservationist manner. I hope to come back some day maybe in that capacity!

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