Welcome to my Kalu Yala journal. My name is Daniel, and the purpose of my article here is to inform you about my mission here in Panama City. My mission is to be an intern here at the Kalu Yala company, which specializes in ecotourism, research in the biological sciences, and community outreach such as by teaching English to the native population here in Panama. I affiliate with the “Living Systems” biology program. Regarding this division, our goal is to go beyond simply improving the agricultural sustainability of this region via manual labor. Our vision is to professionally research and then apply the theoretical principles of environmentalism that would best lead to the greatest yields in crop harvests, as well as to protect the flora and fauna of this ecosystem.
Our company controls three command centers: one in Panama City, another in San Miguel, and finally a research station in the jungles of Kalu Yala. Each center enables us to exert our influence respectively in the urban, suburban, and rural areas of this country. Whereas the company’s marketing efforts are concentrated in Panama City and the community outreach programs focus on the suburbs around San Miguel, my mission of researching the biological phenomena of this region has led me to spend most of my time in the jungles of Kalu Yala.
As of today (2013 January 26, Saturday) I have completed the orientation phase of becoming a team member of jungle research expeditions at the Kalu Yala field station. Among the training that has so far been provided is to become familiarized with the basics of camping survival skills, such as in properly treating drinking water with iodine or knowing how to find our way back to the base should we get separated and lost. Besides camping skills however, the highlighted skill that may best characterize our division is our investigative ability to make use of scientific journals of previous researchers in this region in order to determine topics of research that will further maximize our understanding of how to best improve the ecological sustainability of this region.
Besides having skills or knowledge in the biological sciences, other invaluable skills that may soon come in handy is horseback riding, as it would ease the effort of traversing the hour-long mountainous path from San Miguel to Kalu Yala on foot. (Hopefully our company may soon have enough horses available for our interns to use after the ecotourism division builds stables and the perennial means of caring for the equine.) In the meantime, to work here in this Living Systems division, it is necessary to have a strong body capable of walking that mountain trail. We make sure to factor in whether or not we will be able to carry our own 30 kg (70 lb) hiking packs just in case, although we have one carriage as of now as a designated means of transporting our research gear that is being taken to the station.
One of the most unambiguously peripheral skills that enhance our abilities to accomplish our mission is the ability to speak good Spanish. Near the field station, there live several indigenous natives who own jungle ranchos. Some of these locals go by names such as Don Diadro, Ramon, or Diego. To be able to communicate with these locals provide substantial help to all our divisions. Especially for our Living Systems group, being able to speak Spanish has allowed us to speak with governmental officials in the Ministry of Health (Ministria de Salud) for licenses to work in this region, and to identify what types of machinery are allowed to be applied in the jungle. Examples of such licenses include a fishing license for ichthyologic studies on aquatic river life in this rainforest, or a permit to cut down trees to access new regions of the jungle. Besides using Spanish to help further the Living Systems Program, the ability to speak Spanish improves every aspect of our lives here in Kalu Yala. Clearly, the importance of Spanish cannot be understated.
Among the other coworkers here in the Kalu Yala program, our Living Systems Program is comprised of members from all over the U.S. Our team is comprised of members from New York, Chicago, and Washington D.C. Our current specialists hold degrees in Global Sustainability, Environmental Engineering, Biology, Sociology (concentration in Organizational Leadership), and Education. With this eclectic range of skills, it is certain that great accomplishments can be made for Kalu Yala.
This picture is a snapshot of some of my fellow talented coworkers at Kalu Yala.