Honduras Expedition Report
by Lorna Burnell, Year 13
At the end of July this year a group of 34 excitable students and 4 very brave teachers set off for the trip of a lifetime to the jungle. Honduras was the destination and none of us could have quite imagined what was in store for us. When we stepped out of the cool air-conditioned airport we got a taste of what the first week would be like, it was the middle of the night but it was seriously hot and very very humid! The trek into the forest was mammoth, and at some points we had to drag ourselves up vertical faces with our hands and feet.
We were there with the organisation Operation Wallacea to help with the conservation efforts taking place in the Cusuco National Park in the Northwest of the country. Throughout the week we all contributed to the efforts by recording wildlife and carrying out surveys into the health of the rare cloud forest found in Cusuco. We measured the tree height, canopy density and the amount of dead wood, to help evaluate the extent of the deforestation that was occurring there.
Being in the middle of the jungle with all the creep crawlies was something we’d felt tentative about at the start of the trip, and we had a few shocks when we found large insects on the roof of our tent, but by the end we were all at home in the forest. Some of us got to see the forest from the air when we rope climbed up a tree into the canopy, the view from the top was spectacular.
On the final day in the jungle a group of about 20 of us hiked through the jungle, for half an hour, to reach the local primary school. It was quite unbelievable to think that children as young as 9 who lived at the camp we were staying at did this every day just to get to school. The experience really opened our eyes and made us realise the amazing opportunities we have, to even be able to travel half way across the world to see the amazing place that these children will live in for their whole lives.
After a week in the rainforest we were exhausted and the final week on the island of Utila was welcomed by us all. The surrounding scenery was beautiful with palm trees lining the roads surrounded by golden sand and clear blue water. Many of us had the opportunity to go scuba diving on the coral reef, something most had never experienced before. We saw loads of colourful enticing wildlife including puffer fish, lion fish, sting rays, barracudas and one lucky group even swam with a turtle. We also learnt about the fragility of the coral reef there, which is the second largest in the world, and how we can make small changes such as reducing the amount of plastic we use, to reduce the impact to reef and the wildlife that calls it home.
I feel incredibly lucky to have had the chance to see this other side to the world; it was a very memorable trip and one that will stay with me for the rest of my life.