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We all arises again at the normal time at 7:30am enjoyed a nice spread of bread, cheese, scrambled eggs,fresh fruits, a nice selection of freshly squeezed fruit juice before class. Normally the first part of the day, after breakfast and before lunch, is time spend in the classroom with a lecture presented by the day’s instructor while the other half, after lunch, involves a more hands on activity. Today things were switched and right after breakfast we began our adventure into a part of the forest. Our instructor, Felipe Lelis, a fellow researcher and student at IFET Rio Pomba, lead the way as we worked our way through crazy branches, prickly bushes, and crossing a bridge with two local dogs who followed us from breakfast. When we arrive to the part of the forest where the activity will began he explained to us all the two type of forest study; biodiversity and ecosystem as well as commercial where companies sell wood fiber or mineral coal. Our objective was to find a reasonable plot area to research on. When doing research on conservation you should observe all areas and find an area where you can find a variety of plants to get a more accurate idea of that entire area. We then split up in groups a mix of Brazilian and American students and began measuring trees in the surrounding. One person was responsible for measuring each plant, the height should be about 10cm or more, horizontal to your chest. As one person measure the tree the other student then labeled the tree with a piece of recycle soda can aluminum with an imprint of a number, to keep a more organized count of each plant we will be identifying. Using a pruning tool we were able to take a few leaves still on the branch to persevere and do further research on. After we collected a section of each plant in the plot we then went into the laboratory to see what the next step of identify plants were. They have this shed where there is heat at the bottom to dry the leaves and branches faster. Once the new leaves come into the lab the first step is to lay it out on a piece of newspaper then place it in-between two pieces of wood and tie it with pressure, then place it into the shed to let dry for three days. He also told us how fruits on trees helps to identify the tree types.  After lunch we met back up and further discussed conservative of native forest. I learned there are two types of trees, primary which create living conditions for the environment and soil and secondary which are just the trees that grew due to the condition in the areas. Secondary trees and plants usually occur when the seeds found inside spread naturally, which is why it is common to see a plant that have not been normally found in one area to adapt and live in another area without harming. We then played two fun interactive games one deal with terms learned over the past weeks referring to the environment; words such as nutrient cycle, weathering, deforestation, and bio-construction. The challenge was to act out each term and the opposite team had to guess. Funny part both team had the term deforestation, the process of clearing a mass areas of trees in the forest, well both teams had people swaying back and forth gracefully representing the trees and had big people come in aggressively making sounds while eac “tree” fell to the ground one by one. The next game played was more of an apply the lesson learned the previous day (photography) and take two photo representing all the things we have learned this week. One photo my group took was all of us holding hands around a plant, which just our hands and the plant in the photo. The photo represented the diversity and the unity of us all, by looking at the photo you are unable to tell who’s hands are American and Brazilian. The next photo we took was of some of us climbing a huge tree, two hugging that tree, and the rest just around the tree all smiling. This photo representing our love for the environment and our new knowledge learned about conservation. This was by far my favorite class of the week being in Rio Pomba. I loved everyone laughing and having fun together and getting silly.I’m going to miss Brasil and all of my new friends :(
Until next time.
Brandi Danette Adams

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