The Amazing Amazon! By:
Hannah T.:D Rainforests are amazing places that are being destroyed because of our doings. We need to make sure that we are doing our part in helping save and conserve them. Together, we can make a difference… one person at a time.
Bentley, an 11 year old boy who lives down in North Carolina, still doesn’t have the slightest clue as to what he wants to be when he grows up. Well, his mom wanted to be a scientist when she grew up, but that idea kind of faded. They both go
on an adventure together to learn the ways of the forest, and learn how to save it. Comealong, explore with us! It was an ordinary day down in North Carolina, and I was sitting at the kitchen table drinking some coffee. While my mom was gracefully washing the dishes, I thought to myself, “Who am I?” After that one question popped in my mind I asked her about it. “Hey Mom, when you were my age, what did you want to do when you grow up?” “Well, I really wanted to be a scientist, becauseI love nature; everything about it.” “Cool. Did you ever think about what would happen if you never achieved your goals, and never got a job or an internship as a scientist?” “Sometimes I worried about it. I kind of just gave up on my dreams becauseI thought that I would never be able to do what I wanted to do. Now, I love my job as a mother, and wouldn’t give anything in the world for it.” “So, you knew what you wanted to be; like what you wanted to do with your life, right?” “Oh, sure. I was very confident in it. Every day of Scienceclass I would always be the science know-it-all, and know almost all of the answers to the questions that were asked. The truth is, if you are into something, it isn’t considered work, it is fun.” “Thanks, I think that I really need to dig deeper into my life choices. I still don’t really know what I want to do with my life, and I was hoping you could help me.” “Well, glad to help! But, hey, you still don’t know what you don’t want to do when you get older?” “Yeah. I’m sorry, but I just don’t know what I want to do with my life yet.” “My dear child, don’t be ashamed. A lot of people are twice as old as you are and still don’t know what they want to do either.” “You know what? Are you interested in learning about science?” “Oh, very much. Science is my favorite subject! I must take after you!” Do you think that you might be interested in going to the Amazon Rainforest with me and my Scienceclub? It was adults only, since it is really dangerous and anything can happen out in the wild. If you prove that you are responsible enough, you might be able to come with us! Would you like that?” “I would absolutely love it! Thanks so much Mom!” “I am going to go look up some research on the internet, to seewhat to pack, and what to beware. On the day of the trip, I was so excited, he couldn’t think about anything else except for the trip. The Amazon Rainforest is really far from north Carolina, so they will need to travel by many different kinds of transportation, some of which including…boats, cars, airplanes and sometimes even by train. After travelling from Charlotte to Brazil, by about 5 different kinds of transportation, they were finally closeenough to stop and
take a break at a rest stop. “Well, we’re finally here!” “Wow. This is truly breath taking. I never thought that I would seethe day that I actually had the chance to visit the largest rainforest in the world. When I did some of my research before we left for this trip, I learned that a Rainforest is the largest living ecosystem. It is a truly amazing thing to think about. On the first day of trekking through the forest, Bentley and his mother had the chance to take a helicopter up into the sky just above the tree tops of the trees from the canopy layer of the Amazon.
The helicopter ride was really cool, especially considering we got to seealmost all of the species’ of birds and other flying animals. The next day, we just decided to walk around and watch some of the plants and animals that live there. A couple of the animals that I saw were: The Toucan. To me, this animal is very colorful and neat-looking, so that is why I choseto observe it. It is also more on the small side. From watching this animal for quite sometime, I concluded that toucans are found in South and Central America in the Canopy layer of the Amazon rainforest, which is its habitat. I could seea lot of toucans flying around on the first day, so I thought it would be interesting to observe the behavior of it. Predators of the adult toucan are eaten by large cats, large birds, birds of prey, and sometimes even humans! Someof the prey or food that toucans like to eat include: Fruits and berries. Also, small birds and lizards are eaten by toucans. Theseare called predators. Adaptations, or items that are on an animal or plants’ body to use for special moves and for their survival, help the toucan because a toucan's bill is sharp, and used for squishing its prey, like berries, fruits and lizards.
The animal that my mom was watching was the Squirrel Monkey, and she described it as not only really cute, but has the ability to do amazing things that many humans can't do. Also, she thought that it would be interesting to learn about the lifestyle of a different animal. Squirrel monkeys live in the canopy layer of the rainforest, and basically LIVE in trees! They jump from tree to tree high above the ground. Shewrote down that some animals like porcupines and baboons are predators of the squirrel monkey, but the main predator is the eagle. When fruit is scarce it will drink nectar, insects, spiders, bird eggs, young birds, flowers and dead grass. Shesaw that one of the most useful parts of a squirrel monkeys' body is its tail, which is used for moving through trees by leaping over and around them, which is an adaptation. This helped them catch their prey and disguise from enemies. By the way, they are omnivores, becausethey eat only plants and animals. It was an interesting day. In a notebook, I wrote down someof the things I had learned about the fascinating animals seen today. Did you know, the average temperature of the Amazon Rainforest is 30 degreesCelsius, and 80 degreesFahrenheit? It is kind of like the average temperature in the summertime down here in North Carolina. I could definitely tell that the climate zone was tropical, and researched the average rainfall and the results were: 50-175inches per year. My personal description of the climate was: The Amazon Rainforest climate is typically a tropical climate, also known as and Equatorial climate, found approximately 12 degreesto the North, and South of the equator. Like any other
tropical rainforests, the Amazon is hot and humid throughout the year with plenty of rain. The next day, we wanted to accomplish the plants we choseto research before the trip. I chosesome very exotic plants to research, so it wasnâ€™t really that hard to find them. The first one I chosewas the cacao bean plant. This plant to me looks like an exotic Coconut Tree. Part of the reason why I choseit is becauseI LOVEchocolate, and the beans that this plants gives off to humans and other animals are Cacao Beans. Humans have many different usesfor this plant, but the main reason is for making chocolate. Discovering the CacaoBean tree has had an amazing impact on the people of the entire World. It is mostly used for the production of chocolate and chocolate-related items due to the high demand of the people of the World. It has helped a lot of different people everywhere, becausealmost everyone likes chocolate, and they will make millions of dollars off of it. As you can seea lot of Humans and also animals use this plant for food; not just for the bean, but the entire plant! Humans are the main predator of this plant. The tree today is found growing wild in the Amazon and Orinoco River basins, in the forest floor layer of the Amazon Rainforest. To grow, it needs a humid climate with regular rainfall and fertile soil. It is an under tree, growing best with some overhead shade from other surrounding plants. As I took some notes on the plants and animals we observed, I made this food
web, to show how the energy from one organism travels to the next:
As you can see,this chart shows the energy flow of one living organism to another, representing herbivores, carnivores, omnivores, producers, decomposers and consumers. To be more specific, the Toucan is a herbivore, the human and the monkey are omnivores, and the snake is a carnivore. Also, the banana, cacao bean plant, and the fruits are producers, the snake, human, toucan and the squirrel monkey are consumers, and the mushrooms/fungi are decomposers who break down any dead organism. Another plant that we found pretty interesting was the Buddleia Davidii plant. This plant to me looks like sort of the shape of a banana, or a hotdog. I thought it was interesting looking, so I kept my eyespeeled around our journey, and found out a lot of cool facts about it. I found out that it is actually a butterfly plant, and hence the statement 'Butterfly Plant'; it attracts all different kinds of butterflies. This plant is usually found in a variety of habitats including coastal forest edges,streams and river banks and disturbed places. It is a weed, but you would usually think that
weeds would just be pests. The beauty of this amazing living organism will change your mind. The Buddleia Davidii attracts not only butterflies, but also hummingbirds. Its other name for the plant is the Butterfly plant. If you would like to seebutterflies in your backyard, and breath-taking scenery of hummingbirds, get this plant! It has somegood usesfor people, such as attracting beautiful butterflies of all speciesand hummingbirds, and for curb appeal. This trip so far has been amazing. I never thought that I would have the chance to visit the Amazon Rainforest! My mom and I both decided that tomorrow, we should lie off of the plants and animals for a while, and observe some of the native tribes that live deep in the Forest. The next day, we saw a few people walking around and chasing monkeys. We tried to communicate becauseif we could make a break-through, it would be awesome,you know, being able to communicate with others in a new language. We actually spotted two tribes, the Yanomami, and the Huli tribes. The Yanomamai tribesâ€™ traditions are shaped by the belief that nature creates everything, and is sacred. They believe that their fate, and the fate of all people, is linked to the fate of the environment; with its destruction, humanity is committing suicide. Their spiritual leader is a shaman. Trade also is another important thing of Yanomami life and helps to reduce the chancesof warfare between villages. Often one village will have overstocked goods that another village would really need. Someof the items that they use from the Amazon Rainforest include: Latex, or natural rubber, many different kinds of fruits and berries, and minerals. They use these items for their daily life and survival. The Yanomami live in about hundreds of small villages, grouped by families in one large communal dwelling called a Shabono. They hunt and fish a lot and tend gardens within the forest. Villages are constantly interacting with each other. The villages contain between 40 and 300people, and are found throughout the Amazon Forest. The distance between villages may vary from a few hours walk to a ten day walk. Families live in one large home called a Shabono, which is a disc-shaped structure. For clothing, they wear a small cloth around their behind. They have many beliefs, including some of those I mentioned beforeâ€Śthe death of nature is the death of themselves, etc. They also have many traditions. By the notes we took, we concluded that these people are very nomadic to this area. The other it was a fun day. I am so lucky that I have the opportunity to learn, and have fun with it science the same time. We were almost about to leave and go back to our rental home and save up some more energy for tomorrows adventures, when we spotted another man. We soon figured out that he was from the Huli tribe.
The Huli tribe consists of over 65,000people, and they live in the Central Mountains of Papua New Guiana. They live in large group houses,and use the products from the rainforest, like latex, fish, (from the Amazon River) and other plants and animals from all around to feed themselvesand create new things and products to use for themselves. Their village is set up by house large homes used by many large families. Thoselarge family housesthe Huli tribe members all live in are very unique. The culture of this tribe is really interesting. Women are known as a danger to men in the Huli tribes. They are seen as being a bad influence on men and have been known to occasionally use their powers on men to cause harm. The tribe is male-dominated. A man is free to take as many wives as he wants, but a woman is only allowed one husband at a time. After this is settled, the man makes a payment to the woman's family. The payment is usually pigs, ranging between fifteen to thirty. The man then decides the woman's place of residence and has a duty to provide her a house and land to work a garden. The Huli tribes paint their faces; decorate their bodys with the natural resourcesfrom around them. After a child is born, the woman either keeps it with her to raise if it is female or if it is male, he will be sent to live with his father when he reachesthe age of 9 or 10. Divorce among a couple is often, especially if the woman cannot handle their children. It is known to them that a marriage can only be a true marriage if children are actually with them. The Huli tribe likes to eat: Sweet potatos, taro, bananas and leaf vegetables are the primary foods in the Huli diet. They also eat Pandanus nuts and wild asparagus occasionally. They sometimes eat domesticated and wild pigs, as well as wild cassowary, dog, cat, human, possums, fruit bats, cuscus and other game and small animals when the opportunity presents itself. Since my mom and I were having a blast, we wanted to learn more about the features of the rainforest, like the layers. In my notebook, I took a bunch of notes about my observations. The highest layer is the Emergent Layer. The trees of this layer are about 200feet above the Forest floor, there is plenty of sunlight, and the trees there are broadleaved hardwood and evergreens. Some of the plants and animals that live here are: Evergreen Trees, eagles, monkeys, bats and butterflies.
The second highest layer of the Amazon is the canopy layer. Canopy Trees have smooth, oval shaped foliages, (or leaves) and food is abundant in this layer. Someplants and animals that live in this layer are: Snakes,Toucans, tree-frogs and epiphytes. An epiphyte is a plant that grows upon another plant non- parasitically or sometimes upon someother object. The second lowest layer is the understory layer. This layer receives very little sunlight, and becauseof this, plants are growing larger and taller just to get to the sunlight. This is becausethey are indigenous to this type of climate and are adapted to this area. Someplants and animals that live in this layer are: Jaguars, Red eyed tree-frogs, leopards and many different kinds of insects. The understory only gets about two to five percent of the available sunlight. Becauseof this, very little trees and flowers grow in this layer. The lowest layer of the Amazon Rainforest is the forest floor. This layer is the lowest and darkest of all of the different layers of the Amazon Rainforest. Also, it has the least amount of plants becauseof the lack of sunlight down here. Someplants and animals that live in this layer are: Giant anteaters and pretty much no plants becauseonly about 2%of the sunlight makes it down this far into the Forest. The floor is filled with decomposing vegetation and organisms that are broken down into usable nutrients. 1. Well, you and I both know that there are more physical features of the Amazon rainforest than the layers of it. Here, let me show you a few of the examples that I concluded: the fauna of the Amazon are the animals of a particular region, habitat, or geological period. Most people like you or me is used to driving around everywhere in a car. But, if you had lived in the Amazon Rainforest, there would have been no cars ; just four-wheelers to drive around. If you lived here, you would have probably never even heard of a car. So, how would people get around the rainforest like this? Well, they built roads to travel on and to meet new people from different tribes who know about very amazing things to exchange with each other. How humans affect the environment: Someof the ways that humans affect the environment is deforestation: the processof eliminating trees and basically destroying the forest, conservation: the processof helping and even saving the rainforest, and ecotourism: the tourism to placeshaving unspoiled natural resources, with minimal impact on the environment. As you can see,some of these affects done by humans on the Amazon Rainforest are good, and some; not so good. How the environment affects humans:
I figured out that there are many different types of products that we get from the Amazon Rainforest, such as: Natural rubber. (Latex), and Natural rubber is extracted from tall trees called 'Seringueiras' and still today is a major activity for many families. Guarana, a small berry- like a fruit that is used to make sodas is also found and used from there. Also, many minerals like: iron, Manganese,uranium, bauxite, copper, gypsum, lignite, nickel and gold can be found in the Amazon Rainforest Region as well. As you can see,the Amazon Rainforest is a pretty amazing place. There are so many fascinating places and people to visit all around. I found out that in our room, there is a map of the world for travelers to look at when they need to start their next adventure. Since we were in South America at the time, I wanted to look at it to find more about the location and region of the Amazon. I looked over it for a minute, and wrote down what I saw. I learned that The Amazon Rainforest is located in South America, in the South Western and the North Western hemispheres, and that the latitude is 75-45 degreesWest, and the longitude is 0-15 degreesSouth. I also learned that nine countries are a part of the forest! They are…Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, & French Guiana. On the fourth day of our trip, we just wanted to lie back for a while, relax and just let nature take us where it wants us to go. We took a walk around the forest floor for a while and saw some animals like Chameleons who use their color changing skills as camouflage to protect themselvesfrom enemies. Chameleonsare indigenous to a tropical climate. This means that they are used to; or adapted to a hot and humid climate, and are used to; or adapted to a hot and humid climate, and the composite weather patterns of this region. There were a lot of cool things that we learned on this expedition, but today in my opinion, was the best. I am thinking this becausewe had the chance to experience photosynthesis in some plants. Photosynthesis is the synthesis of Carbon Dioxide, water, and inorganic salts, using sunlight as the source of energy to create ‘plant fuel’. In English, it is the processof plants and other objects using the sunlight to create food. This was a really fun trip, but I knew that it would have to end soon. We were going to head back home tomorrow. I’m really lucky to have gotten the opportunity to go on this amazing expedition, and it was a really eye opening experience for me. “Hey, Bentley, did you enjoy yourself in the Amazon Rainforest?” “Yes, mom. It was really fun and it got me thinking. The first minute I stepped out into the forest, and shook Mother Nature’s hand, I knew this was right for me. Mom, I want to be a scientist…”
CONCLUSION: Well, there you have it. Bentley has learned the ways of Mother Nature, and now he wants you to help. Deforestation is a huge problem in all places, not just the rainforests. Together, we can do our part in helping out our animal friends of the Amazon. I know what you are thinking. “What can just a few of us do to help the huge rainforests?” Well, you don’t need a lot of people to make a big difference. Did you know, the rainforests altogether give off over 80%of the worlds’ Oxygen? These beautiful biomes cannot save themselves. We need to make sure that we are doing our part as well. Instead of thinking about what we can’t do to help, think about what we can do to help.
I couldn’t have done it without you… Information:
http://raintree.com/PlantImages/buddlejapic.htm http://raintree.com/PlantImages/chocolatepic.htm http://members.multimania.co.uk/WoodyPlantEcology/docs/web bud.htm<http://landscaping.about.com/cs/forthebirds/p/butterfly_bush.htm http://www.srl.caltech.edu/personnel/krubal/rainforest/Edit560s6/www/what.html http://www.google.com/search?q=Epiphytes&rls=com.microsoft:enus&ie=UTF8&oe=UTF 8&startIndex=&startPage=1 http://www.blueplanetbiomes.org/amazon.htm http://www.amazonrainforest.org/amazonproducts.html http://christiananswers.net/kids/rainforest/transportation.html http://www.crystalinks.com/yanomami.html http://www.amazonrainforest.org/indigenoustribes.html http://library.thinkquest.org/5128/tribes_am_page.html Holt Science and Technology Textbook
Pictures: http://vickyloves.wordpress.com/2011/01/11/iwillattackyoulikeasquirrelmonkey/ http://56md.wikispaces.com/Rainforests http://azanimals.com/animals/squirrelmonkey/pictures/1637/ http://www.art.com/products/p12888841sai2053174/alfredomaiquezchestnutmandibledtoucanor swainsonstoucanfromthedarienrainforestpanama.htm
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