We are heading home from our expedition, with many participants holding official permits that allow them to identify materials with experts before returning to Ethiopia where they so badly need the local information. It was an amazing expedition — I have many photos, stories, data sheets, lots of bites, and many humble thoughts about the inequities of our planet.
Stay tuned, as we put our video feeds onto the blog in the next few days — the very antiquated computer systems in Ethiopia could not handle the files. All of our participants are true heroes of the planet, and to them, I can never say THANK YOU enough — they gave their time, expertise, sweat and toil, funds, and follow-up. The church forests of Ethiopia have never had such a magnitude of talent and passion infused into their greenery. And the hard work is yet to come — identifying insects, tabulating data, interpreting photos, and sharing the word with others who may help us save these precious last forest patches for the heritage of Ethiopia and also the planet.
My list of heroes:
- Dr. Alemayehu Wassie — my collaborator, expert on Ethiopian church forest trees, and adept juggler of church and science
- Susan Jarzen – expert leaf analyzer, logistics coordinator for the trip
- Dr. David Jarzen – paleo-botanist, volunteer in all capacities, and niow an expert in teaching kids how to use sweep nets!
- Dr. Cat Cardelius – soil and epiphyte expert, climber extraordinaire
- Dr. Neville Winchester – micro-arthropod expert, and creative field biologist who managed to put up his extraction traps in all sorts of rough conditions
- Phil Harpootlian – beetle expert and especially good for our extensive dung beetle collection
- Janet Ciegler – another Coleoptera expert, and also carried our Explorers Club Expedition flag
- Dr. Hal Heatwole – ant man, who traipsed all forests with his simple-but-effective sardine bait traps
- Robert Kluttz – freshmen at University of North Carolina- Wilmington and future conservation biologist (we all hope!)
- Bob Kluttz – birdman of Ethiopia, and supporter of all aspects of the expedition
- Jessica Chan – teacher and liaison with the children, in our quest to educate the village kids about conserving their local church forests
- Dr. Phil Wittman – another climber extraordinaire, also rigger of trees, photographer, and fix-it skills for all field challenges
- Dr. Claire Ozanne – Our British entomologist, specializing in Diptera (flies) and also canopy/understory insect fauna.
Additional thanks to our team players who worked from home:
- Wendy Nalvern, the world’s most amazing travel agent who got all of us out of multiple pickles along the way
- David Martin, webmaster
- Staff at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences who are holding down the fort!