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The six-seater Cessna that took us to the Rio Negro Fazenda
First Day at the Rio Negro Fazenda

Andrew and Melissa

We awoke in the Brumado Hotel this morning to a beautiful sunrise, which quickly became rain. This rain prevented our early departure from Campo Grande, but we finally took a six passenger prop plane for a half-hour ride to the Rio Negro Fazenda deep in the Pantanal. During our flight we saw cattle (which outnumber people living in the Pantanal three million to two hundred thousand). This makes sense since the main economic activity in the Brazilian Pantanal is cattle raising. Despite earlier warnings, both our rides were extremely smooth, and our entire group reached the ranch comfortably, happily, and safely. We got settled in our rooms, took a deep breath, and went directly to work. An hour later we rushed to eat in the dining area. Afterwards, we met in the classroom for a brief introduction to the Pantanal led by Ellen Wang.

As we began our work, we remembered the meeting held by Conservation International representative Mariza Correa da Silva. She explained how our seemingly small contribution to C.I. and Earthwatch amounts to the successful completion of research and has a huge impact on the biological community. As we watched our first sunset, we looked over the vast territory we are attempting to save. Although the Fazenda Rio Negro is 7,700 square hectares, it is but a small portion of the Pantanal and its surrounding areas but every little thing counts.

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Photo courtesy of Earthwatch Institute