Billy Stockwell in Peru

From May – August 2018 I was based at the Manu Learning Centre in Southeastern Peru, which is located in the buffer zone of Manu National Park. This region (Madre de Dios) is a hugely unique environment, known to be one of the most biodiverse places in the world. However, for me it acts as a symbol of conservation efforts worldwide, showing that conservation isn’t as simple as protecting land. I went to Peru with a passion for the natural world (which I still, of course, maintain) but I left with an equally strong interest in people. I learnt that every single environmental crisis has a human basis, and to truly resolve issues you need to support local communities and local projects. I built friendships with many Peruvian locals, all of whom were an inspiration and taught me so much about their work, and their lives.

The research conducted at the Manu Learning Centre (MLC) was beyond exciting. Every day I would join researchers in the field, and soon the jaguar footprints, spider monkeys and toucans became part of the landscape. The MLC reserve is an area of regenerated rainforest, which just 50 years ago was farmland, but now is a thriving ecosystem once again. The research, which I was contributing to and documenting, has found that 87% of life has returned to this patch of secondary rainforest. An incredible finding, and one which gives hope for the future.

Living amongst such a diverse and knowledgable group of people meant that learning was easy. Every conversation exchanged I acquired new knowledge, and after 3 months I feel like my brain is ready to explode. I learnt new skills, improved my confidence, and developed life long contacts and friends. I even managed to maintain my online blog to document my trip, despite the serious lack of electricity and internet. I’ve included links to two of my favourite blog posts, to help further explain my trip:

Spider monkey high in the canopy

This expedition has not only been an incredible learning experience, but it has dramatically influenced my hopes for the future and my possible career options. I’d like
to thank you for your generous support in helping fund this trip. I sincerely hope you can
do the same for many other young people into the future.