Molly Crookshank: Water-to-Go kept me safe in the Amazon

Hello there, my name is Molly Crookshank and I am an Animal Biologist living in Edinburgh with a strong passion for wildlife and conservation. This summer I spent time in Guyana and Ecuador assisting scientific research in the rainforest at the Iwokrama reserve and Timburi Cocha Research Station. Travelling with my Water-to-Go bottle I was able to experience these fascinating places without any risk of illness from drinking water. It also meant I bought less plastic bottles on my journey. 

I completed my final research project for my undergraduate degree in the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve, Mexico. This was an unforgettable experience and what made me so determined to completed my degree. Unfortunately due to the water quality I was frequently unwell, which affected my fitness out on survey. I was therefore delighted to have Water-to-Go sponsor me a bottle for my jungle adventure this summer 2018 and felt totally prepared for what was to come.

“Water-to-Go have successfully specialised in making filtration bottles to eliminate 99.9% of all microbiological contaminants from any non-salt water source. This was ideal as it meant I could drink straight from the Amazon River.”

Molly Crookshank

 

Operation Wallacea Research Project in Guyana

My journey started in Guyana, one of the most intact rainforests in the world. This was with Operation Wallacea, a conservation and research organisation. Research was carried out in Iwokrama reserve, the green heart of Guyana.

Monitoring the biodiversity is vital in order to see how their sustainable logging is affecting the forest. Surveys are carried out daily and in the intense heat and humidity, keeping hydrated was essential.

Living in the forest was incredible, we slept in hammocks, had bucket showers and had basic structures made by the locals where we had our jungle laboratory.

In this remote environment living so close to people, it is easy to get sick. In fact nearly half the scientist became ill with a parasite from drinking the water and prevented them going out on survey. However, I was able to stay fit and healthy throughout the entire time on expedition, for which I am very grateful to Water-to-Go.

Getting to know the locals in Guyana was a true highlight and re-emphasised the importance of local engagement to conservation. Their own commitment to their environment is incredibly strong and their expert knowledge of their surroundings is invaluable.

Jungle Journey Continued: Exploring Ecuador

After the most incredible month spent in Guyana, I continued my jungle journey to the Amazon in Ecuador to assist a PhD student at Timburi Cocha Research Station adjacent to the Payamino River.

This was such an amazing experience and I got to see how the local communities are using and benefiting from their rainforest. Coffee and cocoa are the main crops produced in this region.

For the PhD we dissected bromeliads from the amazon rainforest, at different heights of trees and collected the invertebrates. This was great fun to test my invertebrate taxonomy and luckily it didn’t take long for me to get used to the creepy crawlies. I have always been fascinated by ants as they are amazing ecosystem engineers and have colonised on nearly every continent!

One of the highlights was walking up Armadillo Hill to get a spectacular view over the amazon. Having my Water-to-Go bottle, meant I didn’t have to worry about the source of the water I was drinking from, so I was able to keep hydrated throughout the long hike. 

Having being able to fully embrace every moment of the rainforest without suffering any illness, I was able to get far more out of this trip compared with 2017.   

I was lucky enough to have a week after to travel around Ecuador. With the incredible mountainous terrain and beautiful waterfalls, it didn’t take long to realise how truly amazing this country was.

Having my Water-to-Go bottle I not only cut down on plastic bottles but I also never had to worry about drinking from the tap in the towns and cities.

What adventure is my bottle going to take me on next?

I have recently just started my postgraduate Masters course in Wildlife Biology and Conservation at Edinburgh Napier University.  For my research project, I plan to go to South Africa next June to study in the Gondwana Reserve. Here I will be looking at the effects of herbivore grazing in the Cape Floral Kingdom. With the Water-to-Go replaceable filters, I can now take my bottle and stay hydrated for my data collection in South Africa.

Thank you Water-to-Go!

Water-to-Go and Journey Latin America support charitable work of LATA Foundation

Water-to-Go have established a partnership to support the long-standing efforts of leading UK based Travel Company – Journey Latin America. Together we are supporting the work of the Latin American Travel Association (LATA) Foundation to help street children and vulnerable young people in Latin America with social and educational programs run by local charities. For every purchase that Journey Latin America customers make with Water-to-Go, we will contribute to the LATA Foundation to support this invaluable work. 

The Latin American Travel Association (LATA) is a membership association that aims to promote Latin America as a tourist destination and stimulate growth of travel to the region.  The association is comprised of over 340 companies including tourism boards, airlines, hotels, tour operators, representation companies and the travel press.

The LATA Foundation is a UK-based charity that supports grassroots social and environmental projects throughout Latin America. The projects are helping to transform lives, providing clean water, dental or medical support and practical training to provide people with new skills in Mexico, Central and South America.  It was set up by the Latin America Travel Association, bringing together tourist boards, airlines, tour operators, hotels, ground agents, travel publishers, PR companies and the press to put something back into the countries where they all work.

Journey Latin America understand the importance of eco-friendly practices in all parts of their business – whether it’s offsetting carbon emissions to minimise the impact of long-haul travel or simply recycling waste paper – they strive to operate responsibly in everything they do. They were one of the first tour operators associated with AITO to be recognised for their commitment to sustainable travel and are a great example to the whole tourism industry. With their bespoke, branded water filter bottles from Water-to-Go, they will further their sustainable travel principles by providing safe, clean water to their customers without damaging the environment.

Water-to-Go and JLA understand that mass tourism can be detrimental to a country’s development. We need to think about the effects we have on the environment so have to embrace a ‘take only photos, leave on footprints’ mantra. Taking a reusable Water-to-Go bottle, for example, would help protect the environment by saving on hundreds of single-use plastic water bottles.  

“For over three decades Latin America has endured the unenviable distinction of having more street children per capita than any place on earth…An estimated 40 million children live on the streets of Latin America’s densely populated cities – out of an estimated total population of 500 million.”

(www.personal.psu.edu/faculty/d/j/djm8/422SPRStreet%20Children.ppt)

Sustainable travel is an expression used to embody the travel trade’s principles of using tourism to benefit local communities, conserve natural resources, and bolster the survival of culture and heritage. Currently, more than 96,000,000 children in Latin America live in poverty and around 40% of all children in Latin America do not even complete 5 years of education. We felt that it was important to support the initiatives with the LATA Foundation with Journey Latin America to tackle these problems.

There are several projects from the LATA Foundation that Journey Latin America and Water-to-Go are helping to fund to make a difference in Latin America:

The Project – Vidarte Space has several projects to help underprivileged children from the favelas of Rio de Janerio. Their main project, the Vidanca Dance School, is located in the Complexo do Alemao favela. It began in 2009 as an initiative to offer children from the favelas the opportunity to express themselves through the art of ballet. www.projetovidancar.com.br

The Project – Tiempo de Juego, a Colombian NGO, supports children and young people who are at risk of forced recruitment and violence in their communities. Through innovative arts, drama and music activities, the project encourages the children to explore the challenges they face in their daily lives and help them develop the skills to overcome these.

The Project – Friends of Alalay directly supports the Alalay Foundation, which was started in the early 1990’s by a 19 year-old Bolivian student who passed street children every day on her way to university and was determined to do something to help. Alalay rescues these kids from the streets and offers them a loving environment living together in family cabins. 

Partnership with Journey Latin America

Journey Latin America are the UK’s leading specialist in providing bespoke, specialised travel experiences in Latin America. They offer the opportunity to experience something extraordinary on inspiring journeys throughout Mexico, Central and South America. 

Journey Latin America have over 30 years of experience and expertise, knowledge and know-how, as well as a team of travel experts who all have extensive first-hand knowledge of Latin America and a passion for sharing it.

Whilst they are incredibly passionate about the industry they work in, Journey Latin America are committed to providing responsible tourism and caring about the environment that they visit. Travel and tourism can both benefit and damage the environment, the economy, the social structure, culture and communities in any country.

This is why Journey Latin America aim to provide sustainable travel when visiting respective countries in Latin America. This includes providing authentic experiences, promoting responsible travel and developing worldwide relationships.

Sustainable travel is an expression used to embody the travel trade’s principles of using tourism to benefit local communities, conserve natural resources, and bolster the survival of culture and heritage.”

We are therefore proud to announce this partnership with Journey Latin America as both organisations share values and are working towards the same outcomes.

“In tandem with AITO, we are working on a pledge whose aim is to encourage sustainable practices in the destination we send our travellers. Having heeded feedback from our clients and Tour Leaders, we decided to focus our efforts on combating the high level of waste caused by plastic water bottles. By encouraging our clients to buy a water bottle with an effective water filtration system which can be taken with them on their travels, we hope to reduce waste and do our bit for the environment.”

Journey Latin America are therefore offering a 50% discount on Water To Go bottles to their clients and from each sale, Water-to-Go will donate 15% to the Lata Foundation.

The Lata Foundation was set up by the Latin America Travel Association so that they could give something back to the countries where they work.

Journey Latin America currently supports The LATA Foundation, a UK-based charity that supports grassroots social and environmental projects throughout Latin America. These projects are carefully chosen and always aim to relieve poverty through sustainable development and environmental conservation.

The Latin America travel industry in the UK is working together to support social and environmental projects throughout Latin America. Their projects are helping to transform lives, providing clean water, dental or medical support and practical training to provide people with new skills in Mexico, Central and South America.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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