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Rainforest Reporter Blog2

I'm Gareth Jones and I was chosen to be the first Together For Trees Rainforest Reporter after a nationwide search. Keep up to date with my trip to Gola in Sierra Leone, as I explore the rainforest, see rare animals and hang out with the locals.

Find out more about Gareth

30 Oct Life changing experiences in the African rainforest

 Kenema _city _sign

I'm back and I'm not happy about it! I had two intense, eye-opening, life changing weeks in the African rainforest, which made exiting Heathrow into grey skies and drizzle particularly difficult.

Having had time to reflect on my experiences, I now understand why I didn't want to come home. My time in Africa undeniably changed me. It gave me a new outlook on life, a desire for adventure and a new energy and resolve to seize every moment. Something about Africa really got to me.

    07 Oct My friends call me Jungle Boy

    Jungle _boy

    Later on during my trek from Lalehun, we are in the midst of a white-necked rockfowl colony - one of Gola's most charismatic birds, found only in these West African forests. They are one of the species here the RSPB and its partners are most keen to preserve. They nest on overhanging cliffs by mixing mud and grass with their feet, collecting it in their mouths, and regurgitating the materials on a rock face to form a mud nest. Cleverly this keeps predators such as snakes and monkeys well away from their young.

      06 Oct Phenology and conservation practices in Gola


      There is nothing better on this earth than camping in the jungle. I promise you. I'm writing this whilst swinging from a hammock in the middle of the rainforest. I'm with Finando Palmer (Eco-Tourism Supervisor), Sullay Mohammed (Superintendant of Research and Monitoring) at Gola Rainforest National Park (GRNP) and our guide Bobbi, a local man from Lalehun, born and raised in the jungle.

        05 Oct "Gareth, you are at one with the Lalehun people and the forest"

        Lalehun villagers

        This was our most difficult and occasionally treacherous journey yet. Our driver Victor's skills were tested to the limit as we drove through rivers and navigated the Land Rover over slippery, two-log bridges. We were travelling to Lalehun, one of the most remote villages in Sierra Leone, situated right at the edge of the Gola Rainforest National Park.

          23 Sep Local heroes and Lionel Ritchie

          local childrenWoken by the sounds of the jungle, I threw my clothes on and was greeted by an unexpected sound...Lionel Ritchie. We discovered that Vincent, our driver, has some, shall we say, eclectic tastes when it comes to music for the Land Rover!

            22 Sep Eco-tourism in Gola


            About three minutes after I woke up, the shout of 'Mr Gareth! Mr Gareth!' got me running outside. It was Prince Sorriba, Gola's very own Dr Doolittle. Prince is one of the most knowledgeable, affable and inspirational conservationists I have ever met. I was working with him this week as he is responsible for habituating Diana monkeys in the rainforest; a long process requiring huge amounts of patience, where Prince and his colleagues essentially try and persuade Diana monkeys not to run away from humans now they are in a protected area.

              21 Sep Meeting the people of the rainforest

              woman with garriThere is a cacophony of wildlife surrounding me as I sit here reflecting on an incredible first day in the Gola Rainforest National Park in Sierra Leone. My first visit as Tesco and the RSPB's Together For Trees Rainforest Reporter, was to a group of inspirational, forthright women who had benefited hugely from the rainforest's community development programme - supplemented by their own fiery ambition. These ladies used to sell bushmeat bought from hunters who were illegally hunting inside the forest.

                13 Sep Welcome to Africa

                Railway kidsAfter months of preparation, I've finally made it. I'm here in Sierra Leone as the Together For Trees Rainforest Reporter! I landed at Lunghi airport, after a nine-hour delay, to find what can only be described as organised chaos taking place at customs. After navigating our way through the crowds, we were spat out into the scrum that was luggage collection, grabbed our bags and made our way out into the African night.

                  30 Aug T -9 days until my Rainforest Reporter expedition begins

                  zip liningNot long to go now! It's literally just over a week until I'm over in Sierra Leone, trekking in the midst of the Gola Rainforest National Park to see how money raised through the RSPB and Tesco Together For Trees campaign is being spent. In an effort not to leave my preparation to the last minute, I have been training and preparing for the last few months, for what is likely to be one of the most exciting trips of my life!

                    20 Aug Off to the African rainforest for the biggest adventure of my life

                    Gareth and Ed Stafford

                    Hello there. I just wanted to introduce myself. My name's Gareth and I'm about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime to the rainforest as the first ever Together for Trees Rainforest Reporter. I'll be sharing my trip with you via this blog, but first, let me tell you a little bit about how exactly all this began...

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