dia cinco -
Autlan, Jalisco, Mexico, North America (population 42,155; lat. and long. data: 19 degrees 46 minutes North, 104 degrees, 22 minutes West; elev. 3023' above sea level)

Link to more detailed maps incuding Google Earth imaging...
www.maplandia.com/mexico/jalisco/autlan-de-navarro/

Link to city information...
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autl%C3%A1n,_Jalisco

Today was our best bird day yet. We were able to gain entry to the access roads in a sugar plantation at the foot of a mountain. The plantations appear to be ideal for a bird sanctuary. There are so many types of birds there but issues abound - more about that later. We went with a local expert who so enthusiastically shared his expertise on Mexican birds, conservation issues, environmental education and Autlan's best tacos.

NATURE ALERT: It is kind of late at night right now (11:49 PM) and a huge bat just dive-bombed my head after it got a drink out of the pool at the Autlan Hotel. Very cool!

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We were there. Well - sort of - these are the mountains adjacent to the plantations.009.JPG
That is part of a sugar plantation. I wish I could bring home some sugar cane to display in my classroom but I am sure that US Customs would not be pleased if I tried to bring it across the border. A picture will have to suffice.
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Here is a picture of a fig tree. The birds love them for the food and shelter, but did you know that there is actually a different species of tree inside there? Of course it is dead now, but the fig tree overwhelms whatever tree it grows on so it can be a parasite in a way.

Following our walk in the woods we returned to civilization for some good old-fashioned Skyping. I met with three classes
today based on the following schedule.

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Wednesday, 11/16 (A-day) Skype Schedule:
times listed are for Pulaski High School / GDL on Central Time
12:30 - 12:40... Mr. DePoint's 5th grade class
12:44 - 12:54... Period 7A Biology
12:57 - 1:07...Period 8 Earth Science

I had a lot of fun answering my students' questions and sharing information about what I have been up to. I would like to thank our fabulous IT people (especially Mrs. VanDuzer and Mrs. LaDue) for their assistance with these sessions. It is not every day where the teacher video chats with his or her own classes while in another country. Heck, it is not even every year. You know, now that I think about it, I don't think I have ever heard of this happening, so thank you classes for participating!

Went hiking to this awesome mountain overlooking the city. The picture on the wiki home page was from this walk. We learned about this church at the top of the mountain that will be used for a service in December. The catch? It is only used once a year and when it gets used it the mountain gets abused. Thousands of people make the hike for this annual event but when they are there they are not real concerned about their environmental impact if you catch my drift. A local environmental educator and a great host to us shared the dilemma associated with these types of traditions and the obstacles in making positive change. After learning more about outreach programs in Autlan I can say that there are concerned individuals that are doing great things but that a city-wide culture of environmentalism will take time. Rome was not built in a day.

These cacti are over 200 years old and extremely valuable members of the ecoregion. The picture below shows a single plant. They are beneficial in their ecological niche and economically valuable to the area as well. People will claim a cactus during the fruiting season and harvest them to sell at markets for food. They will literally live underneath the plant to ensure that the fruit is theirs. Apparently a single large cactus can produce enough fruit that when sold they can provide a person enough money to live on for the year. Mexicans are very good at utilizing their resources to gain an income. On the other hand, many of the old cacti we saw on the way up the mountain had bruises and scars, even objects jabbed in them that were causing sections of the plant to die. I can't imagine such foolishness.
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