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RFHS student tells of adventures in Panama

This monkey jumped into Emily Gregg's lap and took a piece of papaya right out of her hand.

Kelly Gregg was about to take a bite of a piece of papaya, when a Capuchin monkey jumped onto her lap from a nearby tree, and snatched it from her hand. It was one of six apparently hungry monkeys who came to steal Gregg's group's papaya.

The monkeys weren't zoo escapists--they were wild white-faced Capuchin monkeys in a rainforest near the Panama Canal.

Gregg was part of a group of 15 RFHS students (13 current students, 2 alumni) that spent Aug. 1 to Aug. 10 in Panama, studying wildlife, and meeting the locals.

The group, chaperoned by RFHS science teacher Dan Hoffman and Lynda Meyers, spent the first half of the trip in the city Gamboa, near the canal, and the second half of the trip on the island of Boca Del Toro, snorkeling, and seeing marine life.

The Capuchins weren't the only animals the RFHS group saw, though. On their first day in Panama, the group took a five-mile hike through the forest to look at wildlife. The first animal they saw, said Hoffman, was a toucan.

"The bird you see on the Fruit Loops box--that's the first bird we saw," said Hoffman.

Gregg said her favorite memories were losing her papaya to the Capuchins and taking two long, dugout canoes to visit an indigenous Panamanian tribe called the Embera. The tribe held a dance for the visiting students, and served them fried plantains and fried Tilapia for dinner.

To read more about the RFHS trip to Panama, see the August 24 print edition of the River Falls Journal.

Gretta Stark

Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.

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