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April 05, 2010

Comments

Dean Jacobs

Greetings Mrs. Drake’s 5th grade class!
Thank you for the post on my blog and all your great questions. There is no program in Rwanda where people can interact with gorillas, this is because the gorillas could catch a disease from people and die. When the tourists spend time with gorillas, they keep a minimum distance of 15 feet. In total, while I was there, I spent over 75 hours with the gorillas. I didn’t pay, because I was working for the Dian Fossey organization. That’s a great question about how the scientists know which sounds to use in order to talk to the gorillas. Dian Fossey was the person who discovered and recorded the sounds made by gorillas when she lived close to them while doing her research.
It’s been great to be a part of your school year. Have a fun and adventurous summer!
Cheers,
Dean

Dean Jacobs

Greetings Ms. Shugart’s 2nd grade class!

Thank you for the post on my blog and all the awesome questions. Yes, you can adopt a baby gorilla for longer.
That’s a great question about how the scientists learned how to talk to the gorillas. Dian Fossey was the person who discovered and recorded the sounds made by gorillas when she lived close to them while doing her research. I heard the scientists make a few different sounds, all which communicated to the gorillas everything is cool.
The scientists mark with a GPS the last time where they see the gorilla groups before leaving the forest, using this data, plus looking for footprints and broken branches from plants, they track the gorillas.
Thank you for all the great questions, it has been fun being a part of your school year!
Have a great summer, filled with fun and adventure!
Cheers,
Dean

Dean Jacobs

Greetings Mrs. Yabrove’s 3rd grade class!
Thank you for the post on my blog and all the great questions. The reason they have tin roofs is because it is cheap and effective for keeping the classrooms dry when it rains. The tin sheets are shipped in from another country. I think they built only one window because the walls are made of mud and dirt, and it’s easier to make it more secure or safe from people breaking in to steal materials.
The piece of paper was crumpled up because it had been scrunched up in her pocket.
When they don’t have desks, they write on top of the notebook covers while setting them on their laps, which helps create a small desk. The cost of the food depends on what you are buying. Some things foods items people buy in Rwanda are cheaper then what we pay in America, other things are more expensive. They do have a few shops; most of them were small in the town I lived in. They also had a big market filled with many stalls where people sold stuff. The gorillas eat a lot of plants because they need lots of energy from the food they eat. The other interesting thing is, they get their water needs by eating plants. They eat plants because they like the way they taste. I don’t know if they eat any plants that might be poisonous to humans. I do know they eat some plants that have medical properties helpful to humans. I think the gorillas have really tough stomachs. I only seen gorillas eat plants and ants.
Thank you for the kind words, they are very much appreciated. It’s been fun to be a part of your school year.
Have a great summer filled with fun and adventure!
Cheers,
Dean

Mrs. Drake's 5th grade class

Dear Mr.Jacobs,
We are students in Mrs. Drake's 5th grade class in Littleton, Colorado. We just read an article and watched your podcast on mountain gorillas. We found out it costs $500 to visit mountain gorillas for an hour. That's a lot of money! Is there a program in Rwanda where people can interact with mountain gorillas? How do tourists interact with the gorillas? You were able to spend 4 hours with the gorillas. Did you have to pay to do that? It is interesting that researchers communicate with the gorillas through sounds. How do researchers know they are making the right sounds?
Thank you for teaching us about mountain gorillas. We enjoyed looking at your website!
Your friends,
Mrs. Drake's 5th grade class

Mrs. Yabrove's 3rd grade class

Dear Mr. Jacobs,
We are students in Mrs. Yabrove's 3rd grade class in Colorado. We just read an article and watched a podcast on the Bisate school in Rwanda. We learned that the roof of the school is made of tin. Why is the roof made of tin when the rain is so loud? Does Rwanda have to mine tin ore in their own country to get the tin for the roof? Or do they get it from somewhere else?
We also found out that some classrooms only have one window. Why did they build only one window?
The students at the school sometimes use a crumpled up piece of paper for a notebook. Why was it crumpled up and not flat? They don’t have crumpled up paper any more! We are glad our school helped get notebooks and pens for them. We saw that the kids were sitting on benches. What did they write on since they didn’t have a desk?
In the podcast we saw food out in the market for sale. How much does the food cost? Do they also have stores that they shop at?

Our teacher also showed us your podcast on the Kingdom of Mountain Gorillas. The gorillas eat 200 different kinds of plants. And they eat 40-50 pounds of them a day. That's a lot of plants! Why do they eat so much? Why do they usually always eat plants? Are any of the plants gorillas eat poisonous to people? How do they digest the nettles without getting stung? Have you ever seen a gorilla eat anything else besides plants and ants? Do they eat a certain kind of ant or any kind?
Thank you for teaching us about Rwanda. It was fun to learn about things we didn't know about mountain gorillas and the children at the Bisate school. You are a cool traveler!
Your friends,
Mrs. Yabrove's 3rd grade class from Highland


Ms. Shughart's Class

Dear Mr. Jacobs,
We are students in Ms. Shughart's class at Highland Elementary in Colorado. We read one of your articles about mountain gorillas. Then we watched the podcast about tracking gorillas. We learned that you can adopt baby gorillas. Can you adopt a gorilla for more than one year if you pay more money? We also learned that scientists make a hauuum sound to let the gorillas know they are friendly. How did the scientists know what sound to make? What other sounds do the scientists make with the gorillas? Sometimes there is a path leading to the gorillas and sometimes there is not. How do the scientists know how to get to the gorillas if there is no path?
We want to thank you for coming to our school last fall. We hope you can come back another day and teach us more about Africa.
Your friends,
Ms. Shughart's 2nd grade Class

Dean Jacobs

Greetings Ms. Hick’s Third grade class!

Thank you for the post on my blog and the great questions.

The challenge with the electricity at the school is because there are no main power lines bringing electricity to the area. When the government installs power lines then the school will have access to electricity. Can you imagine going to school and not having electricity?
The main reason kids shave their heads is to reduce head lice. What they pay for food depends on what food you are talking about, some things are more expensive then they are in the US, others things are less. Most of the goods are imported from China or India. Some special foods are imported like potato chips from the west. They use most of their money for food and shelter or rent. Many house are made of concrete, dirt, wood or in the countryside grass and sticks.
The average weight of a baby mountain gorilla when it is born is 4 pounds. Great question about where the gorillas get their water! They meet their water needs by eating lots of plants. The whole time I was in Rwanda I never saw a gorilla drink from a stream. At this time scientists say there are 720 mountain gorillas left in the world. They just finished a survey, so we will learn soon if the population is increasing or decreasing.
The gorillas don’t enter villages, but they have been known to go into the farmer’s fields.
Yep, the cool Frisbees you sent are all chewed, but thanks again for sending them! I am sure the ones the students got are still being played with!
You are welcome, thank you for caring about the world, that’s a cool thing you can feel good about!

The next place I am making plans to explore is the Amazon. What do you think I should see there?

Have a great summer!
Cheers,
Dean

Ms. Hicks' Class

Dear Mr. Jacobs,
We are in Ms. Hicks' third grade class at Highland Elementary. We just learned about the Paper and Pen project in Rwanda, Africa at the Bisate School. We found out that the school gets light from the windows and doorways because they have no electricity. We are wondering if people can raise enough money to help this school get electricity. If it were possible, we would like to help. We also learned that the children at the school shave their heads. Is this part of their culture or a way of worshiping something?
Most of the goods in Rwanda are imported. How much do they pay for food? Is it about the same as in the U.S.A.? Where are the goods imported from? We know that people make about $2.50 a day. We figured out that this would be about $780 a year. That's not much money! What do they use the money for? Do they use it to get better materials for their houses? What are their houses made of?
Before we close, we have a few questions about gorillas. How heavy are the baby mountain gorillas when they are born? How do the gorillas get water? How many mountain gorillas are left in the world? Do the gorillas ever come into the village? And, are the frisbees we sent last year all chewed up?
Thank you for teaching us about children in Rwanda and mountain gorillas. We hope you can come back to our school some time. By the way, where will you travel next???
Your friends,
Ms. Hicks' Class

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