Photos: © Adam Mills Elliot, courtesy of the Epicocity Project
The Epicocity Project and National Geographic filmmakers and biologists tweet and blog live from remote parts of the Rio Roosevelt in the Amazon Jungle.

It takes some major cajones and altruism to kayak one of the world’s most dangerous rapids for the sake of conservation efforts.

Not only did the Epicocity Project, led by Andy Maser and Trip Jennings, and a National Geographic team successfully navigate the Rio Roosevelt.

They blogged and tweeted live while doing so.

Seriously.

Situation DIRE! Biting flies covering every inch of us! Hot. Rain. Coffee supply low. Nearing insanity. Send cold beer ASAP! #riverbr 4:26 PM Dec 5th, 2009 from Twitter.com/Epicocity

The goal of the Epicocity Project’s Brazil Expedition was two-fold:

1)      Create a biodiversity inventory of the Rio Roosevelt, a 300 mile stretch of nearly inaccessible rapids filled with giant whitewater fish. A proposed 2012 damn will forever change the ecosystem of the area.

2)      Utilize social media live from the Amazon jungle via SPOT messenger tracking and satellite phones.

Is this the new wave of social media in conservation?

Via the team’s Rivers in Demand website, viewers were able to follow along the real-time SPOT messenger tracking map and read the EP’s Twitter feed.

Because the team experimented with this new SPOT technology and partnered with Under Solen Media, the team had the opportunity to raise awareness about the threat to rivers, fish species, and local fishing communities in an intimate, innovative way.

Why this matters

Folks at home can feel part of conservation efforts in real-time. Emotional disconnect doesn’t happen as readily when we know a conservation/relief project is happening in the present, when we can see latitude-longitude coordinates on a live map and follow tweets like the one below.

Just arrived at the monster fish basecamp. Fabio the angler already fishing for rumored 80 kilo catfish! http://bit.ly/669uAu #riverbr 9:37 AM Dec 5th, 2009 from Twitter.com/Epicocity

The team’s biodiversity inventory will be crucial to remembering the area’s biological history if the proposed dam is built in 2012 and the ecosystem is destroyed. Thankfully, the team’s use of social media has increased coverage of the threat and will hopefully trigger more outrage at the government of Brazil’s proposed degradation of the Rio Roosevelt.

Find out more about this and future projects at the Epicocity Blog and Rivers in Demand Site and follow the team’s Twitter feed and Facebook page.

Community Connection

Feel inspired? Find out more about volunteering abroad and giving back.

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