ASC Adventurer Paul Gamache is a professional white water kayaker who has explored waterways around the world. His latest adventure is in Cameroon, one of the least explored countries for white water paddling. Paul has spent the last few months scouting rivers and making first descents. Along the way he has also been collecting beetles for the ASC World Wide Beetle project. Read more about Paul’s kayaking expedition at http://www.chutesducameroun.com.
I left Arcata, California in January of 2013 and headed to Cameroon, West Africa in search of whitewater. As I was packing my bags I received an email from my friend Haven Livingston. She had just had written an article for International Rivers on “Citizen Science
” and went on to tell me about the work ASC was doing.
Excited about adding value to the kayaking expedition as well as helping out others with their research, I filled out the info request on the ASC website. Within a short time ASC had connected my exploratory whitewater kayaking expedition with a group of scientists who were looking to study beetle specimens from the area. After a Skype meeting with ASC in the U.S. and a scientist currently in Kenya, I started collecting beetles.
Beetle on Paul’s boat in Cameroon. Photo Credit: Paul Gamache
Besides the fear of discovering a poisonous beetle in Cameroon or potentially being bitten by something, it has worked out really well. Collecting samples turned out to be much easier than I had anticipated. At night small beetles would fly into my apartment and it was just a matter of catching them and putting them in a zip-lock and adding alcohol. While on the river, beetles would land on my kayak during lunch breaks and I would collect them in a Nalgene.
ASC did a great job pairing the two projects. In total a local entomologist, Mefondo Divine Lyonga, and I have collected over 50 beetles of 10 species from 4 different regions of Cameroon!
For more information on the Cameroon Expedition go to: www.chutesducameroun.com and Sperry Top-Sider’s www.passionforthesea.com