Forman Rainforest Project
The Forman School Rainforest Project is a nonprofit program dedicated to rainforest education through hands-on scientific research conducted by young adults from northwest Connecticut high schools.
The goals of the Rainforest Project include teaching students global awareness, developing field research skills, discovering new information on endangered species, finding alternative wage-making enterprises for cattle ranchers who practice slash and burn agriculture, and implementing strategies (such as legal agreements) to protect people and resources in Central America from exploitation.
The Rainforest Project started in 1992 as an exploration to the tropics. Since its inception, there have been great strides in gathering scientific data in a professional way that are being used by universities and museums. Forman School holds two patents based on the students' work harvesting silk from the Golden Orb spider.
Students in our program are chosen based on their problem-solving capabilities, community awareness, and dedication to the planet’s health. They participate in a seven month tropical ecology class before leaving on the expedition to Costa Rica. For the 2016-17 school year, the Tropical Rainforest Project takes place during Winterim: February 27-March 11, 2017. To follow the students' work, visit their blog or follow them on Twitter: @formanrainfrst.
Ongoing research includes:
- Research on the pharmaceutical aspects of the ant species Paraponera clavata or Bullet Ant Farming
- Extraction of spider silk from the Nephila clavipes or Golden Orb Weaver for commercial use (extraction method patented)
- Radio telemetry on rare canopy rodents to determine home ranges
- Propagation of orchids in test tubes as a possible wage making enterprise for locals in Costa Rica
- Survey of reptiles and amphibians for census and as indicators of environmental disturbance
- Banding of migratory birds to establish fly routes from North America to Central America
Director of the Rainforest Project