By Diane Ackerman
Diane Ackerman's lusciously written grand journey of the area of the senses contains conversations with an iceberg in Antarctica and a pro nostril in ny, in addition to dissertations on kisses and tattoos, sadistic food and the track performed via the planet Earth.
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EVACC can perhaps best be described as a work-in-progress. The week I spent at the center, a team of American volunteers was also there, helping to construct an exhibit. The exhibit was going to be open to the public, so, for biosecurity purposes, the space had to be isolated and equipped with its own separate entrance. There were holes in the walls where, eventually, glass cases were to be mounted, and around the holes someone had painted a mountain landscape very much like what you would see if you stepped outside and looked up at the hills.
Once chytrid swept through El Valle, it didn’t stop; it continued to move east. It has also since arrived in Panama from the opposite direction, out of Colombia. Bd has spread through the highlands of South America and down the eastern coast of Australia, and it has crossed into New Zealand and Tasmania. It has raced through the Caribbean and has been detected in Italy, Spain, Switzerland, and France. , it appears to have radiated from several points, not so much in a wavelike pattern as in a series of ripples.
The notion that a sixth such event would be taking place right now, more or less in front of our eyes, struck me as, to use the technical term, mind-boggling. Surely this story, too—the bigger, darker, far more consequential one—deserved telling. If Wake and Vredenburg were correct, then those of us alive today not only are witnessing one of the rarest events in life’s history, we are also causing it. ” A few days after I read Wake and Vredenburg’s article, I booked a ticket to Panama. * * * THE El Valle Amphibian Conservation Center, or EVACC (pronounced “ee-vac”), lies along a dirt road not far from the open-air market where the golden frog figurines are sold.