From the chopping of ice chunks high on the Mount Chimborazo to hearing firsthand about this family’s traditions, The Last Ice Merchant (El Último Hielero) is an engaging documentary about a man’s dedication to hard work and a way of life that has changed. (And the subtitles are at a good pace for reading out loud to younger kiddos.)
Twice a week for over half a century, Baltazar Ushca has hiked up the slopes of Mount Chimborazo, the tallest mountain in Ecuador, to harvest glacial ice that covers the highest altitudes of this dormant volcano. In the past, up to forty ice merchants made the journey up the mountain to mine the ice; today, however, Baltazar works alone. Even his brothers, Gregorio and Juan, both raised as ice merchants, have retired from the mountain to find more steady work.
Excellent storytelling by director Sandy Patch. The kid(s) should definitely see this.
There are more documentary clips and more ice in the archives.
“How energetic can a severed tail be?” We’re about to find out: This is the Red-Tailed Vanzosaur, a lizard with stripes and brilliantly colored tail. Dr. Jonny Miller, UK biologist based in Paraguay, South America, demonstrates the vanzosaur’s simple survival skills in the video above, and continues to blog about his adventures in the field at planetparaguay.com.
Previously from Dr. Miller: the common potoo.
Watch Biologist Dr Jonny Miller introduce the spectacular common potoo. It’s brown, blends in, and doesn’t move much… so why is it so spectacular? Exactly for those reasons. The common potoo is a camouflage master, bravely controlling its movements — or lack of them — in the face of predators. From Dr. Miller:
Although you might not see them, the common potoo is, indeed, common in at least parts of its range. This rage extends from Nicaragua in Central America, south to Argentina. Six other species of potoo are known of, all generally similar in appearance and all performing the same posturing cryptic behaviour.
We’re always thrilled to find a scientist out in the field making videos about their work. Dr Miller is currently in Paraguay, South America, studying capuchin monkeys, and has been blogging about the animals there at planetparaguay.com.