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"Into the Wild" With Gloudina Greenacre

Episode #57
English Level: intermediate
Accent: South Africa

Ep 57 Glaudina Goodacre. Into the Story Podcast. Learn English with true stories.

About Gloudina Greenacre

Gloudina works with a wildlife vet in Ecuador and discovers a profound lesson about our connection to nature.

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Quote of the episode

"What I would recommend for everyone, at any natural place close to them, is to go outdoors, plan to sit still and just listen and observe."

Transcript

[00:00:00] Bree: Hello there, it’s your host, Bree, and today on the podcast, we have Gloudina. She grew up in South Africa where she was nearly always outside exploring. And not only that, but her family would spend weeks in the iconic Kruger national park, one of Africa’s largest and most famous nature reserves. Imagine the savannah with forests and rivers. And of course, lots of animals. She developed a love for wild animals. And then as a young woman, she gets an opportunity to go to Ecuador, to volunteer with a wild animal vet, called Leonardo.

[00:01:14] Gloudina: And the first thing Leonardo taught me to do was to make a dart. to tranquilize this cat. And I mean, I think this was really the moment when I knew I just had to stay in this place

[00:01:29] Bree: In this wild adventure story, Gloudina takes us into the Andean mountains. And at the end, she’ll tell us the important lesson that she learned from children in the Amazon.

[00:01:43] Please make sure to click the follow button on your podcast app so that you never miss a new episode of the show. And as always it’s free.

[00:01:53] Now it’s time to look at five words and expressions that Gloudina uses in her story today.

[00:02:02] The first is a word that you’re going to hear a lot wild life. This is one word. So wildlife refers to animals and plants that live and grow in natural environments. You’ll hear her speak about wildlife conservation, which is to protect and preserve wild animals and their habitats, and also wildlife trade, which is buying and selling wild animals and plants. And also wildlife awareness, which is the knowledge and understanding of issues related to wildlife.

[00:02:40] Next, do we have the word cabin or hut,

[00:02:46] which is a small and very simple dwelling. Kind of like a little house that’s typically located in a rural or wilderness area. For example, they rented a cozy cabin in the mountains for their weekend getaway. Or the children built a hut. In the forest. Cabin or hat.

[00:03:13] Next, checkup. A checkup is a routine examination to assess your health or your condition. And for humans, it happens at the doctor. But in today’s story, you’ll hear her speak about a checkup that happens by a vet, a veterinarian at the vet clinic. For example, the doctor recommended an annual checkup to monitor her blood pressure Or I took my cat in for his checkup today. A checkup.

[00:03:49] Next, endangered species. So if a species is endangered, it means that they are at risk of extinction due to various factors such as habitat loss, pollution, or over hunting.

[00:04:11] For example, the black rhinoceros is an endangered species due to poaching, which is illegal hunting. And habitat loss.

[00:04:24] And the last one is to clear your mind. When you clear your mind, it means that you remove your thoughts and worries from your consciousness and you feel more calm. For example, yoga and meditation helped him clear his mind and reduce stress after a long day or taking a walk in nature allows her to clear her mind and gain perspective on work problems.

[00:04:53] If you would like an extended vocabulary list, the transcript and a listening comprehension quiz, then you can visit our website. I will leave you a link in the show notes. Okay, let’s get into the story.

[00:05:09] Gloudina: I was born in South Africa, in a family of three sisters, we were. Always outdoors. I have, many childhood memories, just like getting lost in my garden and making little huts and cabins under trees. We also did travel a lot to wildlife parks. Especially the Kruger National Park, one of the most famous parks in South Africa, was one of our destinations. Every year we used to go and spend a few weeks or, or even more there.

[00:05:44] And wildlife was always my big passion. I would ask, for wild animals for my birthday.

[00:05:54] Bree: When Gloriana was 11 years old, her family left South Africa and moved to Spain. by the time that she was 18, she knew that she wanted to work with wild animals. She found a volunteer opportunity in Ecuador with a wildlife vet named Leonardo. And even though not many people knew about him, Leonardo was one of the first people in Ecuador working to protect wildlife. She was really excited about this opportunity. So she bought a plane ticket direction. Quito.

[00:06:31] Gloudina: It was all just so different. I think that that was amazing to me, like already arriving in Quito, you land the airplane, like nearly in the mountains, because Quito is like 3, 400 meters altitude.

[00:06:45] So just arriving in the airplane, everything looks so different. It’s like a city in the middle of the mountains and then getting to the neighborhood was just like going into a different, yeah, different world. And when I got to their place nobody answered.

[00:07:01] So for that moment, you had like one minute of hesitation, like, Oh, am I in the right place? What will happen if I don’t find them?

[00:07:09] But to my surprise, who opened the door was not Leonardo, but his three daughters. And the eldest daughter was around 15 and the youngest was around seven years old, I think. So they were children. They were very happy to see me and they told me that their father wasn’t there, that he had to go out to go and fetch some animals, but that I could come in and they’d prepared supper for me.

[00:07:37] Gloudina: So I had my dinner ready.

[00:07:39] And then they showed me my little room, which was at the back of the vet clinic.

[00:07:46] which was on the ground floor which was very nice, very simple, but I had everything I needed. A bed and a bathroom. And the family, Leonardo and his three daughters lived upstairs on the second floor.

[00:07:58] Bree: And so then tell us about the next day. You wake up, Leonardo arrives, what does it, how does that day go?

[00:08:07] Gloudina: The next day when I woke up in the clinic, I got ready to go out and Leonardo was already in the clinic, so he had already woken up early, said hello, you know, are you okay? But we didn’t have much time for presentations because he had an ocelot, which is a medium-sized feline. It’s a cat beautiful cat, spotted cat. So it looks like a small, like leopard. It was in a cage, in a small cage that he had used to transport it to his clinic. It was awake and very scared, obviously, you know, awakening in this clinic. And the first thing Leonardo taught me to do that morning was to make a dart to tranquilize this cat. So yeah, there I was like amazed by this cat and not only was I able to do this first checkup of this amazing wild animal, but he taught me like from the first minute of my time there, he taught me everything a vet needs to know. And, um, I think this was really the moment when I knew I just had to stay in this place From then on, it was just constant because was, the start of the wildlife conservation and sort of like awareness, um, many people started then to, to fight for animal protection. Every day he had animals that were just brought in voluntarily, or he had phone calls, people calling, you know, to go and help some wild animal. or people reporting wildlife abuse. Then one day we got a call, uh, from someone who wanted to send us a newspaper clipping, which was an article of an Andean community, so a community up in the Andean mountains, up in the north of Ecuador, who had two baby bears, who were showing two baby bears in a photo. Kind of like very excited about having these two baby bears and that tourists could come to see them.

[00:10:20] And this is a species that is highly protected. It’s very endangered. There’s a foundation working in Ecuador to protect the species. So, I mean, this was a huge alarm.

[00:10:34] Bree: And the photo they see two very young. No more than a month old baby bear cups. They are dark black and they have light for around their eyes, which makes it look like they’re wearing glasses. These are spectacled bears. which are native to south America. This is a species normally that lives high up and the Andean cloud forests, but they have become more and more vulnerable as their habitats are destroyed and they are hunted illegally. Leonardo immediately calls the Andean bear foundation.

[00:11:15] Gloudina: Both Leonardo and the director of the Andean Bear Foundation, and a woman from the environmental department of Ecuador, called me and said, get ready, we have to go, and we drove, I think it was about four hours up into the mountains.

[00:11:34] These mountains are so tall, so lush, full of life. I mean, it’s just like greener than green. And, um, I didn’t know much about communities in Ecuador, but, along the way, you know, they were telling me some stories. They were explaining that these communities only speak Kichwa, is, uh, one of the indigenous languages. That maybe some of the younger generations would speak Spanish, but you know, the elders or the leaders of the communities they only speak Kichwa.

[00:12:07] This was one of the big, doubts, like, are we going to be able to explain this to them, you know, or what are they going to, how are they going to react, what are they going to think of us coming, you know? People from outside coming to, to take something away from them. So along the, along the journey, we were kind of talking about all of this and trying to, you know, think of different, uh, strategies or plans, how are we going to do this?

[00:12:34] When we arrived it was a very remote place. I mean, I think it was around like an hour driving from the nearest proper town. And it’s true, when we arrived there, they were surprised. They didn’t expect us, obviously, and they talked to some of the younger men of this community they organized a meeting. because the, um, the leaders, the elders of the community are very important.

[00:13:04] Gloudina: They’re the ones that make big decisions. They called a huge gathering, so the whole

[00:13:08] community gathered in the big communal house, you know, in the middle of the, of the village. And, um, We sat down and it was true that there were communication problems.

[00:13:20] So the language was, it was difficult because they had to try and translate it. And I think they were also, you know, keeping information. So they weren’t telling us everything. The decision that the community made were that they didn’t want to give us these baby bears. Obviously they were valuable to them and they, you know, they were trying to, keep them for, for tourists to come in and see them and to have tourism in their area.

[00:13:48] This is something that happens and it still happens today: wildlife trade makes a lot of money and, uh, local in local communities in Ecuador, they now, you know, want to have money.

[00:14:01] So they starting to buy things and just like us, no, they want to make more and more money So it was. It was hard because you know that, you know, they doing it just because they want to make a living, but you know, it’s, it just can’t be, you know, you can’t just let them have this. So there was a moment of hesitation where they started to get very angry. They started to kind of like come out in a fighting mode, trying to scare us off. They have rifles and, you know, firearms. at that moment of hesitation, uh, the man who had killed the mother bear to take the baby bears when they found them came to tell us his story. So

[00:14:50] I think he felt bad about what he had done. So he Offered to show us where the baby bears were, but everything was done very quickly now because he was doing this, you know, kind of like against what his community had decided, but there was a small group who were kind of supporting him, so they ran off came running down the hill with, uh, the two baby bears, The woman from the ministry had one in her arms and Armando, the director of the bear foundation had another one, but I could see that this was like an emergency situation now that this had to be quick.

[00:15:26] So they ran down the hill, basically got in the car. I mean, I still didn’t understand exactly what had happened. but. know, we all understood that we had the baby bears, we got into the pickup with the bears in our arms, not even putting them, you know, properly into the cage and basically drove off with 20, 30 people of the community running after us.

[00:15:50] Bree: After about five minutes driving, they all agree that it’s safe to stop. They need to make sure that the bears are okay.

[00:16:00] Leonardo gives them a tranquilizer and puts them in their cages. And then they continue on their four hour journey back to Quito. When they got back to the clinic, Leonardo and Gloudina give the bears a proper checkup.

[00:16:16] Gloudina: They had all sorts of, parasites and, uh, they hadn’t been eating properly. Probably they’d been eating chicken food or whatever they could find. So they were dehydrated, they had malnutrition, And, uh, you know, we were worried about if they were going to survive, you know, after all of this, And, um, the first month they were living with me in my room in the clinic. So I, I looked after them like day and night And, um, they managed to, to survive.

[00:16:52] Bree: And then where did those bears end up going?

[00:16:55] Gloudina: Once, once these little baby bears were, were older, they ended up going to the first animal rescue center where I started to work. And, um, they had a huge, beautiful enclosure where they spent, I think about maybe another two years, so they spent, um, a few years in this wild animal rescue center learning to eat the wild foods that they would have to look for in the wild to, well, just to like climb trees and, you know, understand, you know, their biology and, and, and their instincts. And we looked after them for that time and they were able to be released again into the mountains.

[00:17:42] Bree: Watching the two bears being released back into the wild was amazing. But as time passed and she worked in different animal rescue and rehabilitation centers and Ecuador, Gloudina realized saving animals one by one wasn’t very effective.

[00:18:02] Thinking back to that young hunter who had killed the mother spectacled bear. She began to understand something the root of the problem was that locals needed other ways to support their communities. So she helped start a nonprofit organization that works with indigenous communities to protect the rainforest by creating new opportunities for communities,

[00:18:28] like helping families set up sustainable vanilla farms. Gloudina spent six years in the middle of the Amazon jungle, working very closely with local communities. And she especially spent a lot of time with the local children.

[00:18:47]Gloudina:  The children of these communities, although some of them do go to like schools that are in the middle of the jungle, they have a lot of free time and usually their free time was spent with us. So I had a whole group of wild children working with me, teaching me, uh, and just, you know, supporting us in any way, because they are just amazingly, intelligent, creative and alive, and healthy children. And when I made my way back to, to Spain, I started working with children in Catalonia and I was just shocked because I’d been, living and working alongside children who didn’t have much in terms of. and things like clothes and shoes and, and, and games and toys, but they had much. And I realized this when I was working here with children, that children here a lot of resources, a lot of amazing opportunities, you know, things to do, places to travel. But to my surprise, we’re not happy, not healthy.

[00:20:00] Gloudina: I started to learn about many, illnesses that I wasn’t aware of. Many sick children with different, diseases, different deficits and, uh, and problems just you know, moving around and, you know, not falling and, I really was shocked when I spoke to a young girl who was in one of my groups of children, a young Catalan girl. she was nine at that time. she told me that she was stressed, that she didn’t have enough time. She had a lot of homework. She had no time to do this homework and she had many messages to answer on her mobile phone.

[00:20:40] So then I started to, to do some research and to read about, why do children with, you know, more freedom, more nature, why?

[00:20:51] You know, what are the benefits? Like, what is it scientifically? Has it been, you know, proven? Has it been demonstrated? And I found a lot of information and people who have been, fighting, you know, to reconnect children with nature,

[00:21:04] So that’s why I created Wild Me, which is a local organization, who works to create spaces and resources to encourage families and schools to go outdoors.

[00:21:18] Bree: Wow, that’s, that’s incredible. And, and not just children. Right. But I think also adults, we could benefit from reconnecting with nature. So then, if you could give one tip. Imagine someone experiencing stress or anxiety right now, what would be one thing they could do today to reconnect with nature?

[00:21:48] Gloudina: What I would, uh, recommend for everyone, at any moment and at any, you know, natural place close to them, to go outdoors without a plan to sit still and just listen and observe.

[00:22:08] I like to call it, you know, your special sit spot, for example, where you can, you know, you kind of get to know that place. You get to know the birds that come and sit in the trees. You get to know the sounds. By do oing this, you start to become like part of the surrounding you, you become part of nature.

[00:22:26] And then we, we connect with our biology, because we have forgotten that we are deeply connected to nature and to all of the processes. And that, um, when things are going wrong, you know, when you’re feeling tired or, you know, lost or stressed, the, most accessible and the most powerful thing that we all have nearby is just nature. It’s like the real world. And by going out regularly, you start to reconnect with that. And it’s like a medicine. It’s like a free medicine that we have outdoors that can help with almost anything, you know, things become clear. And you start to feel better.

[00:23:09] Bree: Since recording this story with Gloudina. I have been trying this. I’ve been going outside every day and sitting in the same spot and just noticing what’s around me. And it’s true, I have started feeling like I belong to nature. I am part of nature. I know it sounds silly, but I recommend that you give it a try. And if you’re looking for help going outside with kids, then you can visit Gloudina’s website, wildme.eu. For listeners of this podcast, you can download one of her digital guides for free using the code intowildme100. I will leave you a link in the show notes.

[00:23:55] Okay folks, if you would like to join our community And hear me go further into the psychology side of each episode and also speak more personally about the lessons that I learned from our storytellers, then you can join our newsletter, just visit intothestorypodcast.com and click subscribe. And it’s totally free. Okay, that’s all for today until next episode, I hope that you have a good time or at least a good story to tell. 

[00:00:00] Bree: Hello there, it’s your host, Bree, and today on the podcast, we have Gloudina. She grew up in South Africa where she was nearly always outside exploring. And not only that, but her family would spend weeks in the iconic Kruger national park, one of Africa’s largest and most famous nature reserves. Imagine the savannah with forests and rivers. And of course, lots of animals. She developed a love for wild animals. And then as a young woman, she gets an opportunity to go to Ecuador, to volunteer with a wild animal vet, called Leonardo.

[00:01:14] Gloudina: And the first thing Leonardo taught me to do was to make a dart. to tranquilize this cat. And I mean, I think this was really the moment when I knew I just had to stay in this place

[00:01:29] Bree: In this wild adventure story, Gloudina takes us into the Andean mountains. And at the end, she’ll tell us the important lesson that she learned from children in the Amazon.

[00:01:43] Please make sure to click the follow button on your podcast app so that you never miss a new episode of the show. And as always it’s free.

[00:01:53] Now it’s time to look at five words and expressions that Gloudina uses in her story today.

[00:02:02] The first is a word that you’re going to hear a lot wild life. This is one word. So wildlife refers to animals and plants that live and grow in natural environments. You’ll hear her speak about wildlife conservation, which is to protect and preserve wild animals and their habitats, and also wildlife trade, which is buying and selling wild animals and plants. And also wildlife awareness, which is the knowledge and understanding of issues related to wildlife.

[00:02:40] Next, do we have the word cabin or hut,

[00:02:46] which is a small and very simple dwelling. Kind of like a little house that’s typically located in a rural or wilderness area. For example, they rented a cozy cabin in the mountains for their weekend getaway. Or the children built a hut. In the forest. Cabin or hat.

[00:03:13] Next, checkup. A checkup is a routine examination to assess your health or your condition. And for humans, it happens at the doctor. But in today’s story, you’ll hear her speak about a checkup that happens by a vet, a veterinarian at the vet clinic. For example, the doctor recommended an annual checkup to monitor her blood pressure Or I took my cat in for his checkup today. A checkup.

[00:03:49] Next, endangered species. So if a species is endangered, it means that they are at risk of extinction due to various factors such as habitat loss, pollution, or over hunting.

[00:04:11] For example, the black rhinoceros is an endangered species due to poaching, which is illegal hunting. And habitat loss.

[00:04:24] And the last one is to clear your mind. When you clear your mind, it means that you remove your thoughts and worries from your consciousness and you feel more calm. For example, yoga and meditation helped him clear his mind and reduce stress after a long day or taking a walk in nature allows her to clear her mind and gain perspective on work problems.

[00:04:53] If you would like an extended vocabulary list, the transcript and a listening comprehension quiz, then you can visit our website. I will leave you a link in the show notes. Okay, let’s get into the story.

[00:05:09] Gloudina: I was born in South Africa, in a family of three sisters, we were. Always outdoors. I have, many childhood memories, just like getting lost in my garden and making little huts and cabins under trees. We also did travel a lot to wildlife parks. Especially the Kruger National Park, one of the most famous parks in South Africa, was one of our destinations. Every year we used to go and spend a few weeks or, or even more there.

[00:05:44] And wildlife was always my big passion. I would ask, for wild animals for my birthday.

[00:05:54] Bree: When Gloriana was 11 years old, her family left South Africa and moved to Spain. by the time that she was 18, she knew that she wanted to work with wild animals. She found a volunteer opportunity in Ecuador with a wildlife vet named Leonardo. And even though not many people knew about him, Leonardo was one of the first people in Ecuador working to protect wildlife. She was really excited about this opportunity. So she bought a plane ticket direction. Quito.

[00:06:31] Gloudina: It was all just so different. I think that that was amazing to me, like already arriving in Quito, you land the airplane, like nearly in the mountains, because Quito is like 3, 400 meters altitude.

[00:06:45] So just arriving in the airplane, everything looks so different. It’s like a city in the middle of the mountains and then getting to the neighborhood was just like going into a different, yeah, different world. And when I got to their place nobody answered.

[00:07:01] So for that moment, you had like one minute of hesitation, like, Oh, am I in the right place? What will happen if I don’t find them?

[00:07:09] But to my surprise, who opened the door was not Leonardo, but his three daughters. And the eldest daughter was around 15 and the youngest was around seven years old, I think. So they were children. They were very happy to see me and they told me that their father wasn’t there, that he had to go out to go and fetch some animals, but that I could come in and they’d prepared supper for me.

[00:07:37] Gloudina: So I had my dinner ready.

[00:07:39] And then they showed me my little room, which was at the back of the vet clinic.

[00:07:46] which was on the ground floor which was very nice, very simple, but I had everything I needed. A bed and a bathroom. And the family, Leonardo and his three daughters lived upstairs on the second floor.

[00:07:58] Bree: And so then tell us about the next day. You wake up, Leonardo arrives, what does it, how does that day go?

[00:08:07] Gloudina: The next day when I woke up in the clinic, I got ready to go out and Leonardo was already in the clinic, so he had already woken up early, said hello, you know, are you okay? But we didn’t have much time for presentations because he had an ocelot, which is a medium-sized feline. It’s a cat beautiful cat, spotted cat. So it looks like a small, like leopard. It was in a cage, in a small cage that he had used to transport it to his clinic. It was awake and very scared, obviously, you know, awakening in this clinic. And the first thing Leonardo taught me to do that morning was to make a dart to tranquilize this cat. So yeah, there I was like amazed by this cat and not only was I able to do this first checkup of this amazing wild animal, but he taught me like from the first minute of my time there, he taught me everything a vet needs to know. And, um, I think this was really the moment when I knew I just had to stay in this place From then on, it was just constant because was, the start of the wildlife conservation and sort of like awareness, um, many people started then to, to fight for animal protection. Every day he had animals that were just brought in voluntarily, or he had phone calls, people calling, you know, to go and help some wild animal. or people reporting wildlife abuse. Then one day we got a call, uh, from someone who wanted to send us a newspaper clipping, which was an article of an Andean community, so a community up in the Andean mountains, up in the north of Ecuador, who had two baby bears, who were showing two baby bears in a photo. Kind of like very excited about having these two baby bears and that tourists could come to see them.

[00:10:20] And this is a species that is highly protected. It’s very endangered. There’s a foundation working in Ecuador to protect the species. So, I mean, this was a huge alarm.

[00:10:34] Bree: And the photo they see two very young. No more than a month old baby bear cups. They are dark black and they have light for around their eyes, which makes it look like they’re wearing glasses. These are spectacled bears. which are native to south America. This is a species normally that lives high up and the Andean cloud forests, but they have become more and more vulnerable as their habitats are destroyed and they are hunted illegally. Leonardo immediately calls the Andean bear foundation.

[00:11:15] Gloudina: Both Leonardo and the director of the Andean Bear Foundation, and a woman from the environmental department of Ecuador, called me and said, get ready, we have to go, and we drove, I think it was about four hours up into the mountains.

[00:11:34] These mountains are so tall, so lush, full of life. I mean, it’s just like greener than green. And, um, I didn’t know much about communities in Ecuador, but, along the way, you know, they were telling me some stories. They were explaining that these communities only speak Kichwa, is, uh, one of the indigenous languages. That maybe some of the younger generations would speak Spanish, but you know, the elders or the leaders of the communities they only speak Kichwa.

[00:12:07] This was one of the big, doubts, like, are we going to be able to explain this to them, you know, or what are they going to, how are they going to react, what are they going to think of us coming, you know? People from outside coming to, to take something away from them. So along the, along the journey, we were kind of talking about all of this and trying to, you know, think of different, uh, strategies or plans, how are we going to do this?

[00:12:34] When we arrived it was a very remote place. I mean, I think it was around like an hour driving from the nearest proper town. And it’s true, when we arrived there, they were surprised. They didn’t expect us, obviously, and they talked to some of the younger men of this community they organized a meeting. because the, um, the leaders, the elders of the community are very important.

[00:13:04] Gloudina: They’re the ones that make big decisions. They called a huge gathering, so the whole

[00:13:08] community gathered in the big communal house, you know, in the middle of the, of the village. And, um, We sat down and it was true that there were communication problems.

[00:13:20] So the language was, it was difficult because they had to try and translate it. And I think they were also, you know, keeping information. So they weren’t telling us everything. The decision that the community made were that they didn’t want to give us these baby bears. Obviously they were valuable to them and they, you know, they were trying to, keep them for, for tourists to come in and see them and to have tourism in their area.

[00:13:48] This is something that happens and it still happens today: wildlife trade makes a lot of money and, uh, local in local communities in Ecuador, they now, you know, want to have money.

[00:14:01] So they starting to buy things and just like us, no, they want to make more and more money So it was. It was hard because you know that, you know, they doing it just because they want to make a living, but you know, it’s, it just can’t be, you know, you can’t just let them have this. So there was a moment of hesitation where they started to get very angry. They started to kind of like come out in a fighting mode, trying to scare us off. They have rifles and, you know, firearms. at that moment of hesitation, uh, the man who had killed the mother bear to take the baby bears when they found them came to tell us his story. So

[00:14:50] I think he felt bad about what he had done. So he Offered to show us where the baby bears were, but everything was done very quickly now because he was doing this, you know, kind of like against what his community had decided, but there was a small group who were kind of supporting him, so they ran off came running down the hill with, uh, the two baby bears, The woman from the ministry had one in her arms and Armando, the director of the bear foundation had another one, but I could see that this was like an emergency situation now that this had to be quick.

[00:15:26] So they ran down the hill, basically got in the car. I mean, I still didn’t understand exactly what had happened. but. know, we all understood that we had the baby bears, we got into the pickup with the bears in our arms, not even putting them, you know, properly into the cage and basically drove off with 20, 30 people of the community running after us.

[00:15:50] Bree: After about five minutes driving, they all agree that it’s safe to stop. They need to make sure that the bears are okay.

[00:16:00] Leonardo gives them a tranquilizer and puts them in their cages. And then they continue on their four hour journey back to Quito. When they got back to the clinic, Leonardo and Gloudina give the bears a proper checkup.

[00:16:16] Gloudina: They had all sorts of, parasites and, uh, they hadn’t been eating properly. Probably they’d been eating chicken food or whatever they could find. So they were dehydrated, they had malnutrition, And, uh, you know, we were worried about if they were going to survive, you know, after all of this, And, um, the first month they were living with me in my room in the clinic. So I, I looked after them like day and night And, um, they managed to, to survive.

[00:16:52] Bree: And then where did those bears end up going?

[00:16:55] Gloudina: Once, once these little baby bears were, were older, they ended up going to the first animal rescue center where I started to work. And, um, they had a huge, beautiful enclosure where they spent, I think about maybe another two years, so they spent, um, a few years in this wild animal rescue center learning to eat the wild foods that they would have to look for in the wild to, well, just to like climb trees and, you know, understand, you know, their biology and, and, and their instincts. And we looked after them for that time and they were able to be released again into the mountains.

[00:17:42] Bree: Watching the two bears being released back into the wild was amazing. But as time passed and she worked in different animal rescue and rehabilitation centers and Ecuador, Gloudina realized saving animals one by one wasn’t very effective.

[00:18:02] Thinking back to that young hunter who had killed the mother spectacled bear. She began to understand something the root of the problem was that locals needed other ways to support their communities. So she helped start a nonprofit organization that works with indigenous communities to protect the rainforest by creating new opportunities for communities,

[00:18:28] like helping families set up sustainable vanilla farms. Gloudina spent six years in the middle of the Amazon jungle, working very closely with local communities. And she especially spent a lot of time with the local children.

[00:18:47]Gloudina:  The children of these communities, although some of them do go to like schools that are in the middle of the jungle, they have a lot of free time and usually their free time was spent with us. So I had a whole group of wild children working with me, teaching me, uh, and just, you know, supporting us in any way, because they are just amazingly, intelligent, creative and alive, and healthy children. And when I made my way back to, to Spain, I started working with children in Catalonia and I was just shocked because I’d been, living and working alongside children who didn’t have much in terms of. and things like clothes and shoes and, and, and games and toys, but they had much. And I realized this when I was working here with children, that children here a lot of resources, a lot of amazing opportunities, you know, things to do, places to travel. But to my surprise, we’re not happy, not healthy.

[00:20:00] Gloudina: I started to learn about many, illnesses that I wasn’t aware of. Many sick children with different, diseases, different deficits and, uh, and problems just you know, moving around and, you know, not falling and, I really was shocked when I spoke to a young girl who was in one of my groups of children, a young Catalan girl. she was nine at that time. she told me that she was stressed, that she didn’t have enough time. She had a lot of homework. She had no time to do this homework and she had many messages to answer on her mobile phone.

[00:20:40] So then I started to, to do some research and to read about, why do children with, you know, more freedom, more nature, why?

[00:20:51] You know, what are the benefits? Like, what is it scientifically? Has it been, you know, proven? Has it been demonstrated? And I found a lot of information and people who have been, fighting, you know, to reconnect children with nature,

[00:21:04] So that’s why I created Wild Me, which is a local organization, who works to create spaces and resources to encourage families and schools to go outdoors.

[00:21:18] Bree: Wow, that’s, that’s incredible. And, and not just children. Right. But I think also adults, we could benefit from reconnecting with nature. So then, if you could give one tip. Imagine someone experiencing stress or anxiety right now, what would be one thing they could do today to reconnect with nature?

[00:21:48] Gloudina: What I would, uh, recommend for everyone, at any moment and at any, you know, natural place close to them, to go outdoors without a plan to sit still and just listen and observe.

[00:22:08] I like to call it, you know, your special sit spot, for example, where you can, you know, you kind of get to know that place. You get to know the birds that come and sit in the trees. You get to know the sounds. By do oing this, you start to become like part of the surrounding you, you become part of nature.

[00:22:26] And then we, we connect with our biology, because we have forgotten that we are deeply connected to nature and to all of the processes. And that, um, when things are going wrong, you know, when you’re feeling tired or, you know, lost or stressed, the, most accessible and the most powerful thing that we all have nearby is just nature. It’s like the real world. And by going out regularly, you start to reconnect with that. And it’s like a medicine. It’s like a free medicine that we have outdoors that can help with almost anything, you know, things become clear. And you start to feel better.

[00:23:09] Bree: Since recording this story with Gloudina. I have been trying this. I’ve been going outside every day and sitting in the same spot and just noticing what’s around me. And it’s true, I have started feeling like I belong to nature. I am part of nature. I know it sounds silly, but I recommend that you give it a try. And if you’re looking for help going outside with kids, then you can visit Gloudina’s website, wildme.eu. For listeners of this podcast, you can download one of her digital guides for free using the code intowildme100. I will leave you a link in the show notes.

[00:23:55] Okay folks, if you would like to join our community And hear me go further into the psychology side of each episode and also speak more personally about the lessons that I learned from our storytellers, then you can join our newsletter, just visit intothestorypodcast.com and click subscribe. And it’s totally free. Okay, that’s all for today until next episode, I hope that you have a good time or at least a good story to tell. 

Episode's vocabulary List

*vocabulary featured in podcast

WILDLIFE: Animals and plants that live and grow in natural environments.

Examples: “The national park is home to a diverse range of WILDLIFE, including bears, deer, and birds.” or “Conservation efforts aim to protect the WILDLIFE and their natural habitats.”

 

WILDLIFE CONSERVATION: The protection and preservation of wild animals and their habitats.

Examples: “Conservation organizations work tirelessly to promote WILDLIFE CONSERVATION, ensuring the survival of endangered species and the preservation of their natural habitats.”

 

WILDLIFE TRADE: The buying, selling, or exchange of wild animals and plants.

Examples: “Illegal WILDLIFE TRADE poses a significant threat to endangered species, driving them closer to extinction for the sake of profit.” or “International agreements aim to combat WILDLIFE TRADE by implementing stricter regulations and penalties for those involved in illegal trafficking.”

 

WILDLIFE AWARENESS: Knowledge and understanding of issues related to wild animals and their habitats.

Example: “Educational programs play a vital role in raising WILDLIFE AWARENESS among the public, encouraging sustainable practices and conservation efforts.”  

 

*CABIN/HUT: A small, simple dwelling typically located in a rural or wilderness area.

Examples: “They rented a cozy CABIN in the mountains for their weekend getaway.” or “The forest ranger stayed in a rustic HUT deep in the woods during his patrols.”

 

*VET: Short for “veterinarian,” a professional who treats sick or injured animals.

Example: “They took their dog to the VET for its annual checkup and vaccinations.”  

 

VET CLINIC: A facility where veterinarians provide medical care to animals.

Example: “They took their injured cat to the VET CLINIC for treatment after it was hit by a car.”  

 

TRANQUILIZE: To make someone or something calm or relaxed.

Example: “The doctor prescribed medication to TRANQUILIZE the patient’s anxiety.”

 

DART: A small pointed missile with a feather or plastic flight used in tranquilizing animals.

Example: “The veterinarian used a tranquilizer DART to sedate the wild bear before transporting it to a safer location.” 

 

NEWSPAPER CLIPPING: A small piece cut or torn from a newspaper article.

Examples: “She kept a scrapbook filled with NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS of important events.” or “The detective found a NEWSPAPER CLIPPING that provided a clue to the case.”

 

*A CHECKUP: A routine examination to assess one’s health or condition.

Examples: “The doctor recommended an annual CHECKUP to monitor her blood pressure and cholesterol levels.” or “After the accident, he underwent a thorough CHECKUP to ensure there were no internal injuries.”

 

*ENDANGERED SPECIES: Species at risk of extinction due to various factors such as habitat loss, pollution, or overhunting.

Example: “The black rhinoceros is an ENDANGERED SPECIES due to poaching and habitat loss.”

 

INDIGENOUS LANGUAGE OR COMMUNITY: Languages native to a particular region or ethnic group, or the people belonging to such communities.

Example: “The elders in the INDIGENOUS COMMUNITY pass down their language and cultural traditions to younger generations.” 

 

TO MAKE A LIVING: To earn money or sustain oneself financially.

Examples: “She works as a freelance writer TO MAKE A LIVING, supporting herself through her writing projects.” or “Many people in rural areas rely on farming TO MAKE A LIVING, cultivating crops and raising livestock for income.”

 

MALNUTRITION: Poor nutrition resulting from inadequate or unbalanced diet.

Example: “The doctor diagnosed the patient with MALNUTRITION after observing signs of vitamin deficiencies.”

 

ENCLOSURE: An area closed off by a barrier or fence.

Examples: “The zoo constructed a new ENCLOSURE for the lions, providing them with more space to roam.” or “The farmer built a sturdy ENCLOSURE to keep the livestock safe from predators.”

 

TO DO ONE’S NECESSITIES: Attend to one’s basic needs or perform essential tasks, including going to the toilet. 

Example: “Before leaving for work, she made sure to DO HER NECESSITIES, including packing lunch and checking emails.” 

 

*TO CLEAR YOUR MIND: Removing thoughts or worries from one’s consciousness to achieve a state of calmness.

Examples: “Yoga and meditation help him CLEAR HIS MIND and reduce stress after a long day.” or “Taking a walk in nature allows her to CLEAR HER MIND and gain perspective on her problems.”

 

FOUNDATION: An organization established to support charitable purposes or research.

Example: “The Bill and Melinda Gates FOUNDATION funds initiatives to improve global health and education.”  

 

RESOURCES: Available means or assets used to achieve a particular purpose, including money, materials, personnel, expertise, and other tangible or intangible assets.

Examples: “The company allocated additional RESOURCES to the project, including funds for research and development, as well as hiring new staff members.”

 

*vocabulary featured in podcast

WILDLIFE: Animals and plants that live and grow in natural environments.

Examples: “The national park is home to a diverse range of WILDLIFE, including bears, deer, and birds.” or “Conservation efforts aim to protect the WILDLIFE and their natural habitats.”

 

WILDLIFE CONSERVATION: The protection and preservation of wild animals and their habitats.

Examples: “Conservation organizations work tirelessly to promote WILDLIFE CONSERVATION, ensuring the survival of endangered species and the preservation of their natural habitats.”

 

WILDLIFE TRADE: The buying, selling, or exchange of wild animals and plants.

Examples: “Illegal WILDLIFE TRADE poses a significant threat to endangered species, driving them closer to extinction for the sake of profit.” or “International agreements aim to combat WILDLIFE TRADE by implementing stricter regulations and penalties for those involved in illegal trafficking.”

 

WILDLIFE AWARENESS: Knowledge and understanding of issues related to wild animals and their habitats.

Example: “Educational programs play a vital role in raising WILDLIFE AWARENESS among the public, encouraging sustainable practices and conservation efforts.”  

 

*CABIN/HUT: A small, simple dwelling typically located in a rural or wilderness area.

Examples: “They rented a cozy CABIN in the mountains for their weekend getaway.” or “The forest ranger stayed in a rustic HUT deep in the woods during his patrols.”

 

*VET: Short for “veterinarian,” a professional who treats sick or injured animals.

Example: “They took their dog to the VET for its annual checkup and vaccinations.”  

 

VET CLINIC: A facility where veterinarians provide medical care to animals.

Example: “They took their injured cat to the VET CLINIC for treatment after it was hit by a car.”  

 

TRANQUILIZE: To make someone or something calm or relaxed.

Example: “The doctor prescribed medication to TRANQUILIZE the patient’s anxiety.”

 

DART: A small pointed missile with a feather or plastic flight used in tranquilizing animals.

Example: “The veterinarian used a tranquilizer DART to sedate the wild bear before transporting it to a safer location.” 

 

NEWSPAPER CLIPPING: A small piece cut or torn from a newspaper article.

Examples: “She kept a scrapbook filled with NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS of important events.” or “The detective found a NEWSPAPER CLIPPING that provided a clue to the case.”

 

*A CHECKUP: A routine examination to assess one’s health or condition.

Examples: “The doctor recommended an annual CHECKUP to monitor her blood pressure and cholesterol levels.” or “After the accident, he underwent a thorough CHECKUP to ensure there were no internal injuries.”

 

*ENDANGERED SPECIES: Species at risk of extinction due to various factors such as habitat loss, pollution, or overhunting.

Example: “The black rhinoceros is an ENDANGERED SPECIES due to poaching and habitat loss.”

 

INDIGENOUS LANGUAGE OR COMMUNITY: Languages native to a particular region or ethnic group, or the people belonging to such communities.

Example: “The elders in the INDIGENOUS COMMUNITY pass down their language and cultural traditions to younger generations.” 

 

TO MAKE A LIVING: To earn money or sustain oneself financially.

Examples: “She works as a freelance writer TO MAKE A LIVING, supporting herself through her writing projects.” or “Many people in rural areas rely on farming TO MAKE A LIVING, cultivating crops and raising livestock for income.”

 

MALNUTRITION: Poor nutrition resulting from inadequate or unbalanced diet.

Example: “The doctor diagnosed the patient with MALNUTRITION after observing signs of vitamin deficiencies.”

 

ENCLOSURE: An area closed off by a barrier or fence.

Examples: “The zoo constructed a new ENCLOSURE for the lions, providing them with more space to roam.” or “The farmer built a sturdy ENCLOSURE to keep the livestock safe from predators.”

 

TO DO ONE’S NECESSITIES: Attend to one’s basic needs or perform essential tasks, including going to the toilet. 

Example: “Before leaving for work, she made sure to DO HER NECESSITIES, including packing lunch and checking emails.” 

 

*TO CLEAR YOUR MIND: Removing thoughts or worries from one’s consciousness to achieve a state of calmness.

Examples: “Yoga and meditation help him CLEAR HIS MIND and reduce stress after a long day.” or “Taking a walk in nature allows her to CLEAR HER MIND and gain perspective on her problems.”

 

FOUNDATION: An organization established to support charitable purposes or research.

Example: “The Bill and Melinda Gates FOUNDATION funds initiatives to improve global health and education.”  

 

RESOURCES: Available means or assets used to achieve a particular purpose, including money, materials, personnel, expertise, and other tangible or intangible assets.

Examples: “The company allocated additional RESOURCES to the project, including funds for research and development, as well as hiring new staff members.”

 

Listening Comprehension Test

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More about Gloudina Greenacre and her story

Gloudina with a baby bear

Gloudina holding one of the rescued bear cubs 

Gloudina Goodacre - Episode 57 Into the Story Podcast - Learn English with true stories

Gloudina’s project Wild Me strives to create spaces and tools that bring a healthy childhood back to children.

Gloudina Goodacre - Episode 57 Into the Story Podcast - Learn English with true stories - hands sand

Gloudina co-founder of Wild Me 

Gloudina is an adventurous soul with roots in South Africa, dedicated to conservation and alternative education, who cherishes wild encounters and simple joys while fostering connections with diverse communities worldwide.

Created a non-profit in Ecuador, amazoniarescue.org

Gloudina created Wild Me. Wild Me organizes and creates wild play programs for kids. Free, natural or wild play implies that children can play outside in the forest and in open spaces. The spaces are inspiring, and the children are free: there are trees, branches, stones, gardens, and mud. Children set their own goals, analyze their own risks, take their own responsibility, have their own adventures and learn from them.

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