Benjamin Franklin Experience
Two-week summer programs.
10 career experiences,
dozens of experts.

Fluvial Geomorphology - Benjamin Franklin Experience

Benjamin Franklin Experience – Working With Fluvial Geomorphologists and Environmental Scientists.

This introduction to environmental science drops students into the world of stream ecology. Students will have an opening lecture on the use of macroinvertebrates as bioindicators for stream health.

Teams will take data samples from two streams, one that has been impacted heavily from development and the other is covered by forest throughout the majority of the watershed. The results will be compiled and stream health will be compared by the species found and a discussion of the results should help show the importance of quantification in science.

The experience will conclude with a Q&A session lead by Environmental Scientists who will highlight the careers and education path to continue a profession in environmental science.

Project Amazonas Medical Boat Expeditions

Project Amazonas / Asociación Civil Proyecto Amazonas

Dedicated to the People and Environment of the Amazon: Working to Ensure the Future through Conservation, Research, Education, Medical Care and Sustainable Development.

Dedicada a la Gente y Medioambiente de la Amazonia: Trabajando para asegurar su Futuro por Medio de Conservación, Investigación, Educación, Asistencia Medica y Desarrollo Sostenible

About Project Amazonas / Asociación Civil Proyecto Amazonas
Project Amazonas is a Peruvian/USA non-profit, non-sectarian, and non-political organization dedicated to humanitarian, conservation, and educational activities in the Peruvian Amazon. They are dedicated to working together with indigenous and other peoples living in the Peruvian Amazon to address issues of interest to them, including self-determination, educational opportunities, better health, conservation of natural resources and the environment, sustainable development and economic activity, cultural and language preservation, and land tenure and legal recognition.

To meet these objectives, Project Amazonas collaborates with local communities and Peruvian institutions and professionals to support medical and educational opportunities; hosts researchers, students, professionals and volunteers interested in these topics, and operates three Amazon field research stations in Peru. Their objective is nothing less than helping the people of the Peruvian Amazon improve their health, education, cultural and economic realities, while still conserving the biological riches and functionality of the Amazon rainforest.

This film is an AidJoy production
© AidJoy

20,000 Toothbrushes Donated To Kids In The Amazon

By Melissa Keeney, Reporter

For most of us, a toothbrush is a pretty simple necessity. “We take them for granted,” says Jonathan Shanin, founder of AidJoy, a Greenville non-profit group. “We take them for granted, but elsewhere around the world, it can be life changing.” Shanin’s group, founded several years ago, helps charities around the world. His latest work is with something called “Project Amazonas”, a mission that’s delivering medical care to people in the Amazon rainforests of Peru. “It’s a large region, and with the tremendous distance, sometimes it takes people days or weeks to get to medical care,” Shanin says.

Because of that, he says dental care is severely lacking. “The kids oftentimes will have tremendous pain in their mouths, and will have that pain for months straight,” Shanin says. Still, he says a toothbrush is considered a “luxury” in most of the poor Peruvian villages. “Most people only earn $300 or $400 a year to take care of their whole family,” says Shanin. “Spending $2 or $3 on a toothbrush is weeks of work.”

Recently, though, an Upstate business stepped up and saw Shanin’s need. The ADEC group, a firm that specializes in marketing and communications, came to Shanin and asked how they could help. “I said we need toothbrushes,” he remembers. At first, ADEC supplied 2,000 brushes. But, it soon turned into more. “They came back to us and said ‘what if we donated another 18,000 more? Could you do anything with that,” Shanin says, with a laugh. “I was like, this is great!”

Now, the 20,000 toothbrushes sit on two gigantic pallets in a local warehouse. The plan is to distribute them to local children in Peruvian villages, and teach them about lifelong dental care. Shanin will leave for Peru in April, delivering the first couple thousand brushes. He says the huge gift will likely last them another couple of years. “A toothbrush is so simple,” he says. “But it makes all the difference in the world.”

Interview with Devon Graham, Ph.D. President & Scientific Director of Project Amazonas

Devon Graham, Ph.D., President and Scientific Director of Project Amazonas on working with AidJoy:

“On a near daily basis, Project Amazonas has faced the moral and financial dilemma of matching limited resources to overwhelming need. So it is that I find myself asking questions like, “Do we implement a parasite control project that will enhance the nutrition and health of an entire community (including children whose physical and mental growth can be stunted by parasite infections); or do we fund a life-saving surgery for the sickest child in that community, knowing full well that the health and welfare of others in the community will suffer as result, and that lack of community-wide intervention will lead to suffering and death in the future?”

There are no satisfactory solutions to these types of dilemmas, but when faced with a parent or a child begging for assistance to save the life of a loved one, it is impossible for me to turn away. So we work to save that life, and hope that on another occasion we’ll be able to work to prevent life-threatening illnesses in the community as a whole. The immediate urgency trumps the abstract, but still very real, future.

I’ve stopped worrying about these issues. Not just because of the emotional toll that they take, but because I’m not faced with these dilemmas as often. Today, Project Amazonas is more often able to fund that life-saving surgery AND implement the community-wide program. AidJoy is the partner that is making my life easier, and that saves lives and improves health for thousands of people in remote communities in the Amazon. My charity is still doing the work, but AidJoy is putting us in contact with resources – human, technological, medical and financial. Those resources, whether they are volunteer doctors, dentists or nurses, donated medicines and equipment, or technical assistance with a website or patient database, mean that much more of our time can be spent doing what we do best – meeting the medical and sustainable development needs of the people we are serving.

AidJoy is unique. I know of no other charity whose goal is to help organizations like Project Amazonas do what we do better. In a very tangible way AidJoy is saving and bettering the lives of thousands of people in the Amazon. What AidJoy has done for Project Amazonas will have growing positive consequences for many years to come. They will have a similar impact around the globe in coming years as they partner with other humanitarian organizations. If you have the chance, visit us in the Amazon and see first hand the impact that AidJoy has made.”

Devon Graham, Ph.D.
President/Scientific Director
Project Amazonas

A Vision of Care, A Mayor’s Devotion To People In The Amazon Rainforest

Dr. Edward Reátegui Salas, Mazán’s mayor, tells us about the importance of improving the level of care for the town of Mazán and the dozens of communities that rely on Mazán for their sole source of medical aid. The new medical facility in the town of Mazán, Loreto Peru, will be the primary source of medical aid for 45,000 people annually.

The town of Mazán is identified as an optimal site for a clinic due to a combination of critical needs and strategic location.

Advantages to a New Medical Clinic In Mazán:
• Medically, the District of Mazán is plagued with both urban (due to proximity to Iquitos) and rural medical problems.
• The medical clinic will serve as the primary medical source on the Napo River, and Mazán River (noted nationally for being a malaria endemic region).
• Current medical infrastructure and staffing falls far below what is actually needed to address the existing health problems of the community and surrounding districts.
• The town of Mazán itself is located on a geographical crossroads – located at a critical location for movement of people and goods between the Napo River watershed and the urban metropolis of Iquitos.
• The population of the district and region has been steadily increasing, and further increases could be steeper still if proposed infrastructure projects are realized.
• Future development plans for the region will directly impact Mazán, bringing increased access and population.
• Political support (at both regional and local levels) for a Mazán medical clinic is high and enthusiastic.
• High levels of opportunity exist for establishing partnerships with both national and international institutions and organizations.

To learn more please download the Mazán Medical Facility Case For Support:

Mazan Medical Clinic Overview

Jonathan Shanin, Executive Director of AidJoy describes the need for a medical clinic in the town of Mazan, Peru. This clinic will be the primary source of medical care for 45,000 people living in the Amazon rainforest.

About Medical Aid In The Peruvian Amazon
The Peruvian Amazon region presents a number of challenges to the provision of health care. Outside of Iquitos, the average government medical clinic is understaffed, poorly supplied, deficient in medications, needing diagnostic capabilities, and without reliable electricity or running water. Remote rural health posts are staffed by a single technician and have far fewer resources. The results are predictable. Rural Amazonian residents suffer and die from a wide range of treatable and preventable illnesses and medical conditions. Many health problems are so chronic and pervasive that local people consider them to be another fact of daily life. Such conditions include; malaria, parasitosis (worms), diarrhea, upper respiratory infections, dehydration-related conditions (headaches, migraines, and urinary tract problems), dermatological problems (resulting from fungi, allergies, and environmental irritants), and chronic muscular and joint pain resulting from lifetimes of hard physical labor. Poverty and a lack of health education compound the problems.

As deeply ingrained as the health problems in the region may be, they can be addressed and either improved or eliminated. All that is lacking is innovative thinking, creative solutions, and dedicated application. A medical clinic in the region provides the opportunity to take the lead in vastly improving the health of the residents of the Amazon Rainforest, and to provide a health-care model to be emulated by others, both within the Peruvian Amazon and in other underdeveloped regions of the world.

Mazan Medical Clinic Design

Lead Architect, Alex Gil of, describes his design for the medical clinic being constructed in Mazan, Peru, for Project Amazonas, a charity dedicated to bringing health care to the people of the Amazon rainforest.

Sick and injured overwhelm the regional hospital in Iquitos Peru

  • There is one comprehensive hospital to serve over 1 million people in the Peruvian Amazon.
  • The Amazon region of Peru is the size of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia combined.
  • People travel four days two weeks seeking medical aid.
  • This video is the daily scene when the doors of the Regional Hospital open at 6 a.m.
  • There are 4,000 communities in the Peruvian rainforest. The people in these communities are subsistence farmers, hunters, and fishermen who act as caretakers for the largest and most diverse ecosystem on the planet.
  • Even the most basic healthcare is unavailable to the vast majority of the one-million-plus inhabitants of this region. Because there are no roads in the jungle, the primary form of transportation is a dugout canoe. It can take more than two weeks to reach a hospital. Two weeks is a death sentence for a mother having complications during labor, or a farmer bitten by a poisonous snake.

*  We have heard too many of these stories.

** We have decided to do something about it.

The Start of AidJoy

AidJoy was created out of a compelling personal need to address issues that affect humanity on a global scale.

We are dedicated to helping unsung philanthropic heroes. We will not let charities struggle to survive that have the iron will, knowledge and skills to solve one of the world’s dire problems.

AidJoy brings a voice to their phenomenal stories and provides them with the technology and training to take advantage of that exposure.

AidJoy on CBS - Your Carolina

CBS – Your Carolina reporters Jack Roper and Megan Heidlberg interview Jonathan Shanin on what to expect at AidJoy’s upcoming gala.

Volunteering for Amazon Medical Clinics

The NGO Project Amazonas has been providing medical care to the people in the Peruvian side of the Amazon Rainforest since 1994.

Approximately 9000 people each year receive medical aid from Project Amazonas.

Project Amazonas’ mission: Care for the people that protect the Amazon.

Project Amazonas Promo

Directed/Captured/Edited by Will Bryan

“Carolina & Company Live” story on of medical aid in the Amazon.

Cecil Chandler and Amanda Kinseth talk with AidJoy’s founder, Jonathan Shanin, on their work helping to expand medical programs for remote communities in the Amazon rainforest.

Fox News interviews William “The Refrigerator” Perry and Jonathan Shanin about AidJoy’s work

Fox News: Diana Watson interviews William “The Refrigerator” Perry and Jonathan Shanin about AidJoy’s work and their upcoming gala.