Forums Writing Chapter 5 Assignment #5 – it wont allow me to post from my assignment page so here it is

Assignment #5 – it wont allow me to post from my assignment page so here it is

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With this new thing about not every assignment getting a review and feedback….I’m no longer sure what the point is but here it goes…..and I dont get the point of the image that doesnt relate but….


I’ll be traveling to Panama for the first time in January 2013.  So, instead of researching my town I took on this assignment with a focus on preparing for my January trip and with the hope that I can possibly work up some queries to send out for the trip.

Because of that, I’ve stolen a bit from the previous incarnation of Assignment # 5 and have added three short pitches to the bottom of this assignment.  I’d love your feedback, thank you.


El Valle de Anton is a flat wide caldera about 6 kilometers across at 600 meters in elevation surrounded by mist-laced mountaintops in the Panamanian province of Cocle.

El Valle is the second-largest inhabited extinct volcano in the world. The high rim walls of the crater (left behind when the crater collapsed, creating the valley floor) are sheer, rising to jungle-covered peaks. The last volcanic area in the region dates to some 34,000 years ago.

Because of the elevation, the area is cooler than the lower elevations of the country. Also, due to landscape and incredible soil fertility the area boasts a wide variety of natural attractions such as cloud forests, waterfalls, hot-springs and a number of protected natural areas. The area is known for high biodiversity.

Year-round average high temperature is 20C (68F). Average nighttime minimum is a comfortable 16C (61F), with little variation between summer and winter.

History is deep here but, perhaps not as deep as other areas of Central America due to volcanic activity. A number of archaeological sites also dot the giant crater. Piedra Pintada is a large pre-Columbian site comprised of drawings of figures on huge boulders.  The nearby El Caño archaeology site

The “History of El Valle de Anton” by Father Joseph Noto is currently being translated and put online.

Perhaps the flagship of El Valle’s biodiversity is the tiny poisonous Panamanian golden frog (Atelopus zeteki), tragically famous for being hit so hard by the chytrid fungus, a disease rampaging through Central America’s frog populations.

The Guardian newspaper reports “there have been no reported sightings of a golden frog in the wild since 2009, and species that tend to have a highland distribution and small ranges are the most vulnerable to extinction.”

El Nispero is a small private zoo in the valley and home to the El Valle Amphibian Conservation Center (EVACC) a project initiated by the Houston Zoo with logistical support from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. At El Nispero, conservationists work with scientists to keep the last remaining golden frog population alive.

El Valle de Anton also attracts birders from all over the world who come for the blue-crowned motmot, lance-tailed manakin, orange-bellied trogon, wide variety of flycatchers, rufous-and-white and rufous-breasted wrens, rufous-capped warbler, and tanagers as well as a wide range of hummingbirds.

Well-known attractions include the town’s public market, the geological museum, zoo, serpetarium and orchid conservation center, which displays over 100 endemic local orchid species (**). El Valle also boasts a wide range of outdoor activities that includes hiking – with focus on Sleeping Indian Girl, Three Sisters Waterfall, El Chorro Macho, a spectacular waterfall that ends in a small pool that locals hold as enchanted and Gaital National Park,  a cloud forest nature preserve.

El Valle is a popular residential area with both Panamanians and retirees from other parts of the world. Landowners tend to be wealthy people from the city and there are some notably large homes in the area.


View Profile 2012-11-24 17:25:24 PST

Hi Jim!

I loved getting to know this area of Panama. I wonder if some of the post got cut off? I don’t see any pitches. Also, this sentence appears to be missing: The nearby El Caño archaeology site….

I adore the phrase “mist-laced mountaintops”!

Overall nicely done. As an aside, I write for a travel blog called The Ambler; they cover Panama and Belize. I can hook you up with the managing editor, Rachel, if you like, so you can pitch some Panama stories to her. Check them out:


View Profile 2012-11-24 17:45:58 PST


Thank you so much for your comment.

None of the post got cut off. There were no pitches in the end because they’ve changed the assignment and dont require pitches on this one….which bums me out because I’m ready to start making pitches and I’d like some feedback. So, at the last minute I didnt do the pitches.

About Ambler…that is so funny. I applied for a writing job there but they had already filled it. Just yesterday, I emailed Rachel again and told her I’m off to Panama and would love to work with them on a post or three. Would you mind putting in a word to her for me? Just an added push. I would really appreciate it.

In the meantime, would you please drop me an email? I have a question for you.


View Profile 2012-11-28 15:32:03 PST

Jim, are you still having trouble posting from the Dashboard? Also, re pitches, please see the latest in the Forum here:



View Profile 2012-11-28 15:48:15 PST


Yes. The problem persists. I know this system pretty well and cant see what I might be doing wrong. The photo is there but it wont post it because it says I need a photo. I emailed Kate this morning.

Also, thank you for the link. I will check that out.

I appreciate the feedback. Jim

View Profile 2012-11-28 15:50:18 PST

Also, I notice now that it wont let me do the assignment for Chapter 6 because it thinks I havent done the previous assignments…….

View Profile 2012-11-28 15:51:31 PST

Sorry to hear that Jim, we’ll get this cleared up ASAP so I can give your assignment the proper attention it deserves

View Profile 2012-11-28 15:53:40 PST

Thanks Candice!

View Profile 2012-11-28 15:54:41 PST

Are you using the feature photo area? It must be a feature photo, not a photo embedded in the piece itself. I’ve already written you an email, but please let me know where you’re trying to upload the photo.

You need to use the blue button at the top of the assignment that says “Add Featured Photo” and upload there.



View Profile 2012-11-28 16:50:55 PST


I mentioned it in my email but I’m just using the SET FEATURED PHOTO button just above the assignment area…….

View Profile 2012-11-28 17:05:56 PST

For everyone else’s reference, the issue seems to have been neglecting to select “use as featured photo” from within the media uploader after the image was uploaded. It’s important not to select “insert” but rather “use as featured photo.”


View Profile 2012-11-28 18:59:23 PST

Hi Jim,

Thanks for inviting me to read your piece! Good job! I think I may take your lead and research a place I’m going to in January. I think that will be more fun than looking into my hometown. I’ll keep you posted when I finish it and if you have any feedback, I’d love to hear it!!!

Have a great week!


View Profile 2012-12-03 08:21:09 PST


I was certain I had provided feedback on this piece but no longer can find it, and you came to mind this morning when I was thinking about how I hadn’t heard from you in the forums much this past week. So, again, sorry and thank you for your patience.

Just based on your notes (although I don’t see your pitches?) I feel confident that you’ll be able to pull off the research and writing aspect of this trip. Really would like to see how you narrowed down your focus area in your pitches. Have you tried resubmitting to the Dashboard again?


View Profile 2012-12-03 11:56:54 PST