April 2023 – Gilberto Castro

Gilberto CastroGilberto CastroWe are delighted to welcome Gilberto Castro, a native of Brazil, to speak to our society for the first time on Wednesday, April 5th. Gilberto will talk about the Brazilian Amazon and share with us some of his extensive knowledge of the Amazon to tell us what it is like, show some pictures of the area and highlight some of the orchids that can be seen there. 

Gilberto is definitely a longtime expert on the Amazon and, since 2006 when he built his Houseboat ‘Otter’, he has conducted many expeditions using the Otter including 5 trips since 2015 for the Orchid Conservation Alliance. SDCOS’s Peter Tobias, who organizes trips for the OCA, will be hosting Gilberto during his visit to San Diego.  Gilberto also will be speaking to SDCOS members on this same topic on Tuesday evening, April 4th in Balboa Park. 

Gilberto Castro was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on April 8, 1949. He lived in the US from 1965 to 1966, attending as a junior at Benson High School in Omaha, Nebraska. He returned to Brazil to continue his education and graduated in Natural History at the "Instituto de Biologia", “Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro" in 1972, and at the “Faculdade de Educação” of the “Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro" in 1973.

As mentioned above, Gilberto has extensive experience in the Amazon, where he has traveled since 1975 and, over the last 47 years, has guided a number of different expeditions. He was a good friend of Margaret Mee, the famous British Botanical Illustrator, who discovered and documented in watercolors several new orchids in the Brazilian Amazon. He guided her on the last of her 15 journeys to the Amazon in 1988. Moreover, he has guided 3 underwater filming trips for the Discovery Channel, 17 trips for the Margaret Mee Foundation, 5 trips for Kew Gardens of London, 39 Scientific Illustration trips with Illustrator Dulce Nascimento, participated on the filming of the great “big screen" documentary Margaret Mee and the Moon Flower, and since 2015 has guided 5 trips for the OCA, in Rio Negro and some tributaries.

Gilberto was part of a 5 person team to go to the top of the Eldorado waterfall in 2014 and, in 2015, he was on the first team ever to reach the bottom of the Eldorado waterfall, the highest waterfall in the Brazilian Amazon. He also conducted countless eco-tours in the area and in the Pantanal  (the wetlands on Midwest Brazil) that he crossed on off-road vehicles over 20 times on the 140 miles trek from east to west, and once on a solo crossing on foot on a west to east trek.

In addition to all this traveling, Gilberto started a business, sold it after 21 years, then did some computer programming for a small company in DOS based dBase program (some of it is still being used), and managed for some 20 years a sports fishing operation in the Amazon.

Gilberto’s presentation is not to be missed especially if you want to experience the Amazon without the necessity of leaving the San Diego area. The April opportunity table will consist of orchids from Sunset Valley Orchids.

Wed, 04/05/2023 - 6:30pm - 9:30pm