January 2020

Students and staff from the Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science, and their Cloudbridge group leaders. (Week 1)

At Cloudbridge, we started off the new year (and new decade) right with two weeks of inspiring visits from 11th and 12th graders from the Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science. This study abroad program, coordinated through Western Kentucky University, is designed to introduce students to a Costa Rican cloud forest, including the flora and fauna. While on site, participants focused on an an area of research, such as butterfly diversity, bird monitoring, or tree diversity/carbon sequestration, with the goal of learning basic field research techniques, while enhancing their knowledge of the importance of our global rainforests and their impact on the environment.

One student holds a glasswing butterfly (Greta oto) during fieldwork to determine feeding habits in butterflies.
The birding group woke up early in order to hit the trail at 6 a.m. with Cloudbridge resident biologist Jeff.
These students examine various species of plants, gathering important data related to their hypothesis.

The Gatton students also participated in afternoon activities, such as this presentation on climate change, let by expert and activist Linda Moskalyk.

After the presentation, students broke up into groups facilitated by Cloudbridge research interns and volunteers. They openly brainstormed and discussed ways to to reduce carbon emissions on a governmental, local, and personal level.

But of course, it wasn’t all work and no play. There was plenty of time to chill on the deck, or rest in hammocks at the dorms.

And what’s a proper study abroad program without a little cloud forest yoga?

After finishing with the first week of students, the second group arrived, and we dove into another exciting experience in the cloud forest. It sure is delightful to work with young scientists!

Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science: Week 2

Research Interns and Volunteers

We always look forward to welcoming new research interns and volunteers, who bring so many skills and interesting perspectives! Here are a few of our recent additions.

 I am Nele and I come from Germany. I chose to come to Cloudbridge as a volunteer because I love nature. Therefore, Costa Rica and especially Cloudbridge is the perfect place to be. The landscape and view up here is incredible!
Hello, I’m Maliya from Vancouver, Canada. I graduated with a degree in biology in 2016 and have since worked a variety of research and field jobs. I came to Cloudbridge as a birding intern because I wanted to experience the cloud forest and learn about all the amazing birds and wildlife here. 
Hi, my name is Áoife. I’m from Ireland (hence the unpronouncable name) and recently just finished my undergrad in Biology. I came to Cloudbridge to gain more experience in environmental field work and different conservation practices. I am currently working as the camera trap intern here at Cloudbridge.
I’m Colin. During my Public Health studies I’ve researched how tree planting is the most cost effective solution to climate change and developed an awareness of the socio-economic and environmental benefits that contribute towards such an overwhelming business case for investment in re-forestation projects.
This has encouraged me to explore my dream of replanting a woodland in the UK.
So when planning a career break I knew I should volunteer in a similar field.  Hence, I’m very grateful to Cloudbridge for the opportunity to learn about this project and its amazing contributors.
I leave wanting to stay and feeling inspired to realise my own ambition. 
I’m KC, and I’m volunteering here are Cloudbridge with my partner Colin. We’re here (in this amazing place!) for a few short weeks, our adventure here is part of a bigger, year-long adventure around Central, South America, and beyond!
We’re both here because of our love of nature and trees! We came to help where we can and be part of something. We’re lucky to be spending our time here with an amazing bunch of likeminded people doing good for the planet!
Hello, I’m Camille.  I’m 24 years old, and I study animal behavior (ethology) in Paris, France. I came to Cloudbridge for 5 months to do my graduate internship. I will study flight initiation distance of birds in the reserve. I’m so happy to be here, it will be a great experience!

Suggested Reading

This past month, Australia has seen some of the most severe wildfires that modern humans have experienced. Aboriginal Australians feel that respecting their cultural heritage and land management traditions could help mitigate future damages. Read more about this fascinating subject here

The World Economic Forum, which recently took place in Davos, is a space where economic leaders discuss strategies to face the coming challenges brought by climate change. Some speakers at this forum advocate for humans to learn from the forest. More info here

Here at Cloudbridge, the forest brings us health and well-being on many levels. In this piece, a skeptic describes the benefits of forest-bathing.

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