June 2020

Intergenerational planting is the latest trend! Here Marshall Culbreth and his granddaughter Amada Luz plant a tree together.

Though June has been another difficult month for many people around the world who have been severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, here at Cloudbridge we have been extremely fortunate to be surrounded by nature and have the opportunity to practice some reforestation! Keeping to our own social bubbles, we have been able to plant about 100 trees this month, and have lots of fun while we´re at it. We are very grateful to the supporters at HELPCA who have donated to the reserve to support our reforestation efforts! Thank you.

Trees of the cloudforest provide valuable ecosystem services

Here in Costa Rica, June 15th is National Tree Day, which of course here at Cloudbridge we are happy to observe with a hike among the forest and hugging trees. Seriously. The creation of this holiday in 1915 by President Alfredo González Flores makes it one of the first pieces of environmental legislation in the country. As we all know, trees provide us with oxygen, shade, habitat for wildlife, soil and water protection and much more. As many of us know from experience, trees also provide us with an intangible sense of calm and well-being, as anyone who has tried “forest-bathing” can attest.

We love trees!!
The path ahead may be winding and hard, but we will get through this difficult time!

The Covid-19 pandemic has continued to wreak havoc upon the citizens of many countries.  While Costa Rica has been handling this crisis relatively well, the social and economic cost has been quite high.  Though we consider the risk of contagion in a nature reserve to be quite low, we have been informed that we are not yet permitted to open the reserve to the general public.  In addition, Costa Rica´s border restrictions have now been extended until at least August 1st, at which point restrictions may remain in place for visitors from certain countries.  All of this is necessary and good for protecting the health of Costa Rican citizens and not overwhelming our health care system, but unfortunately the economic impact is being felt around the country, including at Cloudbridge Nature Reserve.  For this reason, please consider making a donation to Cloudbridge if you are able, to help us continue operating throughout this difficult time.

This male white-throated mountain gem is one of many, many animals that you could help protect with a donation
The morning light shines on the haze created from dust from the Sahara Desert over the Talamanca Mountains. Photo credit: José Fernández

The Sahara Desert is located halfway around the world from Costa Rica, but even so, we have lately been affected by giant dust clouds that have travelled over 7000 kms to create haze and possibly even drive away the rain. This is a perfect example of how interconnected our planet is, and why the tropical cloudforest is of benefit not only for Costa Rica, but for the whole planet!

Greg, Clara and Casey, part of the staff team at Cloudbridge right now, on our way to plant some trees! (not pictured are Edgar and Oscar, who are also essential staff).

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, our researchers and volunteers who were scheduled to arrive over the last few months have not been able to do so, and it may be a couple more months until we are able to receive interns once more. Of course, we will have safety protocols in place to reduce the spread of Covid-19, but we are looking forward to receiving interns once more. In the meantime, we have had to take on the basic research tasks that are usually performed by interns, such as moving the camera traps. For this reason, we are pleased to have two volunteers currently with us, who have been a great help!

Greg, Junior and Ismael cooperate on rebuilding one of our bamboo bridges.
Ismael Moore and Roberto Culbreth plant a tree together.
Junior Brathwaite has a bird in his sights.
The deck of Gavilán cabin is bathed by the morning light.

We know that many of you are stuck at home and dreaming about where you will go once we are able to travel once more. We would just like to whet your appetite with these pictures of our remote Gavilán cabin, located within the reserve, surrounded by forest and spectacular views

Gavilán cabin has an equipped kitchen and sleeps 4 people comfortably.

Pictures from around the reserve

The morning light illuminates this beautiful Sphaeropteris brunei. The tree fern is a unique plant that is much the same as it was in the time of the dinosaurs!
The luxuriant foliage of philodendron plants is emblematic of the tropical rainforest. Here, a Monstera deliciosa catches the morning light.
This non-poisonous dark wood snake, Ninia psephota, is a very handsome little fellow!
The striped glass-tail, Urotheca guentheri, is another non-poisonous snake who is part of the wonderfully diverse ecosystem of Cloudbridge
The sun peaks out from behind a stand of trees.
Elves in the forest, with the morning light behind them. Companionship and nature will ease our souls!
Of course we can´t put up a whole monthly blog post without a single picture of the spectacular fungi of the reserve. : )

Suggested Reading

  • A “natural laboratory” with unique conditions of elevated carbon dioxide created by volcanic activity provides an important research opportunity at the Rincón de la Vieja in Northern Costa Rica. Read about it here.
  • As you may have heard, Costa Rica has ambitions to become one of the first carbon neutral countries in the world. This article explores some of the strengths and challenges of our small Central American country.
  • In previous blog posts we have linked to articles about the devastating locust swarms that are putting millions of people at risk of hunger in certain parts of the world. It is easy to forget about this topic, with all of the other turmoil going on, but unfortunately the problem has not gone away.
  • Though he has long passed away, the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda captured the current global sentiment quite well in the beautiful poem “Keeping Quiet”. This video of the poem was shared with us, and we also found it worth sharing.

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