March 2020

It may seem that the world has stopped, but the natural world has not changed much. Here is a beautiful view from the porch of Casita Blanca. Photo credit: naharah.visualize

March has been a month of great changes on the global scale. Here in Costa Rica, society seems to have entered into a state of hibernation, with all parks, markets, beaches and social gatherings shut down. The government has requested that we all practice social distancing, to ease the load on the public health system. So far it has been quite effective, as of March 30th there have been only 2 deaths in the country due to COVID-19, and a total of 330 confirmed cases. Here at Cloudbridge, we have officially closed the reserve to the public. Many of our researchers have had to leave early due to the global situation. Those that have stayed are continuing with their work, and not leaving the reserve at all, to maintain social distancing. Thankfully we are all in good health and good spirits. We all agree that if you must be in quarantine somewhere, Cloudbridge is not a bad place to be.

Visitors like this lovely coati, make being in quarantine much more pleasant. Photo credit: Christina Kruse.

We realize that around the world, many people have experienced a loss of income because of this pandemic, and we wish all the best for those workers who have been laid off or suffered a reduction of hours. Here at Cloudbridge Nature Reserve, we have also suffered a significant loss of income, as could be expected given the circumstances. Please consider making a recurring or one time donation to help us with our daily operations during this difficult time, or to help us eventually move forward with our special projects.

Our “special projects box”. Before we closed the reserve to the public, we were very pleased with the response to our requests for support in building a new Research Lab. Please feel free to contribute here.
Saying goodbye to the many interns who felt the need to leave early was a bit sad. We are very grateful to the lovely group that have chosen to weather the storm here at Cloudbridge!

We are very grateful to the researchers who are able to stay at Cloudbridge Nature Reserve during this difficult time, keeping our ongoing projects moving forward. Our bird surveys and monitoring of wildlife using camera traps are projects that we are happy to continue pursuing during this crisis. We have received a number of new interns this month, though in some cases, they had to endure a period of quarantine before joining the team!

Welcome to our new interns!

Hello, I’m Riccardo Palladini, an Italian student working at Cloudbridge as a researcher. My actual inquiry is about mammal and bird biodiversity in the secondary forest, to assess the effectiveness of the reforestation effort at the Reserve. Back in Italy I studied biology in my bachelors and now I’m attending an international Masters course called Global Change Ecology & Sustainable Development Goals. My internship experience at Cloudbridge has been chosen particularly for two reasons: to understand how to set up and perform a research project, and to get in touch with the situation of an NGO committed to environmental restoration and cooperation for development with the local population. I believe that my future job will be highly related to these themes and I’m looking forward to clarifying my ideas about it during this experience.

Hi, my name is Christina. I’m from Germany and I’m a biological-technical-asistant. At home I work in an environmental laboratory but now I am taking a 3-month sabbatical and I’m thankful that I can stay here at Cloudbridge in the wonderful nature. I’m curious about all the things that I will experience here.

Hola ! I am Gabriel Henry from France. I discovered Cloudbridge two years ago and I knew I was going to come back. I am a graduate with a bachelors in Economic Sciences and I am doing a gap year between the two years of my Masters of Environmental Protection. I am here to learn biologist tools in the field, to have multidisciplinary skills in environmental managment and protection. Cloudbridge is the best place for this! I am working here on the bird survey and data analysis.

Hi I’m Charlotte, I’m a French architecture student passionate about sustainable materials and nature. I’m doing a gap year in my studies and I came to Costa Rica to learn more about sustainable living. Cloudbridge is the place to be for that ! I have here the opportunity to work on great projects about the reserve with people from all different backgrounds. I can’t wait to start this new adventure and quite glad I ended up “confined” in this magical place.

Pictures of Cloudbridge

This rainforest racer was hanging out in the staff bathroom!
This juvenile pit-viper can be found in the same place every night.
This mountain gem has been hanging around Casita Colibri. Photo credit: Christina Kruse.
Catarata Caldera, the “cauldron”. Photo credit: Naharah.visualize
With social distancing there is not much chance of using this lovely picnic table in the memorial garden. Hopefully the elves do, though! Photo credit: Naharah.visualize
The “poró de montaña” (Erythrina berteroana) has edible flowers that are also quite beautiful. This pioneer tree is native to Costa Rica, unlike it´s well-known cousin, the poró gigante (Erythrina poeppigiana). Photo credit: Naharah.visualize
The net-casting spider throws a net over its prey instead of waiting in a web. This is our manager´s favorite spider!

Recommended Reading

Exploring the link between the destruction of natural ecosystems and the current pandemic, this article proposes that the current situation could just be the “Tip of the iceberg”.

In this article, Brett Jenks argues that the social changes that we are witnessing in response to Covid-19, can offer us hope that as a society, we could take more action for the ongoing crisis of climate change. Some of the changes that we could take, and a vision of the world that we could create together, are described briefly here.

And just in case this time of shut down is feeling a bit overwhelming, Dr. Laurie Santos offers science-based approaches to happiness in her lovely podcast, The Happiness Lab. She has been providing Coronavirus bonus episodes, beginning with this one, Beat your Isolation Loneliness.

And to end on an even more positive note, here is a nice article about bacteria that have evolved to eat plastic.

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