March 2022

 

This month we were delighted to have Cloudbridge´s original founder Jenny Giddy visit us and break ground on our new research lab, 20 years after she and her husband began manifesting their dream of restoring degraded cattle pastures to the magnificent tropical cloud forest.  Having various long-time friends of Cloudbridge take part in this groundbreaking ceremony was a real treat!

It was great to hear from Jenny about her experience discovering this area of Costa Rica and deciding with Ian to create this beautiful nature reserve.  20 years later, Cloudbridge is still going strong with their original mission of conservation, education and research.

Tom also shared some of his insight from 16 years of experience here at Cloudbridge.  We are very grateful for all of his support over the years!

The activity took place in the space that is now in process of becoming the research lab, with our current volunteers and researchers and a small number of former Cloudbridge board members.

A few weeks later, construction of the research lab had begun!

And just a short time after that, the construction has progressed!  This is how the building is coming, as of the end of March.  We are so grateful to all of the people who have made this project possible, including our generous donors.  Thank you!

Tule and her handler, Megan Parker, of Working Dogs for Conservation, visited various sites in Costa Rica, with Oncilla Conservation. Photo credit: Greilin Fallas

This month we were also happy to receive researchers from Oncilla Conservation.  The Oncilla (Leopardus Tigrinus oncilla) is the smallest of the six feline species found in Costa Rica, and it is thought that genetic testing will demonstrate that the population found in Costa Rica and Panama is a separate species from the populations found in South America.  To this end, Oncilla conservation searched for Oncilla feces at Cloudbridge with a trained dog, Tule.  Unfortunately, a strong rainstorm the previous day made it difficult to find anything, but it was a pleasure to receive the researchers and we are excited about this collaboration!  Further exciting news are the stunning images of a melanistic oncilla captured by our researchers Benjamin Luke and Max King.  These are the first known images of this kind!

The melanistic variation of the Leopardus Tigrinus Oncilla had previously not been documented on camera. Photo credit: Benjamin Luke

March was quite a busy month for us, as we also hosted an environmental education weekend event for the lucky winners of a raffle amongst schoolchildren who completed the 2021 virtual edition of the CONUBI environmental education program, which Cloudbridge has helped to develop and implement over the last few years.  Needless to say, the children and their parents were delighted with the opportunity to experience Cloudbridge!

 

Researchers and Volunteers

As always, the weekly potluck provides a fun environment and delicious meal for our volunteers and researchers : ) Photo credit: Ronja Eder

Hi, my name is Jack, I’m from Wales in the United Kingdom. I came to Cloudbridge after a 4 year break from science when I was working in a factory to save money to start my scientific career. Here at Cloudbridge I am studying the bird species of the reserve, more specifically how the different forest ages affect the diversity and species communities found throughout the reserve.

Hi, I´m Tasha and I have been at Cloudbridge since February.  I have finished my studies at uni and I am having a break before work.  I am a researcher here studying the diet of peccaries at altitude, but I love all animals and am enjoying learning the species here.  It´s been a fantastic experience and I can´t wait to make more memories.

Hello, I’m Nat. I’m a research intern at Cloudbridge studying the behavior of coatis. I love going on hikes at Cloudbridge and seeing cool wildlife every day. In this picture I’m holding a blue eyed anole!

Pics from around the reserve

This photogenic coati (nasua narica) has been hanging around the classroom quite a bit, lending himself to some great photo ops! Photo credit: Jack Lee
Photo credit: Jack Lee
The Collared trogon (Trogon collaris) is in the same family as the Resplendent quetzal. Though not as famous as his showy cousin, this handsome bird can still turn some heads! Photo credit: Sandro Pérez
Speaking of the Quetzal, this male and his partner were seen near the Ian Giddy memorial garden a couple of weeks ago. Photo credit: Anthony Garita
Photo credit: Sandro Pérez
Of course, Ricky our resident juvenile Ornate Hawk Eagle had to make an appearance in this blog! Photo credit: Anthony Garita
Here is Ricky again, mid-flight. Photo credit: Jack Lee
The black and white warbler is another beautiful bird seen at Cloudbridge this month. Photo credit: Jack Lee
Photo credit Jack Lee

 

The bay-headed tanager (Tangara gyrola) lives up to its common name “7 colores”, with its beautiful colors. Photo credit: Anthony Garita
Smile for the picture! Photo credit: Natalie Cooper
Photo credit: Natasha Lawson-Hale
Rothschildia orizaba. Photo credit: Sandro Pérez
The blunt-headed vine snake delighted some guests who were taking a night tour. Photo credit: Anthony Garita
Though of course the wildlife receives much of the attention in this blog, it is also worth noticing the beauty of the landscape, which is also quite stunning. Photo credit: Natasha Lawson-Hale

Suggested Reading

  • This month saw an in-person meeting of a working group in Geneva to draft the Convention on Biological Diversity, ahead of the conference of the parties scheduled to take place in Kunming, China, later this year.  Though this international agreement is sorely needed, as biological diversity is fundamental to our health and well-being, it has been very difficult to make meaningful headway on this contentious topic, and campaigners warn that current talks are not enough.
  • Thankfully, there are many grassroots movements and communities around the world that are proposing solutions such as agroecology and community gardens to promote human and ecological health and well-being.
  • Though we have intuitively known that intact ecosystems such as forest provide enormous climate benefits and ecosystem services beyond just capturing carbon, this article outlines the biophysical effects of deforestation.  Amazing forests such as can be found at Cloudbridge help keep the Earth at least half a degree cooler.   Hooray for forests!

 

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