January 2014

Panarama of the Talamaca Mountain range
Panarama of the Talamanca Mountain range

New Resident

Two Toed Sloth
Two Toed Sloth

Welcome to Cloudbridge.  We have waited a long time to have our first siting of a sloth on the reserve!   Maybe he has been here awhile….who knows.  They are very difficult to spot but this one just happened to be coming down a tree near one of our trails when a group of students were walking by.  With the maturing of the forest we have been fortunate to see many new residents.

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Visitors:

The organization ‘Wilderness Inquiry’ brought a group of people from the US to explore Costa Rica.  They came to the reserve for a day hike.  We walked down to the Pacifica waterfall and then did a hike along the river trail.  We ended the day in town at the Café Bambu for an evening of traditional music and a dinner of typical Costa Rican food.  The proceeds for the event go to Project San Gerardo which provides scholarships for local students.

Learning about the plant life that exists high up in a tree
Learning about the plant life that exists high up in a tree
Wilderness Inquiry
Wilderness Inquiry

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Gatton Academy – Kentucky USA

On the second week in January the Cloudbridge staff spent 5 days with the students from Gatton Academy.  This is the school’s 4th consecutive year using the reserve as a classroom for learning research skills through field investigations.  The student groups studied reforestation successions, birds and mammals, dung beetles, the plant Gunnera, and bio monitoring methods of plants.

It’s always a fun week with these students and we look forward to it every year.

Orientation by Tom and Bob Photo courtesy of Clinton Lewis/WKU
Orientation by Tom and Bob
Photo courtesy of Clinton Lewis/WKU
Students observing Bob's show and tell surprize - a Blunt Headed snake.
Students observing Bob’s show and tell surprize – a Blunt Headed snake.
Photo courtesy Clinton Lewis/WKU
Linda's group discussing tree conservation
Linda’s group discussing tree conservation
Photo courtesy Clinton Lewis/WKU
Large leaves of the Gunnera plant. Photo courtesy Clinton Lewis/WKU
Large leaves of the Gunnera plant.
Photo courtesy Clinton Lewis/WKU
Dung Beetle group
Dung Beetle group
Photo courtesy Clinton Lewis/WKU
Group session with their professor, Dr. Philips Photo courtesy Clinton Lewis/WKU
Group session with their professor, Dr. Philips
Photo courtesy Clinton Lewis/WKU
Computer time at Tom and Linda's house
Computer time at Tom and Linda’s house
Working on the power point presentation
Working on the power point presentation
Gathering data
Gathering data
Bird and Mammal group checking out the camera trap results
Bird and Mammal group checking out the camera trap results
The official photographer of the school - Clinton Lewis
The official photographer of the school – Clinton Lewis
In the old growth forest
In the old growth forest
Photo courtesy Clinton Lewis/WKU
Taking a break Photo courtesy Clinton Lewis/WKU
Taking a break
Photo courtesy Clinton Lewis/WKU
Time for a swim photo courtesy Clinton Lewis/WKU
Time for a swim
photo courtesy Clinton Lewis/WKU

Researchers/Volunteers:

Matt Smokoska has accepted the position of resident biologist for 3 months.  His earlier experience doing biological surveys at the reserve, October through December,  was one of the deciding factors for inviting him back!  He is helping out with student groups, taking charge of the welcome centre, and conducting private and regularly scheduled hiking tours.  These are weekly tours by donation for visitors to the area.  This initiative is an example of the reserve’s  educational objectives to help raise awareness of reforestation efforts and the opportunity to see the progression of  the return of wildlife to the area.

Matt at the welcome centre sharing information with some hikers
Matt at the welcome centre sharing information with some hikers
Matt leading a bird hike with visitors from Hotel Monte Azul
Matt leading a bird hike with visitors from Hotel Monte Azul

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Our friend Bob Maurer from the Osa Peninsula joined us for 3 weeks.  Bob is somewhat of a fanatic and has a vast knowledge of herpetology.  He could be seen every night heading out on the trails (often accompanied by Matt) looking for snakes.  Bob is always a hit with the volunteers and students, frequently showing up for a show and tell with a new species of snake.

Bob with students
Bob with students

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Dionthe Hingson and Alex Gates are our two GVI volunteers for the next 10 weeks.  The girls have been learning their birds for this area and familiarizing themselves with the trails.  They will be observing the bird count stations and collecting data from the camera traps.

Dionthe and Alex
Alex and Dionthe

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Laura Williams currently from Nashville Tennessee, Marlena Scheller from Poland, and Anya Tyson from Wyoming are all helping out with our ongoing tree identification studies in the old growth forest.  They are attempting to retrieve samples of leaves, fruit, or flowers from the trees, all to be photographed and then sent to the herbarium in San Jose for identification.  This is a very difficult task considering the height of the trees with a lack of low lateral branches to reach.

Laura
Laura
Marlena
Marlena
Anya
Anya

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Clarice Esch studying the Gunnera plant is leaving us again but promises to return in March or April.  Since first coming here 4 years ago she has returned every year to continue her research.

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DSCF4733
photo courtesy of Matt Smokoska

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