It has been a rainy month on the reserve and the plants and animals are dripping wet! The vegetation is very lush and green and the waterfalls are operating at maximum levels of beauty. We have had a rich month of company and activities, thanks for stopping by to get caught up with the news!
Research and Volunteers:
Cloudbridge had the pleasure of hosting two volunteers from Germany this month, Jasmin Hauch and Jan Emmel. Jan is a self-employed software engineer and Jasmine works in marketing. The two are taking a break from their busy lives at home and enjoying some diverse types of ecosystems during their year-long trip traveling New Zealand and Latin America. Before coming to Costa Rica, they were in Mexico and Guatemala and they are headed to Columbia later this month. During their two week stay, they helped with all kinds of projects. They assisted a researcher taking measurements of trees for a study on Habitat Assessment in Reforestation Areas. They have also helped with carrying a huge amount of lumber harvested from a couple of non-native Mexican Cedar on the reserve. We have also enjoyed their help in the gardens, planting trees and working at the Welcome Center. Jasmine has been inspired to work on her painting skills while she has been here and stretching out those stiff muscles she earned during their 3,000 km hike across New Zealand.
Amy is from Alberta, Canada and will be entering her third year as a Zoology student at the University of Calgary. Amy will be at Cloudbridge for 3 months to do bird surveys around the reserve, and add to previous knowledge about known species in the area. In the future, Amy would like to work in wildlife biology or conservation, and she is particularly interested in environmental change and its impact on animal behaviour. At home, Amy enjoys sport climbing both in the Canadian Rockies and in competitions around the country.
Helping out with our camera trap study is Camila Ortiz Giral. Camila has just finished her degree in Biology at Universidad de los Andes, in Bogotá, Colombia and has had some great experiences assisting in her wide knowledge of the natural world. During her three month stay, she will be monitoring the camera traps on the reserve, getting the database caught up with a backlog of information, and analyzing the data collected over the years. Camila has traveled to a diverse number of places in Columbia, studying the biology from the beaches in Providence Island to the Páramo los Nevados. Grateful for her education, she has focused on theory and practical skills, preparing her for a future as a biologist, conservationist, and environmental enthusiast. She hopes to work in wildlife conservation, promoting survival of animals in our rapidly changing planet.
Aislinn, an half Irish half German citizen from the North of Germany, has been volunteering and traveling in Costa Rica and Panama for the last 5 weeks and has now joined the Cloudbridge team, looking forward to helping out in any way she can for the next four weeks. In September Aislinn will start her studies of Environmental Science in Scotland and is therefore eager to gain any valuable knowledge by reading the books and research papers at Cloudbridge. She is especially interested in the biodiversity of tropical trees. In her first few days at Cloudbridge she has grown very fond of the Memorial Garden and Waterfalls along the trails.
Laura, one of our research interns, finished her study on hummingbirds and headed back to the UK this month. She was studying how the presence of an artificial feeder affected hummingbird behaviour, specifically, feeding, perching and aggression. She identified the feeding behaviour of the hummingbird species in her study plot either from the literature or from observations prior to beginning her study. During her study, she put up a hummingbird feeder for 4 days made observations on their behaviour, and then took the feeder down for 4 days and made the same observations. She repeated this process for 2 months. The results varied between species, with some species being unaffected and others showing significant differences in their behaviours when the feeder was present or absent. The presence of the feeder significantly increased the number of daily feeding visits for 3 species, while significantly decreasing the time spent feeding for 5 species. The decrease in feeding time is likely due to the feeder providing a higher quality food source, meaning they were able to feed less to achieve the same energy requirements.The feeder only affected the perching behaviour of 2 territorial species, with median perching time decreasing when the feeder was present. Perching within the study area is more likely to be seen from birds that are defending a territory. The drop in perching may be due to the presence of larger hummingbirds in the study area when the feeder was present driving out the smaller birds. Finally, three hummingbirds saw an increase in the proportion of aggressive behaviours displayed when the feeder was present. Hummingbirds are generally aggressive towards other hummingbirds, and the presence of the feeder increased the number of interactions, and caused some birds to attempt to defend the feeder from other hummingbirds, increasing the aggressive displays seen.
AROvolunteer group from Montreal Canada helping carry wood from non native tree species down the hill to be used in construction.
Christoph Heinrich from Munich Germany arrived in late June as a volunteer. He loves nature and the mountains in his home country, and that combination led him to Cloudbridge to experience the flora and fauna and mountains in this country. He wants to help out with the reforestation project. When he returns to Germany he plans on studying landscape management.
Sophie is a 28 year-old from France, who came to Cloudbridge to volunteer in late June. She found out about Cloudbridge because her brother came here several years ago and told her all about it. She left her job and took a year off in order to take time for what she really wanted and loved to do. After traveling a few months in South America, she wanted to have an experience as a volunteer in a nature reserve. She wanted to be helpful for Mother Earth, in all that she need NOW. She also thought it would be the best way to meet beautiful people with the same convictions, to ‘meet ourselves’.
Rianne is our most recent arrival, here as a general volunteer. Rianne BeCraft just completed her master’s degree in Water Resources Policy and Management in Oregon, USA. She has a background in environmental science, policy, and conflict management. Rianne wanted to unwind and reset before taking on the next opportunity that comes her way, while also helping out with some manual labor and getting her hands dirty. Cloudbridge offers a wonderful combination of exactly that! Rianne’s favorite things in life include yoga, cider, reading fiction, and wandering outdoors solita.
On the 15th, of this month we hosted a Community Tree Planting day. We added about a hundred trees to a research area on a northern slope overlooking Cloudbridge Falls. We placed some dead down trees into the area and will be monitoring the area for an increase in invertebrates and how that might assist the biodiversity in this area. We had over 24 volunteers from the surround area and really appreciate the overwhelming support!
Each month we show our commitment to the environment by achieving successes in one of the four foundations our mission statement: Reforestation, Conservation, Education, and Research. This month, we aim for conservation of our natural resources by installing a solar water heater. This upgrade will reduce the amount of propane we use and help reduce our carbon footprint.
We have had several Capuchin Monkey sightings on the reserve this month. We even caught a glimpse in one of our camera traps.
We caught a quick glimpse of a coyote trotting by this month.
We think this Paca might be pregnant and is collecting leaves for bedding.
This curious cat is very camouflaged.
These baby coatis are curious about the scent stick set out in front of one of our camera traps.