We love trees!

April is a month when Quetzal couples are busy tending to their growing offspring.  If you are lucky enough to know where there is a quetzal nest, you will have ample opportunity to bear witness to this magnificent and photogenic bird as it goes about its parental duties.  The above picture was taken by Arnaud Montagna, a visitor who greatly enjoyed his experience in the cloud forest!

Resplendent Quetzal, Pharomachrus mocinno. Photo credit: Arnaud Montagna

Our research lab was put to good use this month as the site of a 3-day Tropical Dendrology course with tree expert Nelson Zamora.  A large part of Cloudbridge´s staff was able to participate in this fascinating class, including our excellent maintenance workers Oscar Valverde and Edgar Madrigal, who both showed a great depth of empirical knowledge about the trees of Cloudbridge.  

In addition to our  researchers and volunteers who have been consistently collecting data and otherwise working on the reserve, this month we have also received various student groups, including from the local campus of the Universidad Nacional and students of Ecological Restoration from Pitzer college.  Some of our own staff and program participants were also able to participate on their own field trip, to ornithology pioneer Alexander Skutch´s homestead, Los Cusingos.

Greilin Fallas Rodríguez watches birds from the window of Don Alexander Skutch.

For Cloudbridge it is important to have good relationships with other conservation initiatives in the area, and for us it is a pleasure to have had a collaborative relationship with Los Cusingos Bird Refuge for some years now, notably with our joint participation in the CONUBI environmental education program.  This nature preserve has a rich history as the historical home of the eminent ornithologist and biologist Alexander Skutch.  In addition to his impressive academic outputs (from rural Costa Rica, no less), Skutch was an adventurous and observant settler of a remote area of Costa Rica during the first half of the twentieth century, as told in his published books such as «A Naturalist in Costa Rica.» 


Participants in our Research and Volunteer Program

Hiya — my name is Anthony and I’m here at Cloudbridge to immerse myself in the native flora of Costa Rica! I work as a data analyst and graduated with a statistical degree a few years ago. I also love plants and am looking for a way to combine my passion for plants with my interest in statistics in order to help real-world plant conservation issues. Hence my volunteering stint at Cloudbridge, which sadly is just three weeks long! I have enjoyed helping researchers with their data analysis and also trekking the trails, getting lots of good exercise & fresh air, and seeing so much lovely greenery and scenery! What makes it all the more special has been the community here at Cloudbridge — I know I’ll miss so, so many people after I’m gone. For now, though, I’ll look forward to seeing plenty more sights around the reserve!  

Hola! My name is Oli and I am a research intern from the UK. I will be looking into which factors have the biggest impact on mammal species richness using several camera traps spread around the reserve.
I am in awe at the diversity of flora and fauna at Cloudbridge, let alone Costa Rica as a whole. I only hope that I’m able to experience and learn as much as possible in the 10 weeks I am here.

Hi 🙂 My name is Lennart and I’m volunteering at the Cloudbridge Nature Reserve for 5 weeks. I’m from Germany and have recently completed my studies as a civil engineer. I’ve decided to take short break before I start working, so here I am, staying in Costa Rica for 2 months.  I love to be in nature, go hiking and watch animals/plants, so I’ve found the Cloudbridge Nature Reserve to be the perfect place to do such things with its exotic ecosystem. I’m enjoying my stay very much and there are so many animals and plants which I’ve never seen before. All the super friendly volunteers, interns and staff members make the time here even better as we all share the desire to explore nature.

My name is Sophie and I’m doing my 5 months internship at Cloudbridge Nature Reserve. I am a research intern for Van Hall Larenstein in The Netherlands and the main goal of my internship is to gain more experience and learn more about the incredible nature, conservation and reforestation here in Costa Rica. I’m mostly being a research assistant which mostly includes helping the researchers on their surveys in the cloud forest and back in the classroom. So far this has been an incredible experience that I will never forget and I can’t wait to learn more the rest of my time here in Cloudbridge!

My name is Joana and I’m a volunteer from Portugal. I’m spending 5 weeks at Cloudbridge assisting with ongoing research and enjoying this beautiful part of the world.  As a vet, my main goal here is to understand what roles or career paths are out there in the conservation area and Costa Rica seems to be the perfect place to start, not only for its biodiversity but also for being a country that encourages these projects and is very passionate about fauna and flora conservation.  Cloudbridge provides field experience, beautiful hikes with amazing animals to spot and an incredible living environment with people from all over the world. Excited to see what comes next!

My name is Digby Wheeler and I come from Brighton, England. My background is in biology and education and I am fascinated by ecosystems biology and humanity’s relationship with the natural world. I am currently conducting my research project on mixed species bird flocks at Cloudbridge. The reserve exhibits astounding species diversity and complex avian behaviour. It is a real pleasure to work as an intern here and to meet the inspiring and friendly people that care for this place. I hope to use this valuable experience to find work in the conservation biology sector and help engage more people in the protection and restoration of thriving ecosystems.

Pics from around the reserve:

The black-handed spider monkey, Ateles geoffroyi. Photo credit: Oliver Bevilacqua
This orange-billed nightingale thrush is patiently protecting the eggs, even when it´s wet!  Photo credit: Lennart Paul
The red-headed Barbet (Eubucco bourcierii) is one of the more common species seen around the reserve, but nonetheless quite striking. Photo credit: Miriam Tovar Heid
The Talamancan pit-viper (Botriechis nubestris). Photo credit: Miriam Tovar Heid
A sunset on base. Photo credit: Ben Womack

Photo credit: Lennart Paul

Suggested reading:

  • Cloudbridge has recently been featured in an excellent article on isolated habitat areas, which we invite you to read.
  • Examples of sustainably managed, economically viable forestry do exist, though not without their challenges, as demonstrated in this article about the inspiring forestry of the Menominee tribe in Wisconsin.
  • Stories can help us remember that we are all connected.  In this story, tribal chairman Greg Sarris shares a narrative entwined with his ancestral homelands of Sonoma Mountain.
  • Regenerative grazing is an excellent use for lands that historically have supported large numbers of grazing animals.  This video offers an excellent introduction to the concept of regenerative grazing, as part of holistic management.

2 comentarios en «We love trees!»

  1. Beautiful blog! So happy to see the work and research that is happening at Cloudbridge. Many thanks to the staff at Cloudbridge.

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