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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.