March 2016

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As the dry season is slowly passing we are reminded of how important moisture is for our forest.  It is an extremely dry year with record warm temperatures in this normally cool moist cloud forest.  Some of our recently planted trees don’t look like they will come out of it very well.  Others are hanging in there. The oaks in particular seem to be able to handle the heat, while the Sapote does not appreciate sun bathing.  The mature trees curl their leaves on hot days, trying to conserve what moisture remains within them. Much of the undergrowth has died back revealing bare patches among the trees.  We are thankful for our rivers that still manage to provide water even in this dry time of year.

 

 

Research and Volunteers:

PicsArt_03-14-08.18.37  Laura Seidl of Germany is here for 3 weeks. “Before I go to the University I wanted to travel through Canada and Costa Rica. I am still not sure what I want to study in the environment direction, so I am here in Cloudbridge. I would like to get to know new cultures and different things about flora and fauna.”

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The Easter Bunny made it up the hill and found the reserve. He left baskets for the volunteers and Frank…..although they did have to do some searching to find them.

Tropical easter egg animals

Tropical easter egg animals  – owl, quetzal, frog, spider monkey, ocelot and peccary.

 

 

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Max Cunningham was at Cloudbridge 2 years ago and has returned to Costa Rica for more field research.  He is a grad student at Columbia University.  Max spends most of his time up in the high altitudes of Chirripo National park.  He is studying glacial processes.  Some of the questions for his study are – How are mountains shaped and what are the processes that shape them?  What is the efficacy of glacial erosion?

You have to understand that this research is not an easy process.  He spends weeks up in the mountains in very remote areas, walking for hours, examining rock formations, and taking samples. Not to mention the eeriness of being alone in the middle of nowhere.

He gave a presentation at Cloudbridge and we got to see some amazing images of the Talamanca mountains and glacial mapping outlining the perimeters of ancient glaciers over the Chirripo area.

Max showing us his area of research near Chirripo

Max showing us his area of research near Chirripo

Chirripo National Park. You can see the park trail

Chirripo National Park. You can see the park trail

Mapping the location of the glacier that covered Chirripo and area 18,000 years ago

Mapping the location of the glacier that covered Chirripo and area 18,000 years ago

 

 

Education:

Not everyone can have the luxury of spending time in the tropics and so thank goodness for Skype and FaceTime!  We shared what we do here through distance learning sessions with a couple of schools this month.  It is an opportunity for young students to experience environmental studies in a different country.

The fifth-grade class at Ralph R. Smith elementary in the Hyde Park Central school District, Hyde Park, New York. The children watched and interacted with the presentation on a SmartBoard powered through an iPad as Charles and Jenn talked to the class over Charles’ iPhone on face time.  Mrs. Ramsey the teacher later sent student comments about the experience.  Here are a few:

“Thank you for taking time and facetiming us and teaching us about some cool stuff. I learned some cool stuff about frogs today like; how male frogs have a hook on their shoulder and female frogs don’t. So now I know if I ever see one I could figure it out.  I enjoyed and thought it was funny when the frogs kept jumping out of Jenn’s hand. I also learned that you put flags down and a number them so you know the exact place to put the frog back. I enjoyed seeing the HUGE grasshopper it was really cool and also how Jenn said she saw a snake about as big as her arm. When you facetimed us today it really inspired me to think about being someone who goes to the rainforest to study cool animals. Thanks for taking time to teach us cool stuff. I really enjoyed it!”           Sincerely,  Gaven

“Me (Emma) and my class really appreciate the time you took out of your day to  facetime us and tell us about the rainforest!!!! Thank you for everything! I never knew that there was a snake called the milk snake and I learned the difference between female frogs and male frogs. I really enjoyed it. My favorite part was when you guys told the story on how the spider monkey was peeking  in your window! ( P.S. I was the girl who asked If you ever interacted with a monkey) I’m just so glad that you guys took time out of your busy schedule to talk to us, Thank you so, so much…  Personally, I want to become a Biologist when I grow up! You guys are my inspiration….”       Sincerely,   Emma ( :

“Thank you for FaceTiming us today. It was really cool that the whole class got to see a tree frog and the glass frog. I learned that the cloud forest is really big and has a lot of trees. Also it was fun learning about the tree frog and the glass frog. I always wanted to do research on the rainforest because you can meet lots of different kinds of animals like sloths and monkeys it just looks like a lot of fun. Thanks for telling us a lot of cool things about the rainforest! Bye.”     
From,    Chase

 

We also enjoyed talking to Julie Johnson’s grade 8 class class at Shanty Bay Public School in Oro Medonte which is located 1 and 1/2 hours north of Toronto!

We discussed  frogs and other animals at the reserve, history of cloudbridge, volunteer opportunities and eco art. The students are working on a report for a blog.

Some of the questions that they sent to us at the reserve before the call were:unnamed

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Art Exhibition about climate change at the National Gallery in San Jose, Costa Rica:

 

Climate Warriors

Two Artists – Gibrán Tabash & Linda Moskalyk

Two Countries – Costa Rica & Canada

One united issue

 Our earth is warming.

This is a man made problem.

We can all make a difference if we choose.

This exhibition focuses on conservation of forests for the mitigation of the climate.

 Recognizing that forests are the lungs of the planet can lead us to make changes that will slow or halt deforestation. The impact on climate through

activities such as agriculture, palm oil plantations, logging, and mining can all be reduced by our consumer choices and better land-use policies for forest protection.

 The exhibition gives a voice to artists as agents of change to move the climate conversation in a new direction. Forests are essential for our survival and will be our climate warriors!

Linda and Gibran at the opening night

Linda and Gibran at the opening night

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National Gallery, San Jose, Costa Rica

National Gallery, San Jose, Costa Rica

Painting by Gibran Tabash

Painting by Gibran Tabash

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Our manager Frank Spooner took some time off to travel back to the UK and visit family.  While he was there he managed to connect with his old seconday/high school – Petersfield School.  Wearing his original school tie and dressed in a jacket (never before seen at Cloudbridge) he gave the students presentations on climate change.  The results were: 5 presentations, 200 students, 2 cups of tea, 9 former teachers, 4 slides that didn’t want to work (which were resolved) and a sore throat the next day.  Great work Frank!

Frank - back in school

Frank – back in school

 

Photo Gallery:

DSC_0133 Photo by Steve Britten

 


DSC_0816-2Photo by Steve Britten

DSC_0134Photo by Steve Britten

 

Community Service

donation poster

Our day of collections for the Perez Zeledon International Women’s Group amounted to almost $100.00 .   The money will buy a few more books for the mobile library.  This project delivers books to schools in the Perez Zeledon area of Costa rica.  Since it started a year ago 550 books have been added to the collection.  There are 11 schools on the rotation and 600 students.  There is now 14 more schools asking to be included in this project and so more books are needed.  Education is a big part of what we do at Cloudbridge and reading is the the best start for an academic future.

Thank you:

Thank you to a few people who sent in donations through our website http://www.cloudbridge.org   We assume you were here and had enjoyed the reserve and appreciated the project.  Your donations are much appreciated and will be used to further our conservation efforts.

 

Theresa Juedes
Joanna Skinner
Katherine Taylor

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Martha Roberts is volunteering in the Canaan school here in Costa Rica. She connected Cloudbridge with the Interact Club of Morse High School, in Bath, Maine. The Interact Club donated a camera trap to our mammal monitoring project. Thanks to all of the students and to Martha for setting this up. These cameras are a vital part of our mammal research on the reserve.