Corinna Franke – Germany
Corinna graduated from school and after this exciting break she will start university in the fall. She has been travelling for 6 months. Previous to Costa Rica she was in Guatemala where she took Spanish classes. The idea of travel was to study a new language and to enjoy new experiences that might help her decide her future.
She has been busy here helping to renovate the welcome centre. With her meticulous painting skills she redesigned some of the lettering on the building. She worked on some grounds improvements including digging out old turf, installing new signs on the trails, working in the tree nursery, and building a fence. She enjoys working outdoors and having the feeling of accomplishment.
Felix Burmann – Germany
Felix is volunteering during his gap year. He left Germany to discover Costa Rica, work in a reforestation project and to practice his Spanish. He feels that this experience will help him understand what direction to take with his life. Later this year he will attend university and he is now thinking that he wants to study environmental law.
As a volunteer he has planted trees in the nursery, helped build a bench for one of the trails, renovated the welcome centre and is working on building a fence for a future hummingbird garden.
Baptiste Saunier – France
Baptiste is a student at Universite de Limoges in France. He is studying Landscape design and forestry. Baptiste is here for a 3 month internship and has chosen to study mushrooms and do an owl survey. He says he found the Cloudbridge website and liked the idea of studying in a country with a very different climate and biodiversity to France.
Global Vision International (GVI) interns:
Lucy Read – UK
She finished her undergraduate degree in geography and now wants to start a postgraduate program in biodiversity and conservation. An internship through GVI is providing research experience. Through this program she felt that the biodiversity in Costa Rica would meet her expectations, and it hasn’t disappointed. At Cloudbridge she is collecting data from bird surveys for the reserve.
Lucy and her GVI partner, Alex have an extra opportunity to collaborate with another researcher Graham who is doing a bird study throughout Costa Rica. He needs assistance with a specific study of the rare silver-throated jay. They will be monitoring the nesting process. Hopefully the data they collect will be included in his paper, This is an excellent opportunity for these young interns.
Alex Acott – UK
Alex is also on the bird survey at Cloudbridge. He has finished his degree in ecology and is keen on getting some experience. He really wanted to do wildlife surveys in a different country and through the GVI program he is getting a varied opportunity with turtles, jaguars, and now birds.
When he returns to the UK he will start the job search. Ideally he would like to work abroad where he feels there will be more opportunities with wildlife.
Shannon Boehmer – New York, USA
Shannon is a junior at Le-Moyne College. She will be returning as a senior in the fall to study biology and business. Through her experience with GVI she has found out that she loves animal conservation. Here at Cloudbridge she is working on the frog survey, doing identification in transects from within several forest types.
Victoria Lang – UK
Victoria was born in Zimbabwe but now lives in the UK. She is newly graduated with a degree in environmental science. Now comes the hard part – looking for a job. Until then her internship with GVI is providing some hands on experience. At Cloudbridge she is working on the frog survey with Shannon. Her next stop is Greece where she has accepted a one month position as a staff member with GVI for a turtle project. She will also be working in collaboration with the organization Arcelon. Marine conservation is one of her interests.
Her dream is to find a job in which she can continue to travel.
Graham Montgomery – US
Graham is a student researcher from Cornell University in the United States. Cloudbridge is an ideal location for his work studying the response of birds to the songs of their close relatives. He is doing 15 observational trials for a few species.
Frank and Jenn went to the Canaan School to give a presentation to the young students. Besides a slide show they were introduced to some live frog specimens and were able to look for birds through a spotting scope.
We have had a longstanding relationship with York University from Toronto, Canada. This month they inaugurated their nature reserve and ecocampus for environmental studies. This reserve is situated just a valley over from Cloudbridge near the town of Santa Elena, Costa Rica.
Tom, Frank, Linda and Jenn all attended the event. The York students will be coming up to visit Cloudbridge in May.
How is Cloudbridge Funded?
Cloudbridge was purchased and primarily supported annually by the founders Ian and Jenny Giddy for the first seven years. Following the death of Ian it became necessary for Cloudbridge to become more self sufficient. For the past six years staff and volunteers have worked to increase revenue coming into the reserve through donations, volunteer housing, and more recently by renting our cabins that are available to tourists. This has allowed us to channel Jenny’s contribution to infrastructure and capacity building. The funds that we have collected have allowed us to continue our reforestation program, expand research and volunteer programs, and solidify internship opportunities while at the same time expanding our educational efforts.
In the past six years we have expanded our collaborations with many more key partners, We now host high school and university study abroad programs including Western Kentucky University, Gatton Academy, Broadreach, Outreach Expeditions, ARO, Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences ,and AgroSup Dijon University, to name a few.
In 2012 with the completion of the Giddy Environmental Learning Centre and additional volunteer housing we began to see a significant increase in researchers and volunteers. In 2010 we hosted 14 volunteers who stayed a cumulative of 58 weeks, then by 2015 we hosted 44 volunteers for a total of 352 weeks. Thanks to the housing fee paid by volunteers we are able to employ a number of local workers and continue to expand our educational programs.
In 2015 we began renting Casita Blanca (Jenny’s house) when Jenny is not at Cloudbridge and in 2016 we have added Casita Colibri and Casita Gavilan to our rental options, as we now house all of our researchers and volunteers in new dorm style cabinas adjacent to the Education Center.
Donations at the Cloudbridge entrance have always been a small part of our budget, however in 2016 we placed a sign with a suggested minimum donation of $6 and the donations have increased significantly over 2015. We continue to be open with no fee and welcome those who choose or can not donate at that level .
2016 has started with an active 3 months and Cloudbridge continues to be an exciting place to be. We are still looking for additional high school or university classes who are interested in a study abroad program in the cloud forest and will continue to work with researchers from around the world to spread the word about climate change, environmental threats and opportunities, and provide a safe and challenging learning environment in one of the most spectacular places I have seen.
Please inform us, if you know a teacher or professor who is adventurous and interested in working with their class in the wilderness. The opportunities are endless for college grads or under grads interested in field research or volunteering. If you know a corporation with an interest in what we do we are always looking for partnerships. To donate go to www.cloudbridge.org and hit the donate button. We very much appreciate all donations which allows us to continue our work for forest conservation and environmental education. So join us and thanks for being a part of Cloudbridge.