Our favorite time of year – Tree Planting Season
Emma Moore – Conneticut, USA
“I really want to learn about Costa Rican flora and fauna. I look forward to helping the reforestation project by planting trees and maintaining existing nurseries. I am looking for a hands-on biology learning experience and an opportunity to contribute to forest conservation. It would also be cool to practice Spanish.”
Lara Van Meter from Colorado studied a non native tree species that has been extensively planted in Costa Rica for harvesting. We do have some on the reserve as well.
Her presentation is called “An Analysis of the Invasive Potential of Cupressus lusitanica and its Effects on the Chemical Properties of the Surrounding Soils.”
Melanie Thierry finished her research project and presented her final paper –
“The Effectiveness of Tropical Forest Restoration on Bird Community at Cloudbridge Natural Reserve, Costa Rica”
She talked about why cloud forests are important, the large number of endemic species, and the importance of birds as pollinators and seed dispersers.
Information on both of these studies can be obtained by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org
Tom and Linda travelled to Kentucky USA to talk to faculty and students from Western Kentucky University about future potential classes using Cloudbridge as a study abroad destination. Gatton Academy from this campus already comes to the reserve yearly. Tom and Linda were treated to a tour of the new Gatton Academy building still under construction. One of Linda’s cloud forest paintings will hang in the lobby of this building when construction is complete. Tom gave a presentation about what the reserve offers and the potential for diverse studies. There seems to be possible interest not only from environmental studies but also from departments such as engineering, arts and psychology. Cloudbridge looks forward to a long relationship with this institution.
Kendall DeLyser is a past researcher who has a bright future:
Kendall wrote to us with a big thank you. This is part of what she wrote; “I wanted to let you know that I was accepted into every grad school that I applied to and I decided to go to Duke University in the fall!!! I’m beyond thrilled at having been accepted everywhere and really happy that I’ll be going to Duke and with a decent financial aid package. I know a lot of this has to do with the recommendations you wrote and submitted for me, as well as the experience I gained at Cloudbridge, so I want to say again how much I really really appreciate you taking the time to help me out with those.”
“One year ago, I was in the final stages of my research at Cloudbridge, struggling with tree species identifications and trying to soak up every last moment I could in the beautiful forests of the Reserve. I never would’ve imagined that in a year’s time, I would be preparing for grad school at Duke University, in one of the top Environmental Management programs in the US, but I know I now have this opportunity partly thanks to Cloudbridge.
Cloudbridge is a unique place, and I feel very lucky to have spent four months conducting research there. My project was focused on determining the effectiveness of the Reserve’s reforestation efforts, measured by the presence of certain important tree species in areas of regenerating forest. My study showed clearly that Cloudbridge’s efforts were paying off in helping the forest come back faster, and I’m still immensely proud of having been involved with such work.
I started my research with basic knowledge of scientific investigation and very big goals, and throughout the months of my work I learned enormous amounts about trees, their regeneration, and their impact on their surroundings. I’d always been interested in working with forests in some capacity, but my time at Cloudbridge really helped me fine-tune my interests and understand what I need to know and do in order to be successful in my future career. It was the final push I needed to apply to grad school, be accepted by every school I applied to, and finally choose to attend Duke.
The independent and self-motivated structure of my research at Cloudbridge was a huge advantage in my grad school applications. Whereas most volunteer research positions entail being someone else’s research assistant, at Cloudbridge I was responsible for the entire project, from the initial concept to the end result. The success of my research depended on how well I planned and carried out my study, and the report I wrote at the end of my project turned out to be very helpful in showcasing my work and my potential to grad school committees. All the acceptance letters I received commended my experience in the environmental field, and I think my work at Cloudbridge is a significant piece of that experience.
I can’t say enough about what Cloudbridge means to me, both for the vital academic experience and the unforgettable sense of community I gained there. Everyone involved with Reserve shows their own brand of dedication, and working with such an inspiring group is a wonderful feeling. Cloudbridge is a place where people see possibility instead of defeat, and they work tirelessly to make those possibilities into reality. This is another great lesson I learned from the Reserve, that a small group of people with determination and heart can truly make a difference in their own corner of the world.
One year after leaving Cloudbridge, I still feel a connection to and a sense of pride in what’s happening at the Reserve, and I’d strongly encourage anyone considering contributing to Cloudbridge’s work in any way (with a donation or as a volunteer) to stop thinking and just do it. It’s an experience you won’t regret.
Thanks for everything, Cloudbridge!”
Cloudbridge is working with the Association Community Carbon Trees Costa Rica http://www.communitycarbontrees-costarica.com which is a non-profit community based organization that produces and plants a highly diverse selection of native tropical trees. Jenny Smith, founder, was also responsible for the initial plantings at Cloudbridge. Cloudbridge is working with ACCT in a reforestation and diversification of abandoned agricultural land in neighbouring San Jose de Rivas, a small somewhat isolated community in the mountains. Jenny along with Jay & Brie spent the weekend at Cloudbridge after working with the volunteer community members of San Jose de Rivas to establish a tree nursery and initiate the project.
In June Cloudbridge will be donating specific high altitude seedlings that are native to the area. We have come full circle from needing ACCT to direct our planting at Cloudbridge to now partnering with them to assist another community.