Educational distance learning through video conference is a way for us to bring the cloud forest to the classroom. We organized a three way skype call that included Linda and Jenn from Cloudbridge, Pedro from the Toucan Rescue Ranch in San Jose, and the grade 4 and 5 class from Georges Vanier School in Saskatoon Canada. The students were introduced to tropical frogs, an anole, exotic plants, giant insects, baby sloths and an anteater . The students learned about forest and wildlife conservation. We also talked about climate change. When Linda and Tom return to Canada in the spring they are planning a climate march with these students.
Research and Volunteers:
Jade Roubert is from Marseille France. She is a 2nd year engineering student in a master’s program at AgroSup Dijon National institute of Agronomy and Food Science and Environment. She is here for a 5 month internship. Her research at our reserve is challenging because she is studying coatis and their problem solving abilities. Finding these guys to observe has been the challenge for her. Some of her interests are dance, playing the violin and horseback riding. Jade is applying to transfer to a University in Thailand. She is interested in studying and possibly working in tropical forestry of Asian countries.
Cyrielle Vandewalle from France also attends the AgroSup University. She is a master’s student majoring in environment and natural spaces. She intends on finishing her university studies in the Czech Republic. Cyrielle is an accomplished horse back rider in show jumping. At Cloudbridge she is researching small mammal effect on planted seedlings. For example the gophers have been excavating the roots of small trees to the point that they fall over and we lose some of our reforestation efforts to these mammals.
Hung-Yeh is a volunteer from Nova Scotia, Canada. She is a homeopathic healer and yoga teacher. She also teaches Argentine tango. Hung-Yen is interested in sustainability and volunteering to contribute in her travels. She says that this is a fabulous project and the world needs more reforestation. Her volunteer experience included watering the seedlings and garden, cleaning the cabins, working in the welcome centre and clearing around the young trees with our local workers.
Ted and Jeannine, Rosanne and Larry – Friends of Tom and Linda. These Saskatoon volunteers and visitors enjoyed hiking and exploring the reserve, but they also took the time to volunteer.
It wasn’t all work. They did take time to enjoy the trails and learn about forest conservation.
Matt Smokoska has returned for his 4th visit to Cloudbridge. This time he is here on a leisure trip, checking out some other areas of the country as well. He is helping out as a tour guide for us and working the welcome centre. Eagle eye Matt seems to have the ability to find all kinds of creatures on his night hikes including the rare velvet worm. He is also an avid bird watcher and photographer. I am not sure how he carries that new camera up our mountain slopes, but he does.
Art Studio – Linda Moskalyk
‘ One of my favourite things about being in Costa Rica is meeting all of the people who visit my art studio. It gives me a chance to talk about how art can be used for creating change in the world through addressing social and environmental issues. My art represents forest conservation and awareness of climate change but there are so many other issues that can be explored through the arts. I am fortunate to meet visitors from all over the world. Sometimes I am even surprised by visiting tourists from my home town – Saskatoon. There are so many interesting conversations that happen up in the studio – art, travel, environment, culture, politics etc. I always like to throw in the topic of climate change hoping to get people thinking about taking action. Everyone that comes to visit the reserve are happy, excited to explore, and just having a good time travelling. Life is good when I am surrounded by this kind of company and energy every day!’
We have so many great visitors that stay at the reserve. Their stay in one of our casitas and rental dollars contributes to the program and we get to meet and spend time with people that appreciate the environment and what we do here.
We really enjoyed having Jasmine, Ian and their delightful children from Quebec, Canada here at Cloudbridge. Not only did they take the time to understand the project and immerse themselves in nature, but they also took part in community volunteering. We all went into our little town of San Gerardo de Rivas to make tamales and other traditional foods for a large annual event.
Bird photos by Matt Smokoska