May 2018

Cloudbridge Nature Reserve is a birding hotspot for discovering lower montane cloud forest birds.  May was an active month as it is the breeding season for many of the species here.  These collared Trogans were hanging around chirping and calling to claim territory and find mates.  We get the benefit of watching these beauties everyday.

 

Research and Volunteers:

Sang Xianming – China

Sang is originally from China and now is studying architecture in the USA. Being a nature and animal lover, he is attracted by the mutualistic relationship between agriculture, tourism and nature in Costa Rica, and is here to help with conservation in the cloud forest. He is planting and weeding around the baby trees in the nursery and on the hills. In his spare time he enjoys exploring the mountains and visiting to other villages to experience the local life.

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Holly Renaud – Canada
Holly joins us from Vancouver, Canada where she is an Environmental Studies student, team leader with the David Suzuki Foundations Blue Dot Movement and active voice against the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion. As an animal lover and nature enthusiast, Holly is volunteering with Cloudbridge in hopes to expand her understanding and appreciation of the cloud forest, it’s wildlife, and Costa Rican culture while working side-by-side with a talented group of international research interns. 
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Ella Ludwig – US
“My name is Ella and I am originally from Germany, but am coming to Cloudbridge from Michigan in the United States, which is where I grew up. I will be starting my second year at Washington University in St. Louis this fall, where I am double majoring in Biology and Spanish, so I’m very excited to have the opportunity to combine those two interests of mine here at Cloudbridge. In the future, I hope to study Plant Biology in graduate school and conduct research on sustainable agriculture and new ways to grow and produce foods on Earth and in extraterrestrial environments. During my time at Cloudbridge I will be assisting with ongoing forestry studies comparing how forest structure differs between naturally regenerated and planted reforestation plots when compared to primary forest, as well as helping with the tree-planting efforts here. I am so excited to have this incredible opportunity, and while I’ve only just arrived, I’m already falling in love with Cloudbridge.”
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Una Williams – Ireland
“Hello, I’m Una from Ireland. I completed my undergraduate degree in Dublin in Environmental Science in 2008. Since then I have worked and travelled around the world but last year I decided to return to education and start a Masters in Animal Behaviour & Welfare at Queen’s University Belfast. I am in Cloudbridge for 12 weeks as part of my Masters course. While here, I am measuring the Flight Initiation Distances of different bird species within the area and will hopefully ascertain which trails, if any, have an impact on the behaviour of birds. As well as carrying out my own research project, I will also try to learn as much as I can from other researchers here regarding their specific projects. Once back in Ireland, my ultimate goal is to get a job in the field of Irish wildlife working alongside local farmers to ensure the success of species as well as continued agricultural sustainability.”
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Susan and Steve quickly became part of our Cloudbridge family.  They originally came as tourists to rent Casita Blanca for a couple of days.  That turned into a week and then over a month.  We are glad that they are enjoying the reserve and we have thoroughly appreciated having them here.
We thank them for their contribution through their volunteer activities which they have dove right into.
“We, Susan Kauffman and Steve Lustgarden, are jubilados (grateful retirees) from Santa Cruz, California. We are visiting Costa Rica for the second time after honeymooning here 11 years prior. This is our first time exploring the Talamanca Mountains and we have fallen head over heels in love with this area’s biodiversity, climate, steep mountain trails, and relative lack of biting insects. During our month-long stay at Cloudbridge, we are helping conduct bird and butterfly surveys, plant and tend trees, and helping support the organization’s mission in whatever way we can. Outside of volunteering, we are hiking Cloudbridge’s amazing trails, studying Spanish, and eating the wild array of local fruits and vegetables from the farmers market.” 
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