Upon seeing the deforestation in the Chirripo valley, Ian said, “Let’s come back and buy some land for reforestation”.
Three months later, they returned to Costa Rica, drove around the country looking at properties, and coincidentally, found land on the slopes of Mt Chirripo.
The first piece they bought was stunning in its beauty – with a series of waterfalls, and mountain views, and even a house.
Welcome to our new manager of the reserve:
Ryan Helcoski came to Cloudbridge directly from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) in Front Royal Virginia where he was working with the Forest Global Earth Observatory (ForestGEO) studying dendrochronology, forest carbon sequestration, and climate change. Before that he was employed by the sustainability program at the University of Maryland where he obtained his M.S. in conservation biology and M.P.P. in environmental policy. Ryan has worked as a contractor for the United States Department of Agriculture, The Amazon Conservation Team, and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. He has volunteered and interned for numerous nonprofits and agencies including the Wildlife Trust of India, Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park, the Grameen Foundation, and Cielo Azul. He has nearly a decade of experience in science education, most notably his four years teaching biology and zoology at the Western School of Technology and Environmental Science in Baltimore, MD. Ryan is forever interested in the natural world and has traveled broadly in South and Central America both on contracts and for personal interest. He is excited to begin his new position as reserve manager at Cloudbridge and can’t wait to learn all he can about his new home.
With a background in accounting and procurement, Erline is responsible for the business operations, development and bookkeeping. She works closely to support the Director as well. Erline hails from Haiti, and she’s fluent in English, French and Haitian Creole. Alongside her Cloudbridge work, she is also working with a Haitian artist from Port-au-Prince to promote his art internationally. She maintains close relationships with Haiti by providing marketing and branding supports to small enterprises and local organizations.
A BIG WELCOME TO BOTH OF YOU. WE LOOK FORWARD TO WORKING WITH YOU ON THE CLOUDBRIDGE TEAM!
Research and Volunteers:
My name is Max Hoving and I’m doing my best to find the secrets the forests all over the world have for us to uncover. While studying forest and nature-management at VHL in The Netherlands, my home country, I realized that I had spent too much time focusing on just this one small temperate corner of the world. To broaden my knowledge, I decided to major in tropical forestry and do my internship in one of the most biodiverse countries in the world; Costa Rica! Cloudbridge has established good relations with my school and my classmates recommended me going here for the great views over the forests, good living conditions and all the opportunity to grow and learn about the topics that interest me the most.
Using tools like slingshots to collect leaves, flowers and fruits and conserving the leaves with a plant press I do my best to identify tree species to get a better idea of forest compositions within the different habitat types. By the end of this 5-month period I hope to be able to present a more complete catalogue of all the species found in Cloudbridge.
Cristhian and Josue are sustainable tourism students from UNA (Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica) who are with us one day a week for an English practicum. They are working at our Welcome Centre greeting guests and providing information on the reserve to hikers, as well as working on two projects. Josue has been conducting a survey of hikers after they have finished their hike to ask what they saw and find out what they did and did not like about the reserve. Cristhian has been creating animal information cards on our most common and interesting animals which we will display at the Welcome Centre.
This month a new mammal species was identified for the reserve! Derby’s Woolly Opossum (also called the Central American Woolly Opossum) (Caluromys derbianus) was identified after reviewing some historic camera trapping images. Originally mistaken for a rat due to its small size and rodent like movements, it was identified as an opossum by the distinctive two tone tail (half grey and half white), and as a woolly opossum by the thick fur that extends well onto its tail. An exciting find!