February 2019

The first sight of a quetzal in the wild is unforgettable.

Female Quetzal emerging after digging in the nest

The male is preparing to go in to take his turn at house cleaning.

The male is an extremely elegant bird, but he loses some of his sophistication when he dives into the nest with only his tale sticking out.

In January 2018 Alyce Straub started a project constructing six quetzal nest boxes.  Unfortunately she needed to leave prior to completion.  Frank Spooner & Arran Redman  later installed five of the boxes throughout Cloudbridge.  One remained, so Tom placed the remaining one in a Mexican Elm in front of his house. Nest boxes were monitored throughout 2018 with none being used. On the 24th of  January 2019 a male quetzal was spotted checking out the box in Tom & Linda's from yard.  As we go to press we can say that the Male & Female have been working diligently on upgrading the nest box daily, so with a little luck we may get the opportunity to observe them nesting and hopefully fledge one or two chicks.  More next month or follow us on Facebook for updates and photos


Research

My name is Izzy Soane, a Research Intern here at Cloudbridge. I am a University of Birmingham graduate studying Mixed Species Flocks, hoping to gain experience in the field of ornithology. I am very excited to be surveying the birds each morning in such a beautiful area. This is a fantastic place to go hiking in my spare time and explore the natural world of Costa Rica. I am looking forward to experimenting with food at Pot Luck events and meeting new people over the course of my time here. I would like to thank Cloudbridge for being so welcoming. I will be studying an Ecology Masters course at Imperial College London from September and will use all the knowledge I have gained being here.

Izzy
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My name is Claudio and I am a student at the University of applied sciences van Hall Larenstein in the Netherlands, attending the Tropical Forestry and Nature Management specialization course. I am doing a carbon sequestration research project in Cloudbridge nature reserve comparing carbon stocks in natural regeneration and planted forest. The information I gather in the field will help determine the above ground biomass and is used to calculate the yearly increase of carbon stocks in the Cloudbridge Nature Reserve forests. Growing forests support the reduction of harmful carbon emissions, help sustain clear water in rivers and microclimates and thus ensure a healthy environment for future generations.

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My name is Jorna van Ommen, I am 26 years old and currently studying Tropical Forestry at the university Van Hall Larenstein located at Velp in the Netherlands. During my education, I have learned about tropical ecosystems, plant taxonomy, soil types, geology, GIS and remote sensing. I have done research about the correlation between vegetation cover and reptiles and I have also done research in Suriname, about improving the community forest for the indigenous tribes over there. I am most interested in the relation and ecology between animals and vegetation in tropical ecosystems. During my previous education I have done animal management so that’s were my passion for animals come from.  I am most interested in the relation and ecology between animals and vegetation in tropical ecosystems. During my previous education I have done animal management so that’s where my passion for animals came from.  At Cloudbridge I am going to measure the carbon stock in different forest types together with my colleague Claudio. After this I will do some camera trapping on mammals to see if there is a difference in abundance in these different forest types. I am happy to bring the skills I have acquired so far to practice.

Jorna
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Hi, my name is Mary Long and I come from east Tennessee, one of the most beautiful and biologically diverse areas of the United States. I chose to volunteer at Cloudbridge because the work they do in science, education, and conservation work is impressive, and the location is fantastic! While here I am assisting researchers in stream sampling and bird monitoring, and working in the tree nursery. Back home I help manage a small family retreat center and lead forest and meadow restoration projects. I am recently retired from public service as a conservation planner, national forest ranger, and natural resource specialist; opportunities which took me across the US, Puerto Rico, and southeast Asia. Previous experience included hands on work in my small business in landscape construction and design, nursery and greenhouse propagation. Now as a retiree, I continue to appreciate volunteering in the world to listen and incorporate local knowledge and belief systems into projects, while sharing my knowledge of work. 

Mary
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My name is Marlon, I am 22 years old and from Germany. I will stay in Cloudbridge Nature Reserve until at least the middle of April.

I work as a volunteer and so far, have mainly helped the researchers on their daily routine and have done painting jobs. It is a very interesting way for me to get some experience about environmental research after having finished my bachelor studies in agricultural sciences. In the coming weeks I will work on a bridge repair project. Ryan, the Manager, agreed to support me with this. The Nature Reserve is really beautiful and there are a lot of free time activities you can pursue after work, which is usually not to exhausting but still gets you tired in the evenings. The people around are all very nice and open and the general mood is very good. Some afternoons I’d just lay in a hammock and read a book or play some guitar, or sometimes I’d go for a swim or a small hike if I feel like it.
I love that the work is mostly very interesting, that I can come up with my own projects to work on and that you really feel like being in nature here. No car noises, no city lights, just the stars, beautiful nature and good people. On Mondays we usually have ‘Pot Luck’, which means that everyone who wants to take part prepares some food and in the evening we all dine together. It is great!
Most volunteers and interns stay for at least a month, but we have also had a couple of people who only stayed for two weeks, which is also fine because new arrivals are integrated very quick.

Marlon
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My name is Leticia, I am 19 years old and from Germany. After highschool I decided to spend half a year in Costa Rica before going to university. I will volunteer in different projects, including in Cloudbridge for three weeks.
Here, I helped the reserve with painting the rooms and I got a lot of insights in all the different research projects, for example tree and stream measuring or the construction of a now compost bin. In my last week I started my very own project: I painted a design on the walls of the welcome center to make it look nicer, since it only had plain white walls before. What I liked about the volunteer project was, that I could learn more about the work of the researchers, being independent in my own project at the same time. After work, I had a lot of fun with the other volunteers while cooking, jamming or playing games. Hopefully, I can come back to Cloudbridge some day in the future.

Leticia
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Marcella Snijders - Canada

I came to cloudbridge to discover end explore CR's rich flora and fona. I wanted to live in cloud forest jungle to take in all its wonders. My goals were exceeded tenfold, what a wonderful place! I have a science background in Geography and Ecology and welcome the opportunity to help with the field work at Cloudbridge. During my time here I worked on an aquatic insect study and owl surveys. The people at Cloudbridge are walking encyclopedias of  local natural science expertise. I also was able to do some painting and trail landscaping. For several days I worked on beautifying the welcome centre with Laticia. And, best of all I was able to see and paint a quetzal!

Marcella and her painted quetzal
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Visitors:

Wilderness Inquiry group from Minnesota.

Tom Gode gives the group an introduction to Cloudbridge

Enjoying the garden on the reserve.

Visiting the art studio at Cloudbridge

Mixed media tactile painting makes art accessible to people who are visually impaired.

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Fun Times

We celebrated Valentines day down at the Garden House Bird Observatory cafe. It was a night of pizza, cake and other goodies.

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Forest Progress

Montana trail - 2012

Montana trail - 2019

Jungle Humor

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