Sunday, May 27, 2012

Our New Home in the Clouds

Cloudbridge Nature Reserve, our new home for ten weeks, is a 182-hectare oasis for tropical reforestation and research projects nestled in the highlands of central Costa Rica next to Chirripó National Park. Cloudbridge and GVI have recently started a collaboration wherein two interns from GVI will come here each phase to conduct a research project on animal presence and distribution in the reserve. We (my co-intern Ken and I) are the first of these interns to come to Cloudbridge, and so it’s our not-so-easy assignment to get the project underway.

We arrived in the nearby town of San Gerardo four weeks ago, bleary-eyed after two days on buses from northern Nicaragua. We were greeted by the managers of Cloudbridge, Tom and Lynda, who drove us up the last leg of the journey on a bumpy and steep dirt road in a four-wheel drive, and introduced us to our new home: a little house perched on the edge of a ravine down to Rio Chirripó Pacifico, across from which is a mountainside that is greener than any shade of green I have ever seen.

The past few weeks have been spent getting used to the trails; in Tortuguero at the Jalova base we were accustomed to flat trails, and so the mountainous terrain here has taken some adjustment. The beauty of the trees, covered in moss and epiphytes, helped to distract from the difficulty of the hikes, and now after only a few weeks I already feel comfortable on even the longest of the survey routes. With the last of the trails that we intend to survey now marked out, we start work this week!

-Holly, 6-month Intern