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Conservation and Environment in Costa Rica: Monthly Updates

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Conservation in Costa Rica - Monthly Update July 2012

Explaining bat project

This July was an unusually dry month considering we are in the wet season here in Costa Rica. Normally it should rain almost every day but here we sometimes didn't have rain at all for up to 1-2 weeks. Still the climate is very wet and tropical and we sweat a lot during work! We are still creating new transects for our frog and camera project about which I told you in the last monthly update.

This month I have the special honor to tell you that our macaw project came to a very successful end because our macaw chick finally left its nest in the early morning of the 06th of July at 05:30! Already days before we could observe that "Bubu" put its head out with more frequency and was becoming braver doing this every day so we knew it was only a matter of days until it would leave the nest completely. Nevertheless we were all VERY ecstatic that we could bring this big and first project of that kind we did here in Barra Honda to such a happy end! We are planning to do this project next year again and probably also in the following years.

July and August are the months where Project abroad offers the summer 2 Week Special groups for young volunteers. So far we had two different groups in July, the third one we will expect in August. The past years we worked with these groups in Barra Honda, however, this year for the first time we took them to a different national park called Diría. This park is about half an hour away in the car from Santa Cruz, a small town located between Liberia and Nicoya. Diría national park is 7.000 hectares a really big park (in comparison: Barra Honda is only 2.000 ha) where almost no investigation work has been done so far. In fact there are places where probably no one has ever been before so it might be possible to find different animals or species there than we have in Barra Honda. So we were very happy to be able to have our summer groups there this year!

Visiting the waterfall

The camp there itself is very small and is virtually in the middle of nothing which makes it very quiet and at night and you are likely to see wildlife close by. Right next to the camp is a river that supplies clean water for the whole camp and in which the volunteers went swimming in the mornings or in the lunch breaks. A normal working day there is structured like in Barra Honda with work in the morning from 8:30 am - 12:00 pm and in the afternoon from 03:30 - 5:30 pm. Additionally we offered Bird watching in the early morning and night walks in the forest after sunset which was highly appreciated and frequently used by our volunteers. With both our summer-groups we did pre-samplings in our bat- and butterfly-projects to gather information about which species are to be found in Diría national park and could already find species there we caught not so often or not at all in Barra Honda.

Together with the volunteers we also managed to build a nursery garden close to the camp of Diria like the one we have in Barra Honda. In the future we will use it to plant seeds of typical Costa Rican trees and let them grow in the nursery garden until they are big enough to plant them out in the forest.

Volunteer tubing trip

If you walk along the river that passes the camp for about an hour you come to a waterfall that is about 30-40 meters high. Of course we took out volunteers there too! They all loved to spend some hours watching the water splashing down the big rocks or even sit under it in the refreshing water. This one hour walk through the forest to get there was of course also a good opportunity to see some nature and even watch some wildlife like for example howler monkeys howling down from the trees when we were passing by under them or hummingbirds feeding from the nectar of flowers on the side of the path.

On the weekend they visited Rincon De La Vieja which is one of the oldest but still active volcanoes in Costa Rica. There we went horse-back riding, tubing, did a canopy tour and at the end visited a spa where you could sit and relax in one of the many natural hot springs created by the volcano. It was a very fun day which the volunteers and the staff will keep in our memories for a long time!

Lisa Kubik
Assistant Manager
Barra Honda National Park
July 2012

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