We returned from our trip to the lowlands tired, sweaty, and ready to return to the mountain climate where we will spend the final month of our trip at La Calandria. Our first week back was very busy. We spent three mornings in the field planting and another gathering data at the Nacimiento y Vida site.
And on July 5th, we wrapped up our week by building a bio-retention pond at the Monteverde Institute with the purpose of controlling storm runoff. Our group split into teams, some of us digging, others using a wheelbarrow to move the soil away, and the rest finding and placing rocks along the walls.
However, we also began transitioning from the reforestation part of our program to the research portion. During our first week back, we had discussions with Deb and Julio about forest integrity and began planning the first phase of our project: gathering data on forest structure. After a relaxing weekend, where we continued our weekly Frisbee game, we kicked off the next week by diving into our forest integrity projects. Splitting into teams, each one will be working on projects related to forest structure. The groups will be investigating everything from soil and coarse woody debris to forest strata, microclimate, and canopy closure and will spend the coming weeks gathering and analyzing data.
Beyond forest structure, we will be researching forest biodiversity and July 9th was our big biodiversity day. That day, we mist netted birds with Luisa Moreno and Deb, categorizing them by species and ecological niche. We also netted butterflies with Mark Wainwright and worked with Julio to gather insect data.
Later that week, we also went out at night with Mark Wainwright to look for reptiles and amphibians. The next night we had a talk with the real Batman: Richard LaVall, before going out into the forest to mist net for them. Our team investigating mammal diversity also set out camera traps and have captured footage of coatis, agoutis, and white-faced capuchin monkeys among others.
We ended that week by taking a hike through the Childrens Eternal Rainforest and spending our Friday night at the San Gerardo Field Station. Mark Wainwright was our guide and he led us on a night hike where we saw saw multiple species of frogs, spiders, stickbugs, and others. The next morning we made the long hike back up to rest and prepare for the next week of data collection and analysis.
Until next time,