So what do you do up there? It’s a question we get often enough. This winter interns were busy, working on a number of projects.
Kristine was running around the reserve and neighboring properties, improving the methodology and rigor of our ongoing camera trap project. She also cared for the newest additions to the reserve, our chickens!
After designing and planting cacao plots for the reserve, Vanessa built a super sleek worm bin.
Jess constructed bat boxes to attract our flying friends, increasing biodiversity in the production zone and welcoming these natural pest managers. Their nutrient rich waste can also be used in the gardens.
Maddy was out in the thick of things, doing vegetation surveys to figure out just what kind of creatures are out there under all that leaf litter. In case you couldn’t tell, she loves frogs.
Along with leading the Swale Revolution, Alya hiked our entire trail system surveying orchids and bromeliads. She was beloved by many a forest creature, as is evident above.
Click on the image to read in full. Thanks to Spring 2012 Intern Olivia Niziolek for her great work on compiling the Jama-Coaque Insect Bible from which we drew this description of the creatures in question.
In anticipation of volunteering at the Jama-Coaque reserve, I daydreamed endlessly about the types of flora and fauna I’d encounter. While imagination has its merits, it’s nothing like the real thing baby!
The expected beauties like howler monkeys, tarantulas, and birds continue to amaze, but what has really struck me are the abundance of smaller less allegorical creatures like roaches, hoppers, and moths. It turns out there is more than one type of scurrying cockroach!
Here is a smattering of these intricately dressed creatures.
Check out those eyebrow antennae!
What a delight it was to visit the reserve for the Christmas Holidays. Anne and I were in Ecuador for the first time. Our son Ben has been there since March and our daughter Erin arrived 2 weeks before we did. It was a wonderful reunion!
We descended from Quito towards Santo Domingo and on to Pedernales. The extent of lowland deforestation was immediately obvious, was impressive in its extent, and was disheartening.
The reserve and the Bamboo House were a welcome sight after seeing what is called “progress”. We were greeted at the house by Lista – the house cat. She was happy to have companions back in the reserve. The house was very comfortable and we enjoyed taking in the sights and sounds of the forest at our feet. After a brief tour we started pizza dough rising, and settled into the house for a couple of days. The quiet serenity was broken only by the surrounding howler monkeys. We fired up the brick oven and had delicious pizza for dinner.
We were also greeted by some of the local colorful birds. These two were regular close visitors as were a number of hummingbirds.
On Christmas Day we went for a hike into the reserve. The vegetation is quite dense. We are at the end of the dry season. There were few mosquitoes or other insects, the humidity was low and we had a nice trek for a couple of hours on the trails. It seems that many of the old growth trees had been harvested some time ago, and the new growth needs time to mature.
We saw a recent addition to the reserve that is scheduled for planting in the next few months. Restoring a rainforest from cleared land is an ultimate exercise in patience. I felt fortunate to have been able to visit and have a wonderful Christmas Holiday with my family!