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Pura Vida: Costa Rica!
In June we are heading to Costa Rica for your 14th year to continue our work on reforesting Bosque para Siempre, a biological corridor critical for the three-wattled bellbird and neotropical migrant songbirds. A mouthful, I know, but we can hardly wait!
The corridor is a highway for birds (and other rain forest creatures) that depend on forested areas to feed and shelter them during their breeding and winter season. The bellbird and our songbirds are some of the many species that migrate from the Continental Divide to the lowland forest near the Pacific Ocean – a seriously deforested section of Costa Rica. To date we’ve planted over 14,375 trees, many aguacatillos (small avocados) and almost all primary forest tree species for the area and altitude. Over 200,000 trees have been distributed from our Monteverde nursery.
Last year we planted in experimental plots and donated plots; on private land and public land; on farms and in backyards. The people we met through planting were so inspiring, and so kind. In the lowland hectares of the corridor, we focus on restoring habitat around springs. The soil was compacted by decades of hot sunshine, searing winds, and hundreds of thousands of steps by thirsty cows, trampling over deforested acres. So compacted that almost every hole required pounding by a rock bar before we could even begin to shovel a hole. Hot work on steep mountain sides. We moved the trees down the slope fire brigade style, with farmers and their children often joining us. The trees will help bring back the water, and their fruit will bring back the biodiversity.
In addition to planting, we collected sheets of data on the health and condition of previously planted trees. This involved measuring trees, counting their leaves, and evaluating their general state of being. Something we found incredible while we were collecting data was the immense growth of the trees that had been planted in previous years. For example, trees that had been planted in 2004 and 2005 were well over five meters (roughly 16 feet) tall.
We also collected data at our plots where we are researching methods of reforestation to determine the effects of techniques (fertilization at different periods, clearing around the planted trees, etc.) on survival and growth rates. Recently the lead biologist on our project gave a presentation at the annual convention of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation analyzing previous years’ data. It generated significant excitement! Our preliminary results are compelling and could dramatically increase the number of trees being replanted on private lands throughout the tropics.
2017 – 15 kids and 11 days. But this could not happen without the incredibly nourishing and caring community that supports us in our ventures and work. Whether this support comes from hearts or wallets, we are very grateful. From our dedicated guests at our Anti-Cabin Fever Dinners in the winter, to the incredible biologists, guides, cooks and farmers we work with in Costa Rica, we couldn’t do it without you. So from all of the Change The World Kids, and the birds you’ve helped, thank you!