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Conservation and Environment in Costa Rica: Monthly Updates

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Conservation in Costa Rica - Monthly Update October 2010

Scarlet Macaw

The closer we get to the end of the year the more we are working to get things finished for this year and ready for 2011. Many of the investigation projects we will be continuing in one way or another next year and we will be starting a few new ones too!

One the biggest ideas we have for next year is to bring in a friend of Eduardo's to help us start investigating the Scarlet Macaw populations in and around the park. This will be a huge project as we need to investigate why they are coming to certain areas of the park and why they are nesting in certain areas outside of the park so it means investigating a little more of the park itself, looking at ways we can improve the situation for them and helping to protect the birds that are still outside of the area. It's an ambitious project but we are hoping to get it off the ground in the near future as there is a serious need for this type of project with Scarlet Macaws.

We are also planning on changing our current investigation projects; with the bat project for example we are making plans to start marking the bats when we capture them so we can start to investigate the quantity of bats in the area, by marking each bat on the toe in a special paint we will be able count how many of each species we capture whilst being sure that we are not repeating ourselves.

Painting Santa Ana School

A lot of our work in the last few months has been helping out on community projects as well; we have been in schools, churches, football fields and along rivers in the last few weeks. During these activities we visited a school in Santa Ana which is a place we have been many times over the last year and slowly but surely we have painted the whole building as well as remodelled their front garden and maintained the back! It really is a Projects Abroad school! During our last visit we were asked to paint another of the class rooms lime green...unfortunately we don't have chance to choose the colours on these jobs...green schools, pink churches and sky blue fence posts...Santa Ana glows at night! It is always fun going out of the park with volunteers though, we get to meet the local kids and families and they always have so many questions as why there are so many gringos working in the park and a lot of the time they start to ask the question "Why aren't I helping out in the park?" We've had several people from the local communities come and visit us in the last few weeks/months just to ask what they can do to help to conserve the area.

Football field

As I've said many times in the past, all of our volunteers get the chance to visit the cave systems we have here in the park, some of them get even more than one chance and enjoy it more the 2nd time than the 1st! And although I rarely get the chance to go inside and do the tour myself, I have got the various parts of the cave well imprinted on my mind and all the facts that I need to know in English, Spanish and even the odd thing in French and German! However I never thought the formation of the family was so big! I'm guessing it's more the angle and shot that Oscar used to take this photo but I couldn't help but feel really impressed with the way it looked! It's a great photo because it really gives size and impact to the cave system and you can really see the colours in the rocks!

Cave Tour - Robyn, Alex, Tobias

We have also been working on a few finishing touches for the football field, those ex-volunteers among you will remember the regular activities on the football field, taking out weed, planting seeds, setting up the irrigation system and repairing rain damage on certain areas. We are so close to the end of this project now that we have confirmed our first community event there...The 19th of December we are special guests at Manuel Angulos annual Cabalgata - horse show, which this year will include a couple of football games before the horse riding starts (no horses will be allowed on the football field at anytime!).

Naturally Projects Abroad volunteers will be on the special guest list for each event and will be more than welcome to come and join in or just sit on the side and watch. There will always be some work to do on the football field though, it's never going to be truly finished, we have to add fertilizer, new seed, cut the grass and of course keep it irrigated during the dry season otherwise all the hard work of the last 2 years will be wasted and nature will try and retake the field again! I hope to be able to send you some great pictures in a month with hundreds of people around the field enjoying a morning game!

Richard Munday
Conservation Coordinator
Barra Honda National Park
October 2010

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