Dear Friends of the Forest,
At a July national symposium called “Healing the Planet: Conservation of the World’s Tropical Forests” I had an inspiring conversation with Dr. Thomas Lovejoy, president of the Heinz Center for Science, Economics, and the Environment, and long time MCLUS board member. He spoke of the vital role that tropical rainforests have in sustaining life on earth. As Dr. Lovejoy said, “You can’t heal the planet without taking care of the tropical rainforests.”
As chief biodiversity advisor to the World Bank, Dr. Lovejoy has a global perspective. He shared how the Children’s Eternal Rainforest (CER) is a key piece of what he described as a larger agenda “to manage our planet” in order to “restore its biology, take CO2 out of the atmosphere, and put natural functions back into the landscape.” When speaking about endangered cloud forests, and the need to restore damaged ecosystems he said, “Having a sanctuary like the Children’s Eternal Rainforest is essential.” You will find two inspiring video interviews with Dr. Lovejoy on our website.
In this summer issue, I hope you enjoy reading more about the July national botanical conference, which honored Dr. Peter Raven, and was attended by Tom Newmark, both MCLUS board members. We’re also delighted to share two rare mammal sightings in the forest, as well as other updates from MCLUS, MCL and the CER. As summer comes to a close, we can keep helping the CER, and thus the planet. The conservation work goes on!
For the Forest,
Monteverde Conservation League U.S.
by Rowan Eisner in Monteverde
When you’re busy maintaining trails or patrolling for poachers in the CER every day you don’t necessarily think to tell anyone when you see an animal. But for those of us who aren’t in the forest every day it is really special and we would like to know! So Wendy Brenes, MCL’s information coordinator, recently asked all the guards and maintenance staff to send in reports of sightings and the reports have started to come in. In the last few months, Alonso Gonzalez, Protection Staff and Forest Guard and his workmates have had a couple of sightings.
You may have read in the May MCLUS blog entry about the Eco Fest. In June, MCL held a three-day event to continue to mark our 25th anniversary, but also marking World Environment day and International Year of the Forests. The ‘Feria Ambiental, Cultural y Deportiva’ or Environmental, Cultural and Sports Fair included presentations, games, sports, plays, workshops and music. The fair kicked off with a ‘clean up Monteverde’ campaign. Armed with sacks, people from the schools, the cheese factory and the reserves started at the Cerro Plano and the Santa Elena schools and cleaned up all the trash they could find, till they met up in the middle with 10 sacks full, four of which were recyclables.
Transformation of the MCL Information Center
by Rowan Eisner in Monteverde
Over the past couple of years, the Monteverde Conservation League Information Center has been undergoing a transformation to encourage people to come to the Children’s Eternal Rainforest (CER). While located on the road to Monteverde and the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, most visitors head to the Reserve to go zip lining but relatively few venture into the CER.
The Info Center’s transformation has been gradual, and has drawn on contributions from many sources, both local and international. Some of the enhancements include a beautiful mural painted by local artist, Bernal Gerardo Rojas, polished wooden floors and products for sale. Books by Rachel Crandell about the CER, Willow Zuchowski’s botanical guides and MCL’s current president Mark Wainwright’s mammal’s guide are featured. There are also local crafts and t-shirts for sale. The question being asked is how to get people to venture inside?
MCLUS Summer Trip to Pocosol field station
by Maggie Eisenberger — Travel and Science Coordinator and MCLUS Board member
The new Pocosol trip itinerary was designed to meet several goals; an alternate itinerary for those who have already visited San Gerardo, a shorter trip for those with less time, a less physically challenging trip (although the challenges are there if you want them!), and the chance to experience more of the CER and its trails from the new lodge on the east side of the preserve. A group of intrepid travelers, ages 13 to 80, were the first MCLUS group to experience the brand new lodge at the Pocosol field station this June.
Something new for 2011 Travelers
In planning the Pocosol field station trip for the first time, we discovered that some travelers still prefer a longer trip, so we offered them an optional extension in the form of a visit to Nicaragua.
Four travelers, along with Maggie Eisenberger and Dr. Julia Matamoros from MCLUS’ board, made the journey by boat, upriver into Lake Nicaragua, to Solentiname, an archipelago of islands in the southern end of the lake. Our beautiful hotel was on Mancarron, the westernmost island of the chain, but we visited the others in our pursuit of the local artists, including world famous Rodolfo Arellano (Google him!). We also crossed to the western shore of the lake to see the Guatuzos Wildlife Refuge. It was certainly hotter than Costa Rica, but worth it for the charming people we met and the experiences we enjoyed.
MCLUS Awareness Reception
In April, MCLUS board member Michael Salsich and his wife, Nancy, hosted a reception in their home for 25 guests. The purpose of the event was to introduce the Children’s Eternal Rainforest and the Monteverde Conservation League to a group of interested individuals and encourage them to consider supporting the CER in the future. Laurie Waller, president of MCLUS, spoke about the organization’s efforts to continue to expand, support, and protect this valuable resource. More such events are being planned for the future and we thank Michael and Nancy for their efforts on MCLUS’ behalf.
MCLUS Board Members at North American Botanical Conference
Dr. Peter Raven’s plenary conference address, titled, “Saving Plants, Saving Ourselves” was given during July 2011’s largest gathering of botanists held in North America. Dr. Raven’s inspiring address stressed the essential fact that without plants, there is no life on earth. He spoke of the increased pressures on our planet’s resources, and the vital need to maintain the biological diversity and richness of earth’s ecosystems. We are hopeful that we can soon share a video of Dr. Raven’s address on MCLUS’ website.
A symposium titled “Conservation of the World’s Tropical Rainforests” was held in honor of Dr. Raven during the five-day conference. At the symposium, Dr. Tom Lovejoy’s presentation titled “A Wild Solution to Climate Change” examined climate change through a biological lens. He shared how biology can help us address a warming planet. He spoke of the need to revise conservation strategies, limit greenhouse gas concentrations, and restore ecosystems. In his closing remarks, Dr. Lovejoy said, “As we honor Peter, who is so good at big ideas, we are learning that nature bats last, so let’s join her team.”
Both Dr. Peter Raven (President Emeritus of Missouri Botanical Garden) and Dr. Tom Lovejoy (President of the Heinz Center) have been board members since 2002, and Tom Newmark (Vice Chairman of New Chapter) has been a member since 2007. Their loyal support and global perspective continues to be invaluable.
COME TRAVEL WITH US IN 2012
New Eco-Trip Tour Itineraries Coming Soon!
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!