Meet Joe Middleton, Reserves Manager for Avon Wildlife Trust who has just spent 2 months volunteering in the CER. Joe manages 35 nature reserves in South-west England, and thanks to Joe, we now have accurate trail maps to all the field stations in the CER.
Luis Solano (Maintenance and Operations Coordinator) helped Joe brush up his GPS and GIS skills and he was off, GPS in hand to record the route of every trail, checking distance, elevation and assessing the difficulty. The new maps are easier to read, accessible for people of all ages and abilities, and more informative about the work of the MCL and the specific wildlife interest and geography of each station. While on the trails Joe also recorded and surveyed all the birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians he saw. All this wildlife data is now entered into a database that all future volunteers can add to so as to help monitor and check species records in each station.
Whichever field station he was at, Joe helped with whatever needed doing. He re-painted signs and helped rebuild a lookout at Bajo del Tigre, inspected illegal logging with Hernan Chacon (Protection and Monitoring Officer) and Marcelino Rodriguez (Finca Steller Officer) and rescued injured animals such as iguanas that were reported to the MCL offices. Joe had these parting words about his experience:
“The work of the MCL in managing the Children’s Eternal Rainforest is extremely valuable for protecting and educating people about this sensitive and extremely bio-diverse part of the world… MCL is extremely well placed to use the resources they already have, with the help and skills of both staff and volunteers, to reach thousands of current and future visitors and supporters for many years to come. The MCL has the potential to be one of the most forward thinking environmental organizations in Costa Rica. Maintaining ecotourism and conservation whilst being sustainable will always be a fine balancing act, and that future will always lie in environmental education of both children and adults.”