Forest News & Field Notes: Winter 2013 Edition

Teachers in the forest

Teacher and student with mud faces

Local Students Learn the CER

A $100,000 grant from an anonymous donor has seeded a 5 year education program for local residents and school children in the Children’s Eternal Rainforest. Critical to conservation and wildlife protection efforts, the program will build understanding of why it is important to protect the reserve and prevent the illegal poaching of the animals, orchids and other species.

The program’s new educator, Lady Garita, first brought a group of 15 regional teachers and administrators to the forest to show that the forest is a safe and magical place with myriad educational opportunities. After a classroom presentation, Lady led the group on a hike to see some of the Pocosol area highlights, including the fabulous, bubbling mud pots (a perfect stop for a free facial!)

The local education program will ensure the future well-being of the reserve because many of the children and others who learn about the CER in this way will carry and share that knowledge for the rest of their lives.

Look Outside: Where Did The Hummingbirds Go?

Ruby Throated Hummingbird

In an astonishing feat of endurance and instinct, our beloved Ruby-throated hummingbirds have disappeared from our back yards. The destination for many of them? The Children’s Eternal Rainforest!

Every fall these birds undertake an incredible journey, flying up to 18 hours without stopping in order to cross the Gulf of Mexico, a distance of up to 500 miles. Weighing less than a dime and capable of beating their wings 53 times a second, these amazing birds hatch nests with babies the size of a pea.

How do they know where to go? Not born knowing the migration route, first time Ruby- throat migrants have only a strong instinct to put on weight and fly south to find a winter haven. Once a route is established, the Ruby-throat may use the path in all subsequent migrations for the rest of its life. After gorging on insects and doubling their weight, they return in the spring over a three month period, a spread of time which allows the species to avoid being wiped out by calamitous weather. It’s a journey that would not be possible without the abundant winter food and safe harbor provided by the CER.

Seniors’ Trip to the Forest

On the flanks of Arenal volcano
On the flanks of Arenal Volcano–an adventure for all ages!

Having already travelled all over the world together, a group of seven seniors made the beautiful Children’s Eternal Rainforest the destination for their latest adventure. The group took part in many different activities, including bird-watching, night hikes, and guided tours of the area. Asked what he enjoyed most about the trip, Glenn Hoffmeister said, “the zip line experience was awesome for us old fogies.” Kathy Schneider, another group member, said she most enjoyed “the beauty of the country, the total experience.” If you would like to embark upon your own adventure to the Children’s Eternal Rainforest, go to www.friendsoftherainforest.org/eco-tourism/.

Warmer Planet: Different Animals

Resplendent Quetzal

Pop Quiz: How do you add 4 new species of mammal, 7 new amphibians, 200 new birds and 200 new plants to an open range reserve like the Children’s Eternal Rainforest? The Answer: Climate change.

CER species counts have changed in the last decade due to an influx of species who have expanded their habitat range as warming temperatures enable lowland animals to occupy higher elevations. Unfortunately, those already living in the highest elevations have nowhere higher to go, which can have undesired consequences for some of our most precious species. Take, for example, the Resplendent Quetzal – regarded by some as the most beautiful bird in the world. As the Toucan moves into the Quetzal’s nesting range, it feeds on Quetzal eggs, threatening the regal bird’s ability to reproduce.

Building Toucan-proof nesting boxes helps slow the problem and provide a safer reproductive environment, but animals like the Quetzal will ultimately need to adapt their behavior or risk significant population declines and possible elimination from the region if they are unable to do so.

Kids in Action

Laurie Preston 5th grader Laurie Preston recently gave an incredible gift of $250 to Friends of the Children’s Eternal Rainforest after conducting her own fundraiser on Crowdrise, an online fundraising site for charitable causes. Here’s what Laurie had to say about her experience:

“Do you like chocolate? Well I do, and cocoa beans come from the rainforest – along with hundreds of different animals, plants, and insects. I heard about the rainforest in second grade when we were studying about the rainforest and its animals. I wanted to help because people were destroying the rainforest. The best way I could help was to try to raise money for an organization that was helping save the rainforest. So, I went on the internet and found the website for Friends of the Children’s Eternal Rainforest. I looked on Guidestar to make sure they were a good nonprofit. Then I asked my dad about the best way I could raise money quickly. He told me about the online giving site called Crowdrise. I set my giving page up in about 10 minutes and asked my friends to give to FCER. They did and it made me feel really good. I even met the President of FCER, Mrs. Waller, and she showed me casts of footprints of animals that live in the rainforest.

I’m really glad I helped the rainforest because it’s saving lots of animals that only live in the rainforest. Maybe I’ll visit the rainforest some day!”

Laurie Preston 5th Grade

Support the Children’s Eternal Rainforest

The Children’s Eternal Rainforest is being protected because of the thoughtful and generous support of people like you. Join the effort! You can:

  • Make a donation on our website at www.friendsoftherainforest.org
  • Like our Facebook Page to stay current on forest news and conservation issues
  • Host an informational session or fundraiser
  • Talk to us about ways to involve your kids and friends in fundraising for the forest

Your contribution is tax deductible. We are a 501(c)(3) non- profit organization.

One thought on “Forest News & Field Notes: Winter 2013 Edition

  1. When I was at Monteverde, I was searching for the resplendent quetzal. I spent three days searching, and never found one. Finally, on my last day there, I looked up and saw one fluttering and plucking fruit off of a laurel tree. It did so in mid-flight, and never perched.

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