We started today with volunteer work in the Children’s Eternal Rain Forest or BEN (BOSQUE ETERNO DE LOS NIÑOS). We ventured out at 9 am to orientation where we learned about conservation in Costa Rica , and the issues that locations like the BOSQUE face.
The Children’s Eternal Rain forest is the corner stone of the local economy. The economy brought in by tourism in the area supports not just the BEN but local business as well from bakers , restaurants to shop owners. The rainforest also produces ecosystem services and a variety of pharmaceutical products, like cancer and pain treatment medications .
However like many ecosystems the BEN faces trouble , the Children’s Eternal Rain forest protects against hunting ( illegal in all of costa rica) removal of native plants and animals, logging, cattle and farming , and other impacting infringements.
After our orientation students split into 3 groups accompanied by BOSQUE employees and proceeded to undertake trail maintence. Each group was responsible for debri removal along their trail culminating at an amazing overlook! A just reward for a morning of hard work. Along the way we spotted a Bell Bird and a few morpho butterflies, and enjoyed the climate change and cool breeze. Lunch was provided to us by the more than generous staff at the BOSQUE! Afterwards each student was presented with a certificate for volunteer work.
Beat our amazing guide for the next 4 days graciously offered to take us to the cloud forest after lunch , we boarded a local bus and arrived at Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve were we undertook a 2 hour loop hike!
One group branched off to see a nesting pair of splendid quetzales, while the other headed towards the suspension bridge. Everyone took notice that the vegetation was vastly different compared to the BEN . Many plants in the cloud forest are epiphytes or air plants and are typically found in the canopy, they get their nutrients directly from rain, mist and clouds. A single medium sized tree can support over 70 species of orchids.
Later today we will be going on a night hike inside the BEN!