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Conservation in Costa Rica - Monthly Update November 2009
As the New Year approaches we are beginning preparations for an even better year than the one that is just passing. During November we focused a lot moving the butterfly project further forward getting ready for an even larger project next year.
This year's project was not only a test of materials and abilities, to test if a full scale project is worthwhile and also to create a good base of data here in the park. So far in the last 6 months we have collected and identified 35 different species of butterfly with another 15 waiting identification. We have also photographed all of the species we have, classified and organized them in the display cases, completed a digital database of these species and almost finished a Barra Honda field guide too.
This progress will help us greatly in January when we will be starting a new phase in this project, which will be a full census of butterfly species, which includes a full count of species, quantity of each species, distribution, season and weather data. As you can see from these pictures we have already captured some amazing specimens and each time we are out walking we see new species. Next year will be even more exciting for this particular project.
We have also been working more on the park's recreation area, throughout the year we have been clearing it, fumigating it, digging drainage ditches, planting new seed, cutting the grass again and of course clearing around the edge of the area and finally we have made some serious progress. As you can see from these photos although the grass is still looking a little rough in places and it's a little long again (Although we only cut it a few days ago) it looks a million times better than it did at the end of 2008! We are already planning an irrigation system for the field to keep the grass alive during the coming dry season and to ensure that we can continue with the maintenance of this area.
Another of our projects for this year was to map all of the trails in the park with the GPS and use this data to create a full map of the area with important points and of course all of data we collect from our camera, butterfly and bat projects. Most of the trails in the park were mapped quickly and easily as they are not far from the main camp area but one trail escaped us for a long time. Indio is the continuation of the trail that leads from the waterfall to the far side of the park, around 12km in total. It is a hilly walk with plenty of ups and downs and hence isn't a walk for faint hearted, however, as always the volunteers didn't disappoint us and did this walk with us with ease! We were very lucky during this trip as we were not only able to see the waterfalls with water for the first time this year, but also many groups of Howler monkey, White faced capuchin, a white tailed deer, a coral snake and many central American agoutis as well! All in all a very exciting, productive but tiring walk!
One of the projects that is taking a long time to complete due to material shortages is the new area for our recycling project. Barra Honda is proud to say that it is one only a few parks and even fewer areas in Guanacaste that has a full recycling project. All of our rubbish is separated out into different bins located in a new structure, built by volunteers, specifically for our recycling bins. It has only been recently that we have been able to dispose of this rubbish at a suitable location but after months of searching the administration found a solution. We are now working with a group of single mothers who collect recyclable materials and then sort them for distribution to the correct recycling centers. Obviously with so many people living in the park and so many people visiting as well we are very confident that we will be able to take a truck load of material each month which although not a huge amount in the long scheme of things is a solid step in Costa Rica and will hopefully begin to influence people in the area to join our program and help us recycle everything that we can!
Barra Honda National Park