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Conservation in Costa Rica Monthly Update September-October 2013
Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao) Project
This bird is one of our “flag species" in the park, and having saved a young baby last year, we are ready to start the project again.
We have started observing two macaw nests in a hope to investigate their behaviour and the success of their breeding. Our efforts were made more difficult by natural factors, such as an angry bee nest. However in the first of the two nests we discovered a successful hatching and a young chick. In the second nest the adults appeared not to lay any eggs, but they continued to sleep at the site. Our job now is to monitor the birds and the nests to ascertain as much information on their behaviour as possible.
Finally, we have the permission from the government to start with the bird census and we are going to start this project in November. We aim to survey all the species of birds inside of Barra Honda National Park. We hope to expand our research to surrounding areas and in both cases we are going to spend all the day in the forest, using a recognized methodology for this survey.
Waste Management Project-Ecological Blue Flag Award
This month the staff members and volunteers of Costa Rica Dry Forest Conservation Project became involved in the creation of a new feature for the Barra Honda National Park. We were presented with an Ecological Blue Flag Award. This means that everybody in this National Park will have the opportunity to live eco-friendly and be part of active conservation efforts.
These awards are not handed out lightly and one of the reasons for our recognition has been our ongoing work with “bio-gardens”. We have started to build these bio-gardens, which will be used to clean the gray waste water product of our bio-digester (composter). These bio-gardens are like filters made from rocks, synthetic geo-membranes and Heliconias (banana-like plants). The waste water from the bio-digester is high in nutrients and will be kept in several elongated impermeable pits full of rock where the Heliconia roots, clinging to the rocks, absorb all these nutrients. The result will be clean water!
In the park we created a new recycling system with colour codes. Everybody is now starting to use them and we have three types: blue-recyclable, green-organic and red-non-recyclable. We have bought twelve containers and they are located in all the rooms, buildings, kitchen and touristic areas in the National Park. The recyclable materials are separated by type in the new waste management area; the non-recyclable materials are taken in a municipal landfill. The organic waste is divided between food for the local farmers’ pigs and compost.
Environmental Education Project
Five months ago we started an environmental education project in three local schools, and this month we finish with the project there and will begin again in other locations. The Ecological Blue Flag scheme also rewards educational establishments and our aim is to get as many local schools recognized for their efforts. Such projects can include bio-gardens, recycling, nursery gardens and compost sites.
It is important when performing scientific research and raising environmental awareness in communities that people join together in their efforts and thus I am proud to report that Barra Honda is now part of a large Biological Corridor in the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica.
I look forward to bringing you more news next time...
Conservation Manager, Costa Rica