This week a group of students of the School for International Training (S.I.T.) visisted Santa Lucía. As part of the "Comparative Ecology and Conservation Program" they stayed in the reserve from Monday to Friday.
The start was a little "bumpy" (literally), because of difficult road conditions they didn't arrive at 3pm, but around 10.30pm which made for a very late dinner.
On Tuesday they could finally start their research working on the collection and identification of macroinvertebrates in the river on the lower end of Santa Lucía. In parallel the students got an introduction into the different insect orders and their characteristics.
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday mornings were dedicated to bird observations. The group got very lucky as we currently have plenty of attractive bird species (Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan, Golden-headed Quetzal, etc.) practically living just outside of the lodge, because of a fruiting tree in the Meliaceae family.
The students also did research on the soil conditions and finally Xavier Silva (their main teacher) gave them a thourough introduction into the Lepidopera order. Wednesday night we setup the light trap in order to get a good look at moths. This is a good way to explore a lot of different species and talk about the ecological role of the different families.
It's not necessary to point out that it was raining all the time, so the students got to understand what makes a rain forest a rain forest. :)
We thank the S.I.T. program for their visit to Santa Lucía and hope the students enjoy the rest of their time in South America!