From 4th to 20th of December we hosted two groups of students from the University of Sussex in our reserve. It was a blast.
Everything that could go wrong, went wrong. During the first group one of the students tested positive on COVID, so he was upgraded from a dorm to a private cabin. That's how you do that. :)
Both our generators failed to work during those 2,5 weeks, but on the positive side - the new solar panels and the batteries are doing great work and replaced the generators to a degree that we almost didn't need them anymore!
Also, the weather station went online during these days - if you're interested in seeing what the weather is currently at the Santa Lucía lodge:
The student groups followed their regular program. The first days they received an introduction into cloud forest ecology with focus on plants, insects and mammals.
The first group was led by Fiona Mathews (profesor of Environmental Biology) and since her passion are bats, the focus was on nocturnal work and some of the projects that the students executed were quite novel in Santa Lucía.
The second groups was led by Mika Peck and Maria Clara Castellanos (Lecturer in Evolution, Behavior and Environment) and it focussed strongly on seed dispersal and pollination.
This led to a lot of very interesting student projects and although we've seen the intermediate presentations we can't wait to read the final reports.
A very important result of those projects and many discussions between our visitors and Santa Lucía staff is that we will start running a pilote for the monitoring of seed dispersal in various habitats within the Santa Lucía reserve. The seed traps are already set up, so what remains is collecting and identifying the seeds regularly.
So, thank you for your visit and all the inspiring discussions and projects! We hope to see you all soon again here at Santa Lucía!