Dr. Gary Grady, Psychology Instructor, and student Amber Stamps spent part of their December break in Costa Rica working at the Maderas Rainforest Conservancy. They joined faculty members and students from Murray State College and flew from Dallas to San Juan, Costa Rica, where they were met by the Conservancys director, Renee Molina. From San Juan, they had a three-hour bus ride to La Suerte Biological Field Station in the rainforest where they spent the week working, a news release states.
The rainforest covers 1,000 acres owned by the Conservancy at the Field Station. It was established to promote the conservation, protection, and management of Mesoamerican forests and animal and plant biodiversity through education, reforestation, and preservation. The station is used to house students from around the world who travel there to study rainforest ecology, biodiversity, primatology, and other related subjects.
Grady and Stamps first traveled to the Field Station in March of last year as part of Connors State Colleges class on Rainforest Ecology.
They returned because the Conservancy relies on volunteers to help maintain access to the rainforest. It has an extensive system of trails that allow students to enter the deepest parts and study the thousands of plant and insect species there, as well as over 260 species of birds and three species of monkeys.
The rainy season and other harsh weather cause the trails to deteriorate at a rapid rate and must be regularly cleared, and the trail markers have to be replaced. The markers allow students to know where they are in the rainforest. It is so dense that without them one becomes disoriented easily. The team in January replaced over 450 trail markers. A recent hurricane had also felled numerous trees that had to be removed because they blocked trails.