Friday, 30 January 2015

Days are flying by, each day, new discoveries. Too many to tell at once! I’ll just have to keep writing about Costa Rica long after I return, like I did last year. 

Yesterday we hiked up to Cloudbridge. I had met Linda Moskalyk at several social events. She is an arborist and artist, and her husband Tom manages Cloudbridge. Together, they own a home and lovely art gallery up there too. She made us tea after the long steep climb up, and was patient as I plied her with questions about Cloudbridge, and culture in general within Costa Rica. 

Basically Cloudbridge is a reserve that used to be pasture land. A lot of work has gone into re-foresting the 700 acre reserve on Chirripo Mountain, the highest mountain in Costa Rica, and the 2nd highest Mountain in all of central America. 

For the reforestation, some of it has been planted, some is natural regeneration, and some is old growth forest.  There is a mix of pioneer (fast growing trees that die and act as mulch for longer lasting trees) and climax species (trees that take longer to grow and eventually become the canopy of the forest).  They plant both.  All trees are native and they are grown in a tree nursery from seeds they collect in the old growth forest.

Linda helps Tom with all of the projects, as her experience as an arborist back in Canada (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan!) comes in handy, especially with the reforestation efforts.  They also use the studio as an information centre for the tourists.  That is why they opened it to the public.  It’s not often they see all of the people out hiking on our trails.  When they stop in at the studio they can give them information about the importance of forests, our conservation projects,and our education programs here.   Many talks are available about everything from wildlife to climate change.

Linda's art is also about conservation and when she has an exhibition she use the opportunity to establish ideals for a healthy environment through art.

To me, this piece of Linda's work really says it all about the whole region. Many trees and forest, but the tinted atmosphere due to clouds moving in at a distance is something we all observe every day and is very beautiful. Linda works in acrylic and uses collage and other manner of handprinted paper and other materials in her collage work. Her gallery is really lovely and worth the climb. Yes, it’s a climb!! 

Tom is the manager and administrator of the reserve.To learn more about Cloudbridge, you can visit their website, . There you can find out the extent of what they do, and if you're really interested, you can donate money, learn about how to volunteer, and there are a couple of good videos that give great background to what Cloudbridge is all about. Here’s the link: Watch ìCloudbridgeî by Garrett and Garrett Videography:

There are many hiking trails, a labyrinth, and many waterfalls right on the reserve that are really amazing too:

OK, OK, back to ART! Yes, I am painting. Many distractions here too. This painting is a flower that you see all over Costa Rica. A long and large Lily like structure, with either pink, yellow or white ends. The length of them is maybe, 12”? And who knows, maybe they come in other colours as well. I think their shape is elegant, and I like the tiny bit of pure colour showing through at the ends. These flowers were in my garden. It’s not done, but I just wanted to show you that I am working too! And there’s one last photo, and a very special experience I had yesterday,...

OK, here it is. The elusive Blue Morph butterfly. Martine Racette! You owe me a beer! For those of you who don’t know, Martine is my business partner, for all things Costa Rica. She has a running challenge to all, if you can photograph the Blue Morph, she’ll buy you a beer. They flutter very fast, and hardy ever stop and spread their wings, so Martine is pretty safe, as we have all been trying to get this one, every year I’ve been here. She’s a beauty!! Looking forward to my beer!

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