July 19, 2012

Birding in Costa Rica

Did you know that Costa Rica is home to some of the most diverse wildlife in the world, including hundreds of species of birds? In fact, Costa Rica is often referred to as the “birder’s paradise.” Here in Vara Blanca and surrounding areas, we are surrounded by dozens of different bird species. Some of our most common residents are rufous-collared sparrows and clay-colored robins. However, this area is also home to some more extravagant birds, including the black guan and resplendent quetzal.

Some of the best birding areas include the Restaurante Tiquicia in Vara Blanca and the ADE Center in San Rafael. Arrive early in the morning at either location and watch flocks of parrots and parakeets fly by on their daily migrations. Another great option for birding is the ADE farm, where quetzals can be spotted at the edge of the forest during their April-May breeding season. Come at dusk to watch these dazzling birds as they make their way back to their nests. While at the ADE farm at any time of day, you may also see members of a resident flock of blue and white swallows flying around. Watch as they swoop and sally for insects, showcasing their incredible maneuverability and teamwork.

At ADE we believe in the inherent value of nature. Therefore, we do what we can to be good stewards of and to showcase the environment in which we live. Many people come from all over the world to see some of Costa Rica’s finest birds. Visit ADE and come see for yourself.

July 6, 2012

Robbie Brown: ADE Intern

¡Hola! My name is Robbie Brown and I am a student at Covenant College. I am about to start my senior year as a Community Development (Com Dev) major, and this summer I have the privilege of serving as an intern with ADE. At Covenant every Com Dev major must complete a research internship between their Junior and Senior years. As I was preparing for my internship last year I mentioned to my advisor that I had recently become interested in agriculture and its integral place in the life of a community. In the Com Dev department at Covenant we emphasize the importance of holistic development, and to me agriculture is one of the fundamental building blocks of life in society. Without farms we don’t have food, and life without food is…well, you get the point.

You may be confused as to how I got connected with ADE when I was interested in agriculture. Yes, their main focus is education, but ADE sees agriculture as central to communities, especially communities in rural Costa Rica, and education must be holistic as well, and therefore include agriculture.

My primary goal here this summer is to help get the blackberry co-op off the ground. So far I have been working on the farm planting blackberries, constructing a pigpen made out of dirt (it’s pretty cool), and setting up a biodigester. Furthermore, I hope to begin researching for the blackberry co-op in the next week. I hope to interact with the eight members of the co-op to find out how their blackberries are coming along, and what we can be doing to move the co-op forward together.

As I am about half way through my time here this summer, I can already say that it has been an incredible opportunity. I have gotten to see and experience Costa Rica in a very unique manner, I have gotten my hands dirty and done good ol’ fashioned farm work, and I have learned so much about doing Com Dev work in the field. It has been a blessing to work alongside the members of ADE and to see the things I’ve spent the last three years learning about being put into action.