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Rainforests of the World 

October 3, 2012

Welcome Back to the Rainforest Blog – We have kept busy!

Electricians install new light fixtures from Skyrider

Welcome back to the Rainforest Blog.  We have taken a break from blogging while the Rainforest team has refreshed, reoriented and restructured itself.  As we return to the blog I thought I would share some of what we has kept us busy.  3 times a year the Rainforest exhibit closes for 2-3 days to allow us to ‘refresh’ the exhibit and take care of projects we can’t accomplish during the morning hours before the exhibit opens.  In mid-September the Rainforest closed for two days and  brought together the Rainforest Biologists along with Electricians, Engineeres, Operations staff, Exhibits staff and Custodial staff to work on a dizzying array of projects and maintenance.  Here are some of the projects we got done in just two short days:

New Perching for the Blue and Gold Macaws:

New perching for Macaws

Our two Blue and Gold Macaws got some new perching to keep them safely on the tree and give them some built in chew toys.

Refreshing Mist for Poison Darts:

New misting Poison Dart frogs 

Biologist Eric is extra pleased that Engineers were able to install a new misting system on the Poison Dart Frog exhibit.  The mist will keep humidity up which is critical for the frogs’ health and keeps the frogs visible and active during the day.

Busy Electricians:

Electricians were busy adding understory lighting to the second level of the Rainforest and installing  a mock up of a new design for overhead lighting. 

Electricians added new understory lighting

Lighting mock up

The new lighting when activated could dramatically reduce energy costs and improve light levels over the large trees to improve health.

Sky Riding

To access overhead lights, Electrician Ross used the Sky Rider – a two person cart that runs on a track at the top of the Bolla.

Refresh of a Costa Rica Planted Wall:

One of the Costa Rica planted walls was completely overhauled.  This in itself was a two day process requiring the support of several volunteers.

Planted wall before refresh

Above is a ‘before’ picture of the wall.

Removing old moss

First all the old plants and moss were removed.  Volunteer Celia separated old moss from living moss so living moss could be returned to the wall.

Clean slate

Here is a completely clean slate for the new wall.

Styrofoam Peanut Sausages

Next we installed recycled styrofoam peanuts wrapped in shade cloth into the wall to provide drainage.  Styrofoam peanuts will not break down as the moss does, will provide aeration and drainage and reduce the need for moss which is a nonrenewable resource.

Work in progress

Next new moss was packed into the wall as volunteer Lois demonstrates here.

Fresh new wall

Finally the new wall was planted with a variety of orchids, ferns and bromeliads representing a small piece of the vast diversity of epiphytes living in the canopy of the Costa Rican rainforest.

Painting and Deep Cleaning

Meanwhile… the Operations crew was busy touching up railing paint,

Repainting railings

cleaning exhibits,

cleaning exhibits

deep cleaning the gallery

More Deep Cleaning

and performing regular maintenance on the elevators.

Elevator Maintenance

All and all it was a busy couple of days.  I hope you all enjoy the results!

Thanks Eric Hupperts and Laurie Kormos for all photos in this blog posting.

Filed under: Herpetiles,Plants,Reptiles — Paphiopedilum @ 6:14 pm

May 10, 2010


On any given visit, you may find eggs in the exhibit laid by our Kuhl’s Flying Geckoes (Ptychozoon kuhli.) In the past they never hatched so the assumption was that they were either infertile or, more likely, the conditions in the exhibit were not right for incubation…
Until one day we found a baby in there. He is being raised behind the scenes and when he gets big enough he will make his debut to the public. Until then, here are some pictures.
baby flying gecko 2

Photo by: Rachael Tom

baby flying gecko 4

Photo by: Rachael Tom

baby flying gecko 1

Photo by: Rachael Tom

baby flying gecko 3

Photo by: Rachael Tom

In the pictures above you can see many of the adaptations flying geckoes have that help them survive. They are very well camouflaged and like other geckoes, have intricate toe pads that help them stick to most any surface. In addition, they have skin flaps on the sides of their bodies, webbed digits, and a flattened tail- all of which help them to glide through the air.

Filed under: Reptiles — vultures are friendly @ 12:24 pm

The Rainforest Team


Academy biologists share the inside scoop on the Academy's 'Rainforest of the World' exhibit.

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