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:
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:
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.
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.
The new lighting when activated could dramatically reduce energy costs and improve light levels over the large trees to improve health.
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.
Above is a ‘before’ picture of the wall.
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.
Here is a completely clean slate for the new wall.
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.
Next new moss was packed into the wall as volunteer Lois demonstrates here.
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,
deep cleaning the gallery
and performing regular maintenance on the elevators.
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.