The Landscape of Monteverde

How does it feel to watch the clouds drift above the rainforest while sipping on a hot cup of tea? Come with me as I show you the beautiful landscape of Monteverde!

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Cloud forest

How are people connected to the environment?

Monteverde is a small Quakers community hidden in the cloud forests of Costa Rica. It is the place where people and nature live in harmony. It is also home to abundant wildlife including the magnificent birds of paradise. People here are warm, welcoming and environmentally conscious. They put in the time to admire nature and the effort to preserve nature. How have you contributed to the environment where you live?

What makes this environment special or different?

Monteverde is a small town surrounded by the beautiful cloud forests of Costa Rica. Resting at an altitude of 1,500 meters above sea level, the cloud forests receive moisture from clouds and are green all year round. There are two seasons: dry and rain. As I was typing this field note, the first rain of the season was pouring down in Monteverde. I ran out and eagerly washed my face with some rainwater. It felt amazingly refreshing. After that I spent a good amount of time watching the rain droplets bouncing off the sidewalk…

Monteverde is a very special place. I am surrounded by nature all the time and greeted by birds singing every morning. The forest is ten meters from my doorstep. I can just walk in and get lost with nature. I love smelling all the greenery and watching the clouds drift above the forest. It is the most amazing feeling in the world.

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What parts of this environment help people to live here?

Monteverde is a combination of forests, mountains, pastures, farms and beautiful people. Some of the houses here resemble fairytale cottages in the middle of the woods. How does it feel to wake up in a forest surrounded by beautiful melodies from the birds of paradise? Yes, Monteverde is the place to be. The air is fresh. The food is great. The people are warm and welcoming. Nature is your backyard. What else can you ask for?

Monteverde is a small community and everyone knows each other. The stores are within walking distance. People walk to get to places. I met six people that I know by just walking to a food store about 20 minutes from where I live. After spending a month here in Monteverde, I feel a strong bond with the community. I feel like I know everyone in town. One of my heroes is a Quakers elder who is 92 years old! I see her almost everywhere I go. She is very sweet and just an incredible individual.

What challenges do people face living in this environment?

The roads in Monteverde are unpaved. So the dust that gets drawn up from the road every time a car passes by can be a respiratory health concern. Every time I walk to Spanish class, I try hard not to breathe in the dust by partially covering my face. Fortunately there are not many cars around the area. With the incoming rain, the road should be less dusty, but muddy and slippery. The rain helps rinse away all the dusty layers on plant leaves, which are thickly covered during the dry season. The rain season restores the water in springs and streams. Yet rain is often accompanied by beautiful lightening shows in the night sky that can potentially result in a power black-out. Hence it is necessary to unplug all electronic devices or appliances during a rain storm.

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Bellbird and the beautiful Quetzal bird

 How have people been adapting to this environment?

Situated on the Tilaran mountain range, Monteverde is one of the biological reserves in Costa Rica. It is home to many beautiful wildlife of Costa Rica, particularly birds of paradise. People here are avid bird watchers and some carry binoculars around all the time. One of my favorite birds is the Three-wattled Bellbird. It is a smaller bird, but its call makes it seem like a much bigger bird. The call sounds like a soothing bell amidst the tropical cloud forest.

Monteverde is a place where people and nature live in harmony. People are environmentally conscious and do their part to preserve and conserve biodiversity. They take advantage of what nature has to offer and value nature with a great deal of respect. I see parents taking kids on forest hikes and teaching them about the forest and its inhabitants. I see a little boy looking through the binoculars and trying to identify the bird in the Costa Rican bird book. I see a little girl sitting quietly and observing a beautiful Morpho butterfly. These positive outlooks will guide the next generation to continue to admire and protect nature. Pura vida!

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