Oct 23. 2014

Outline:

  • Observed and Recorded data at the Monteverde Centro (7:30-11:30am)
  • Handed out 3/4s of surveys
  • Discovered Stella’s bakery was part of ProNativas’ initiative
  • Borrowed past site plans and readings from the Monteverde Institute
Loving the architecture of the tree

Though it rained the night before and despite the intermittent bouts of fog and cloudiness, the sun came out and I managed to collect good data. I had to divide my time observing the garden in two parts as I could not see all the plants at once. From what I have observed already, the hummingbirds and butterflies congregate the most in the following plants:Asclepias curassavica, Stachyarpheta frantzii, Hamelia patens and sometimes the Ageratum santalucía and Justicia aurea.

AscelpiasMCentro
Asclepias curassavica
StachyMCentro
Stachyarpheta frantzii
HameliaMCentro
Hamela patens
AgertumMCentro
Ageratum spp.
Justicia
Justicia aurea

Below is my scrawled data collection sheet:

Day2Data

The following are my qualitative observations regarding the garden:
– The garden was slightly hard to find as it was located in a discreet corner next to Whole Foods and the Co-op.
– The foliage was also beautiful to look up, which I forgot is just as ornamental as the flora!
– A hummingbird comes out about once every 10 minutes to feed in this particular garden.
– Very tranquil and the birds chirping was nice to hear; a great place to contemplate and read.
– There was a nice chair to sit and observe the garden. It was also shaded by a vine.
– There was a table but because it was under a fruit-bearing tree, it was strewed with fruits, making it uninviting to sit.
– Great aromatic smell.

StellaBakeryCheesecake

I went to eat wonderful passion fruit cheesecake at the bakery of my host mom’s sister and serendipitously discovered that the garden there was implemented by ProNativas! I knew that, considering all the plants were native and there was a stand with fermented fruit dedicated to the feeding of Morphos. I decided I will come back and interview my host aunt on how they decided to cultivate a native plant garden (plus the Mora milkshake is wonderful!).

StellaBakeryMilkshake

I brainstormed and thought about the factors that people care about when getting plants for their gardens:
– Growth patterns
– Flowering (ex. year around?)
– Fruiting
– Maintenance
– Inside/outside/potted
– Woody stems/trees
– Native versus non-native relative to costs
– What it attracts
– Colors
– Culinary/medicinal uses
– Sunny/Shady

I’ve also noted that in whatever design I decide to execute, communication is key so one thing to keep in mind is the need for descriptions/instructions to be both in Spanish and English.

At the Monteverde Institute, I began reviewing past site plans and documents compiled by Sustainable Futures, a program that leads a group of students in addressing the needs of the communities in Monteverde through urban planning.

MInstituteDocuments

Oct 24. 2014

Day 2.5

Outline:

  • Observed garden at the Biological Station
  • Meeting with advisor(s)
    o Tweaked surveys regarding business owners
    o Incorporating birds calls as part of data collection
    o Discussion on which gardens are viable for observation
BioStationGarden

The garden at the Biological Station was also initiated by ProNativas. I had a practical that day so I didn’t have the opportunity to collect. It was highly ironic, though, considering how nice the weather was and that in the 5 minutes I was at the garden, I observed 6 butterflies without actively looking for them! This garden is also Willow’s favourite because of the rich diversity of native plants it habours; in fact, it’s the ideal garden for biological students to study ecology. However, she tells me not to use it as a model for local gardens as the garden at the Biological station is large with both sunny and shady areas not typical of a homeowner/business owner’s garden and located at a higher elevation, which means that certain ornamental plants that grow there may not be ideal for the lower, drier elevations (i.e. perfect for sun-loving plants) in Santa Elena. In any case, my advisors and I agreed that the garden here at the Biological Station is still fair game for observation and collecting data as my aim is to find out among a wide range of native plants, which ones attract the most animal visitations.

I have given out some surveys to business owners and noticed that rating their satisfaction with the businesses they run is sometimes invalid. Most of the time, they are running something family-owned and hence consider their work a familial obligation rather than something they choose to run themselves and be satisfied with. As a result, my advisor and I tweaked that particular question in the survey, asking instead their satisfaction with the development of Santa Elena. Their answers may indicate how the economical development of Santa Elena has affected their businesses.

Furthermore, we discussed which gardens are viable for observation. Below, I circled the gardens I will observe and collect data from:

Map of ProNativas1

What’s next:

  • Collect more data from the Monteverde Centro
  • Review documents borrowed from the Monteverde Institute
  • Hand out surveys