Let us introduce you to the wonderful people who have so generously contributed
their time and skills to Ceiba, and read their testimonials. Our projects would
not be possible without their help. We extend our deepest appreciation to all
our interns and volunteers and hope that you, too, will consider contributing your
time and personal skills to tropical conservation!
El Pahuma Orchid Reserve Volunteers
El Pahuma and Conservation Program Volunteer
Sept. - Oct., 2004
New Hampshire, USA
Jean put her orchid-growing experience to work, spending ten days at El Pahuma
providing training to the reserve staff on orchid care. She also spent a week traveling
around Ecuador, including a visit to the Guayaquil Botanical Garden and sites near
Loja to do reconnaissance work for Ceiba's education program.
The Robayo-White Family
Trail construction and maintenance volunteers
July 26 - August 4, 2004
The Robayo-White family teamed up together to construct the new Shunguyacu trail
at the El Pahuma Orchid Reserve. Kenny's prior trail building experience in the U.S.
Park Service was a great asset in building the difficult trail that switchbacks up
a steep slope and provides visitors access to previously inaccessible 50 m (150 ft.)
high Shunguyacu waterfall.
"We had a wonderful, rewarding and productive time at the reserve. We ended up
accelerating some of our other plans so we could return for an additional three days
at the end of our stay in Ecuador." - Kenny White
Botanical Garden and Nature Center volunteer
Jul. - Aug., 2004
Jeffrey spent a month at El Pahuma helping maintain the botanical garden and nature
center and guiding visitors.
Botanical Garden and Nature Center volunteer
November 1, 2003 - April 1, 2004
British Columbia, Canada
Brian spent 4 months at the El Pahuma Orchid Reserve assisting with the daily operation
of the reserve and helping with maintenance of the garden and nature center.
Botanical Garden volunteer, Aug. - Sept. 2003
North Carolina, USA
Caroline provided valuable assistance in the orchid botanical garden, identifying
orchids and helping to recuperate areas that were damaged during a rainy season flood.
She is currently working as an intern for Ceiba to help create a book on the orchids
of El Pahuma and the surrounding region (see below)
Botanical Garden volunteer, Feb. - Apr. 2003
"I really enjoyed volunteering at the El Pahuma Orchid Reserve. I loved the
facilities, the food, and especially the amazing forest." - Stephanie Baumann
Summer 2002 Volunteers
from left to right: Molly Meyer (Indiana, USA), Greg Hunt (Kentucky, USA),
Robin Ruether (Pennsylvania, USA) and Cory Johnson (Montana, USA). These volunteers
were responsible for maintaining the botanical garden and trail system during the
summer of 2002. Robin Ruether went on to create educational materials for the botanical
garden after her volunteership finished.
"... Looking back at the entire experience takes me back to the amazing cloud
forest. My time spent at El Pahuma was very rewarding. Mi español es mucho
mejor, I have a newfound knowledge of tropical plants and animals, and have a great
feeling that I took away from living in such a peaceful place. The Lima family was
very helpful and entertaining; the daily interaction with Rene, Maritza, Efrain, Paulina,
Oscar, and Carlos was an integral part of the experience. I came home with a great
love of the primary forest along with the genuinely friendly people of Ecuador."
-- Greg Hunt
Environmental Education Volunteer & Volunteer Coordinator
January - May 2001 & May 2002 - June 2004
New York, U.S.A.
During Catherine Schloegel's 5 months in Ecuador, she developed an environmental
education program for the El Pahuma Orchid Reserve. The program includes sets of curricula
for children of various ages on a variety of environmental topics such as water quality
and forest ecology. Catherine established contacts between Ceiba and local schools
in Ecuador and arranged visits by teachers and students to the reserve. She also wrote
informational pamphlets on montane forests and Spectacled Bears which are distributed
for free to visitors.
Botanical Garden Supervisor/Trainer Intern
January - April 2001
Mordechai ("Moti") Bodner applied his prior experience growing orchids
and working in botanical garden displays in California to the creation of the orchid
botanical garden at El Pahuma. Moti planted numerous specimens in the garden,
from the trees and shrubs that form the backdrop of the garden to the displays orchids
and bromeliads. Moti also oversaw the creation of El Pahuma's award-winning
exhibits during the Quito Orchid Society annual orchid show "Orchids Unlimited",
held February 21 -24, 2001.
El Pahuma Botanical Garden Volunteer
March - April 2001
Bryson worked for two months at El Pahuma assisting with trail and botanical garden
maintenance. He also assisted Moti Bodner (above) on deeper forays into the reserve
to document the orchids found there. Bryson noted recent evidence of the Spectacled
"El Pahuma is an incredible place; I explored each of the reserve's several
different waterfalls in my own time and was amazed by their rugged beauty. I
feel that what is being done at El Pahuma is a truly great thing; the focus really
is conservation." -- Bryson Slothower.
Orchid Inventory/Cataloguing Volunteer, August 2000
Ashley began volunteering for Ceiba in late 2000 to help organize, edit and compile
the database of orchids of El Pahuma, using the images and notes compiled by Philip
Myers , another Ceiba intern. She worked from her home in Idaho to edit data
entries and create a layout for the soon-to-be-published field guide to the Orchids
of El Pahuma. Later, she came to Ecuador to visit the reserve personally, an
experience which she enjoyed immensely. Ashley works as an environmental educator
at the Palouse Clearwater Environmental Institute.
Mapping and Botanical Inventory Volunteer
June - July 2000
Jessica Metcalf volunteered her time to map the trails and help with the installation
of the Orchid Botanical Garden at the El Pahuma Orchid Reserve. Using a measuring
wheel, GPS, compass and topo map, Jessica determined the length of each trail and
created a trail map for distribution to visitors. She also worked with members
of the National Herbarium to identify and label plants within the botanical garden
in preparation for the fabrication of permanent tags. In her spare time, Jessica
provided assistance during preparations for the 2000 Tropical Ecology field course
in which she was later a participant.
Orchid Inventory Intern
Oct. 1999 - Feb. 2000
North Carolina, USA
Philip next to a Trichopilia fragans orchid in the
El Pahuma reserve.
Philip Myers was an intern with Ceiba for 4 months. He helped document the orchids
of El Pahuma during the botanical inventory of the El Pahuma Orchid Reserve conducted
by the National Herbarium of Ecuador. Philip also had the rare opportunity to view
and photograph the Spectacled Bear during his stay at the reserve.
See the El Pahuma Orchid List that was compiled
during his internship.
Dr. Sheena McKendrick, Ph.D.
Orchid Propagation Intern
February 2000 - May 2000
Dr. McKendrick (left) with Dr. Nelson Zabala (center) and Rene Lima
(right) at the El Pahuma Orchid Reserve.
Dr. McKendrick began her Ceiba internship in Ecuador in February 2000 to initiate
an orchid propagation project in collaboration with a local university. She is from Sheffield, UK and obtained a Ph.D.
in 1994 on the ecology and ecophysiology of British orchids. She has conducted
research on orchid mycorrhizae, orchid pollination biology, symbiotic and asymbiotic
seed propagation, both in-vitro and in-situ, which has resulted in numerous scientific
publications. During her internship, Sheena collected seed capsules from native
orchid species at El Pahuma and germinated them in-vitro in a propagation lab. She also conducted propagation trials on several species, trained a student on in-vitro propagation techniques and wrote a Manual
on Orchid Propagation. In 2001, the orchid propagation project was indefinitely
suspended due to lack of funding support.
Orchid Propagation Technician, February 2000 - August 2000
Dominique Ortiz began working with Ceiba's orchid propagation project in February
2000, when still an undergraduate student, as a trainee
under Dr. McKendrick (see above). She conducted her thesis research comparing
in-vitro germination rates of select species of orchids using different propagation
media and has since graduated with a degree in biotechnology.
Dave Lauten and
Avian Inventory Volunteers, March - April 2000
Dave Lauten and Kathy Castelein spent one month in Ecuador surveying the birds
of the El Pahuma Orchid Reserve. During their short stay, they birded primarily
along the reserve's trail system that traverses a rather broad elevational range with
several different vegetation types, including montane forest, cloud forest, bamboo
thicket, secondary forest and riparian habitats. They documented more than 120
species in and around the reserve, including six IUCN red-listed species. See
Dave and Kathy's El Pahuma Bird Report and Species
Conservation Programs Volunteers
Orchid Cataloguing Intern, Aug. 2004 - June 2005
North Carolina, USA
Caroline is helping Ceiba compile photographs and data on the orchids of El Pahuma
and other reserves in the region into a field guide. She will also contribute text
and help to edit the finish product.
Conservation Programs Intern, Apr. - Jun. 2004
After spending two weeks as a Ceiba volunteer scanning slides of orchids into Ceiba's
database, Benjamin stayed on as a Ceiba intern to provide general assistance with our
conservation programs. He assisted in research, proposal writing and fundraising activities.
Meet our Researchers!
Please meet some of the scientists who have conducted research projects at Ceiba
reserves. They have contributed immensely to our species inventories, above
and beyond the results of their research, which they make available to the landowners
as well as visitors to the sites. We are grateful to have enjoyed the presence
of these researchers at our reserves.
Dr. Paul Hamilton, Arizona State University
Topic: Herpetological diversity in Ecuador
Dates: July - August 2005 Paul continued his fifth year of work documenting the diversity
of frogs, lizards, snakes and turtles at the Lalo Loor Dry Forest reserve and other
sites in Ecuador. You can see some photos of the exciting creatures he found at BSLL
at left by P. Hamilton)
C. Clark, Ph.D. student, George Washington University, Washington D.C.
Research Topic: Evolutionary relationships among the Gesneriaceae and their
Dates: April - May 2003
John found 3 new species of Gesneriaceae in the El Pahuma Orchid Reserve!
At left, Capanea affinis is pollinated by a White-Whiskered Hermit hummingbird.
Nathan Muchhala, University of Miami
Research topic: Specialization in plant-pollinator mutualisms: Bats, birds,
and Burmeistera (Campanulaceae)
Dates: July 2003
Location: El Pahuma Orchid Reserve
Morley Read, Ph.D., Fundación Omere Wiki, Ecuador
Research Topic: A preliminary inventory of herpetofauna at the El Pahuma Orchid
Dates: June 2002
of the frogs encountered by Dr. Read at the El Pahuma Orchid Reserve, Centrolene
grandisonae, a Hylid tree frog. Click the links below to see photos of some
other species he found:
Nilsmagnus Skold, Rooseum Center for Contemporary Art, Malmö,
Research Topic: The use of the Aeroponic Field Laboratory for the conservation
of wild orchids.