Sunday, May 13, 2012

Estacion Biologica Laguna de Apoyo

When people ask us what we do at Estacion Biologica Laguna de Apoyo, we often do not know where to start our response. We receive visitors from near and far. We grow trees and reforest natural areas. We offer simple, wholesome meals and lodging for those who come. We provide opportunities for volunteering in environmental and social causes. We collaborate with governmental instutions, businesses and nonprofits, and people individually and in groups to improve lives of all of us, support sustainable businesses and protect the Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve and the wild nature found in it. 

Laguna de Apoyo
Visitors to Laguna de Apoyo must make a trip to Catarina to see the lake from the "mirador". Photo by Sandra Wallace.
We also train. We train people to work with wildlife, to identify birds, fish, and other animals, and plants. We perform research on the environment in our area and on the wild nature found here. We involve Nicaraguan and foreign interested people in our research. We plant trees and we work with the landowners and government agencies to resolve the issues that made the trees disappear in the first place.
Laguna de Apoyo Nicaragua
The biological research station "Estacion Biologica Laguna de Apoyo" is set among nature , and even the howler monkeys frequent our garden. Photo by Christine Bruxer.
We also provide opportunities for tourists to enjoy the natural beauty of Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve. We take visitors birdwatching and scuba diving. We maintain a beach front at Laguna de Apoyo for all to use, free of charge.
Lake Apoyo
The "guardabarranco" is known in English as the Turquoise-browed Motmot (Eumomota superciliosa). Thanks to high, vertical banks along the road cut behind Estacion Biologica Laguna de Apoyo, this bird is abundant in our garden. Photo by Christine Bruxer. 
We teach ourselves and others on a variety of topics, including nature, the environment, rural development, and even Spanish language and culture in Nicaragua-because, after all, any volunteer, student or professional must communicate well to work with the people!
Laguna de Apoyo Nicaragua
Accomodations at Estacion Biologica are rustic and simple. Photo by Christine Bruxer.
Our accomodations in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve are simple. We have fans, internet service, and electricity, but no air conditioning. We provide a great setting for someone who wishes to be near nature. We severely minimize the use of toxic chemicals such as pesticides and poisons. We try to integrate our presence into the environment with a little negative impact as possible, and we have seen the results-monkeys, woolly opossums, squirrels and warblers are often within several feet of us on our patio.
recycling Nicaragua
Volunteers recycled plastic bottles discarded along the beach into lightshades in Estacion Biologica Laguna de Apoyo. Photo by Christine Bruxer.
We provide opportunities for volunteers, students, and professionals to be involved in research, conservation, and educational activities. Nearly year round, we have volunteers performing reforestation, assisting in wildlife monitoring, and conducting environmental conservation and education projects. Our volunteers make a big difference in the environmental issues here.
Laguna de Apoyo
Volunteers and scientists are enjoying breakfast at Estacion Biologica Laguna de Apoyo. Photo by Christine Bruxer.
We provide a place for people to come, enjoy, learn, participate, and relax. We operate a small hostel with very low prices, with great home-cooked meals, and the best coffee to be found anywhere. Our hostel service helps us finance our presence in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve and some of the research and conservation activities we perform here. We are hardly an ordinary hostel, as is noticed by the conversations held here most evenings, drifting toward issues of wildlife, conservation, politics, culture, with meaningful voices found to contribute.
Laguna de Apoyo hostel
Large hollow trees such as this one provide habitat and sustenance for many animals in Reserva Natural Laguna de Apoyo. Photo by Christine Bruxer.
The presence of Estacion Biologica in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve benefits the people and wildlife, too, because we serve as the eyes and ears of the area. Nearly every day, we are in communication with the park guards or other representatives of MARENA, or with some other governmental office. We have denounced and stopped several illegal constructions and other kinds of forest destruction activity.
Laguna de Apoyo hostel
We have begun to monitor bat populations in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve, with some very interesting results. Twenty-three bat species have been found in the area, to date. We conduct lots of research on biodiversity and environmental issues. Photo by Christine Bruxer.
We provide opportunities for students and interns to gain experience in field activities, in which they get to handle wildlife and learn about their biology and behavior. The studies our students perform are part of a larger program of wildlife monitoring, in which we are examining the impacts of different forest uses on the wildlife of our area.
hostel Laguna de Apoyo
FUNDECI/GAIA and the students of Avon Maitland School in London, Ontario donated educational books to the Escuela Luis Alfonso Velasquez in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve. Photo by Christine Bruxer.
Working in a protected natural area means working with the people, and that means improving the conditions of impoverished people. We work closely with the local school (Escuela Luis Alfonso Velasquez) to make the educational offering more effective.
hostel Laguna de Apoyo
This section of beachfront was reforested by FUNDECI/GAIA and is today part of the natural landscape of Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve. Photo by Christine Bruxer.
In all we do, we are trying to maintain Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve as pristine as is possible, to be passed on to the coming generations clean, unpolluted and without grave environmental problems. We can already see some successes, for which all of us should be happy and proud. The management plan for Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve has been approved and active patrolling occurs today. Our staff member Jeffrey McCrary was the coordinator for the Management Plan development. Howler monkeys, once exceedingly rare around Estacion Biologica, are seen daily. Neighbors are more conscious than before, and willing to work together to protect our area. 

You are invited to visit Estacion Biologica Laguna de Apoyo. Come to study Spanish at Apoyo Spanish School, participate as a volunteer, or simply spend some days enjoying our area
hostel Laguna de Apoyo
Click on the "escudo" to contact us.

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