Update #3: Construction and reseach at the station
A dream coming true
After the long and necessary preparations of getting and treating the wood and preparing the terrain, we were eager to start constructing our dream station. While we used many local materials, others had to be transported to the site, which was particularly tricky due to the lack of roads (or their poor conditions). These materials started their journey by boat or jeep, before being carried by mules or on our own backs. Over five months we were able to see our dream taking shape and little by little becoming a reality. We had to expand our limited budget to get things done, but in the end we achieved our first-stage goal: a simple but comfortable facility where researchers and nature-lovers could stay and work. The building is beautiful, airy and relaxing; it has the most spectacular views of the wetland and the rainforests, and it is a great location for birdwatching, sound recording or just appreciating a day, from sunset to sunrise.
Construction of the research station
We also built a greenhouse to produce our own trees for reforestation, restoration areas and pilot sustainable productive systems. We still have much to improve and we are working on it: we need working tables and benches, basic furniture, to further protect the wood from weather and insects, and to control water income from rainstorms, among other basic things.
Having achieved our first goal, we still want to achieve our second-stage goal: being a model of sustainable housing in the area. This is where we need your help. We designed a water system that combines intake from natural sources pumped by renewable energy, efficient rain-water collection and storage, water treatment and residual water management for our greenhouse, irrigation, and other facilities. We also are in need of a solar power system to fulfill our energy requirements. We will soon launch a new campaign for these two specific requirements so that you can continue to help us save and research the unique and highly endangered ecosystems of the Middle Magdalena Valley.
The research station has already been used several times to host researchers for different projects:
- Wildlife Project (Proyecto de Vida Silvestre) by Wildlife Conservation Society.
- Conservation of blue-billed curassow Project by Fundación Biodiversa Colombia, Sociedad Antioqueña de Ornitología and WCS.
- Amphibians and landscape ecology characterization by the Andes and the John Carroll Universities.
- The Nature Conservancy – TNC, Corantioquia (regional environmental authority), SENA (National Learning Service) students and the local NGO Asoambiental.
Here is a slideshow of some of the camera trap photoshoots of El Silencio Reserve and surrounding forest patches.
Camera trap gallery