Mombacho National Park – Josh J

Josh works at the Mombacho National Park that all the students had visited together in May.  The park was noticeably much busier now – it is the ‘high season’ due to summer vacations in the U.S. – and about 200 tourists visit each day.

Josh is helping the park create a mariposario, a butterfly farm.  Now they are capturing butterflies each day to populate the colonies inside the enclosed farm.  Because each species of butterfly require a different species of plant for laying eggs, those plants must all be grown inside the enclosed area.  When the eggs grow to a good size, they will be taken into a laboratory where the staff can track the changes through the larvae, pupa and cocoon stages, before the butterflies are returned to the farm enclosure.  The butterfly farm actually sits inside another enclosure for the park’s orquideario, orchid farm.  The Goshen student who worked here last year assisted with this project.

On the day that Doug visited, Josh, Carmen (his supervisor) and Kelton were going butterfly hunting.  We rode a pickup to the main hacienda of a coffee farm halfway up the slope to the top of the extinct volcano.  We roamed through the lanes that penetrate the coffee groves, and periodically Josh or Kelton would dash off with their nets in the air to nab a distant butterfly they saw.  The specimens were brought back to Carmen, who carried the cage.  In less than an hour they had about 15 specimens.

In the afternoon Doug went with Josh to his home, located near the park entrance in a small community called Guanacaste, where he lives with Carmen, her husband Alexander, their 2-year-old son Jeshua, and an 8-month-old baby.  In the evenings Josh teaches English to a class of local kids.