Volunteer at Aula Global

A variety of orchid species can be found at Aula Global

About the Project:

The Global Classroom has been documenting the movement and population density of cat species (jaguar, puma, ocelot, margay, jaguarundi) within the Aula Global Biological Reserve since 2012. Among other tasks, volunteers will be using camera traps, track pads, animal tracking techniques, and photography to gather information on local and transient cats within the reserve.  Collected data will be entered into an ongoing database. Secondary projects within the reserve may include bird, mammal and reptile census, orchid identification, and trail maintenance. Volunteers may also conduct custom-built projects. If interested, please contact us for more information!

Aula Global connects volunteers and interns with some of the wildest, unspoiled tropical forests left in Costa Rica. With human activity kept at a minimum, volunteers are allowed the unique opportunity to study unencumbered by tourist activity.

About the Global Classroom and the Aula Global Biological Reserve:

In 1992, the non-profit environmental organization Global Classroom began a fundraising campaign to purchase and protect over 700 acres of rain forest along the continental divide of Costa Rica. After years of dedicated work from volunteers across the globe, the Aula Global Biological Reserve was created in 2001. It spans five ecological zones, encompassing virgin rainforest, clear running streams and rugged mountainous terrain.  A walk through the reserve will take you through acres of pre-montane wet forests, slowly transitioning into the infamous cloud forests that make Costa Rica so biologically unique and diverse.

The porch at our research station

Our eco-friendly research station, dormitory and composting toilet/gray water system are conveniently located within the reserve, allowing easy access to the forest at all hours of the day and night. Night walks reveal species not seen in the daylight hours. Many new and unidentified species have been documented within our boundaries, and many more await discovery. Over 200 species of bird have been identified from the front porch alone!

Mammals seen at the reserve include howler and white-faced monkeys, tayra, peccary, armadillo, and others. The reserve boasts 5 species of cat; jaguar, puma, margay, ocelot and jaguarundi, and possibly the elusive oncilla. In 2009 and 2010, a female Bare-necked Umbrellabird was witnessed constructing a nest within the reserve, a bird whose reproductive habits and nesting behavior are not well described in scientific literature.

Facilities for Self-Directed Research: Year-Round

A three-wattled bell bird, mid call
A Three-wattled Bellbird, mid-call

Aula Global does host independent research projects. Individuals interested should contact us with ideas and proposals prepared. Past projects by motivated students include amphibian identification, distribution, fungal infection and mortality rates; bird migration patterns; plant distribution throughout elevations; orchid identification; and hummingbird pollination impacts on flowering trees, among others. Those interested in independent research must be comfortable with spending days and nights alone, or with few volunteers, in a rustic setting. The reserve infrastructure is fully-functional with clean running water, propane cook stove, gray water and composting toilet and research station with excellent views of river valleys and forested ridges. The possibilities are numerous for those wishing to apply their skills and knowledge in a tropical forest. Let us know how we can assist you.

Proposal Submissions

Please be sure that all proposals for independent research at Aula Global Biological Reserve include the following information:

  • A general project description.
  • Clear description of study design and rationale. If your proposed study is hypothesis-driven, all questions, hypotheses, and predictions should be stated clearly.
  • Background, including literature review and needs statement, etc. Please include the IUCN status of your target species, if applicable.
  • Planned methods, including fieldwork, data collection and analysis, statistics, etc.
  • Anticipated results.
  • Outputs and scientific implications.
  • Your credentials, including CV, certifications, etc, as well as a description of your research team (if applicable) and their credentials.
  • Study timeline.
  • Budget, including proposed and secured sources of funding.
  • Requests of Aula Global Biological Reserve, including use of facilities, any equipment, etc.