Three cloud forests to visit 0 8468

Cloud forests are unique ecosystems that are located in mostly tropical areas at high altitudes. These forests have high levels of cloud cover, precipitation, and very temperate climates. The cloud-cover leads to high levels of precipitation which is taken directly from the clouds. Cloud forests have especially high levels of biodiversity which are home to an incredible number of unique plants and animals. Cloud forests are extremely rare ecosystems that cover around 0.14% of the planet’s land surface. These mystical forests are extremely important to maintaining biodiversity, but sadly many species are in danger of disappearing due to climate change. These fragile forests are worth a visit and worth advocating for change to help save these natural plant and animal havens.

Mindo-Cloud-Forest
Credit: The Globetrotting Teacher

Mindo, Ecuador

Mindo is a preserved paradise in the clouds found just a couple of hours from the capital city of Quito. It is situated where two of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world meet, in the western foothills of the Andes. The convergence of bio-diversity provides for a wealth of possible activities to enjoy the surrounding nature. Topping the list is the journey to the waterfall sanctuary which includes a cable car journey with epic views over the top of the forest and hikes to seven impressive waterfalls. Enjoy bird watching as the cloud forest is home to about 350 unique species. Check out the organic coffee farm or for a bit more adrenaline, raft down the river that runs through the village, or even enjoy a ziplining journey through the forest for more breathtaking views. Wake up amongst the nature in charming tree-house style accommodations that are situated around the center of this quiet village.

Cerro Huitepec, Mexico
Cerro Huitepec, Mexico

Cerro Huitepec, Mexico

Located within the Sierra Madre de Chiapas, Cerro Huitepec is an extinct volcano which has a cloud forest located in the upper part of the reserve. This cloud forest is quite untouched with no resorts or accommodations inside the reserve. A trip to the cloud forest here consists of a simple hike but truly allows you to experience the importance of a rainforest. As you descend on the cloud forest, the temperature drops, the moisture increases, and the light diminishes as the trees are reaching high into the sky to compete for light. Clouds suspend over the forest and the more than 100 different species of birds are profoundly heard throughout the forest. The cloud forest is just 5km from San Cristobal de las Casas which has plenty of accommodation and has many other activities in the surrounding area.

Monteverde Reserve, Costa Rica
Credit: Two Weeks in Costa Rica

Monteverde Reserve, Costa Rica

Situated on the continental divide where the Pacific and Atlantic slopes collide, Monteverde is the probably the world’s most visited and well-known cloud forest. It is a cloud forest reserve that encompasses an astonishing 10,500 hectares (25,945 acres) of land. There is an impressive amount of wildlife to be spotted amongst this clouded forest due to the diversity of ecosystems found on the reserve. There are over 100 different mammals like white-faced monkeys, 120 amphibians and reptiles, and over 500 different species of birds. Scientists say there are still many undiscovered species living on the reserve. There are trails that lead to views of the continental divide, waterfalls, and the famous hanging bridge overlooking the canopy of trees.

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Practice self-sacrifice: Things we can learn from Lent 0 10796

Lent, to be perfectly clear is a Christian practice. Although, anyone is welcome to try the tradition in honor of sacrifice. Lent is a tradition that involves fasting for forty days and nights in preparation for Easter. It begins on Ash Wednesday and ends with the Easter celebration.

I remember growing up in the Catholic church, my parents really took Lent seriously and they passed that will onto me. They would leave their ashes on for the entire day just to prove that they were serious about penance. Lent or Lenten-fasting is a Christian practice that involves depriving oneself of the things that are dear to him or her. It’s kind of a symbol to represent the kind of suffering that Christ endured in the wilderness. Although Lent is not for everyone, depriving oneself of some form of comfort is a good thing. Lent doesn’t just involve waiting for the sweets or food that Easter comes with; it requires depriving yourself of something that you are basically addicted to; something that takes some priority in your daily life; that is why it’s so symbolic.

Here are a few things that people typically deprives themselves of for a short while.

Focusing on your needs and not your wants

When I say this, I mean you should chin up and stop buying all the things that you want but don’t really need. Things like new phones and devices shouldn’t be your priority, not when you don’t really need them. This Lent you should try saving some extra money for a change, you might end up saving more money than you think. This little practice should span across everything you spend money on. For example, you can’t buy all the little things you set your sight on this Lenten fast.

Donating every day of the Lenten fast

Regardless of whether you are religious or not, giving should hold a special place in your life. We are blessed to be where we find ourselves today and should never forget those that aren’t as fortunate. This Lent, try to give as much as you can daily. It might be just a plate of soup or some old clothes, but it might be enough to put a smile on a person’s face.

 Gossiping

I know that most gossips don’t think they gossip. They just see their conversations as innocent gist sessions. It takes a lot of courage to admit that you are a gossip but a sure tell sign would be the feeling that what you are doing and saying might hurt someone. This Lent we should try to fight those habits that seem hurtful to others. After all, Lent is about repentance and penance, we should see the days of the lent fast as an intense confession and repentance session and try to break away from old destructive habits.

Limiting meal time to just three times a day

I think more than anything, Lent is about the tribulations that Jesus faced and overcame in the desert. So, its only appropriate that we too subject ourselves to similar conditions. Technically, limiting meal time to the standard three times a day doesn’t really compare to the kind of suffering that he endured in the wilderness, but I think that it’s a safe compromise. We should try to get closer to the savior this Easter by devoting more time to knowing him and curbing our eating habits. This meal limiting plan should cover just more than the conventional meal. It should also go in to cover other things like limiting your soda intake and junk food consumption.

Give up TV

This might seem impossible for some with unbelievable line-up of coming this spring. People easily forget that these great series will still be there a month after Easter. Television is inherently distracting. It’s practically impossible to stay focused on the Messiah when you are shacked up in front of the TV every night. This lent, you should try to disconnect from it all. Try minimizing your TV time and pick up something that is less distracting and more productive like prayer.

Pray this Lent

One of the major characteristics of a fast is constant prayer, this Lenten shouldn’t be any different. Try to devote some time to praying to him every day – it’s the most important part of the fast. You should put all that excess time from not watching TV to good use and try to really commune with him.

Here are a few things that we can change about ourselves this Lent that could help us improve our relationship. Lent, above everything else is about Jesus Christ. This little suggestion list allows us to effectively share in his experience and strengthen our relationship.

Getting your kids to read this summer 0 64751

Summer means different things for different people. For twenty-year-old’s, it’s the time to work and party; for parents, it’s the time to hold neighborhood events and start saving up, and for kids, it’s the time to kick back and finally have some fun. School’s out! 😃 It’s that one time of the year when they can go to the beach and hang out with all their friends without worrying about some project or homework. For them, the entire summer is all about having fun, and as a parent, it’s your sacred duty to balance fun with continuing education. You might even be able to replace “fun” with something more rewarding – like reading!

Knowledge attained outside the classroom tends to stick around longer

You don’t want to be the “uncool” parent that forces your kid to do something school-related during the summer, but you don’t really have that much of choice, here’s why. The lessons that really stick with you long after you finish school are the ones that you learned when you didn’t really have to.

The knowledge that is acquired without some form of ultimatum or consequence always leaves a lasting impression. It also introduces you to a new side of knowledge that is not purely scholarly.

Reading is right for you regardless of what it is that you decide to read – obviously you will have to control your kids’ intake in your spare time. Reading strengthens the mind, and continual learning increases the speed at which you assimilate and process information. Just imagine the kind of impact a fantastic reading speed could have on your kid educational future. You could be adequately preparing them for a future in academia.

Exposure

The reward of “ruining” their obsessively fun summer will be some exposure to other subjects and topics that are unfamiliar to them. Recreational reading could be very instrumental in building up their overall personality. Plus, proper exposure ensures that they have enough information to make smarter and more informed decisions at a tender age.

It can teach them to research and ask questions

Summer reading could form the basis of a voracious reading habit that could beautifully complement their curiosity. It’s not every kid that thinks about something strange that eventually go on to investigate, summer reading could introduce them to the concept of research.

How to get your kids to read during the summer

It’s easy to talk about getting your kids to read during the summer, getting them to do it another issue entirely.

Kids can be especially stubborn or pigheaded when you are trying to force them to do what they simply have no interest in. The only way to have them do what you want the right way is to either introduce a reward system or trick them that it’s all their idea. Local library’s often offer summer reading lists per age group.

Reward system

Are you having a hard time getting your kid to do anything you want? Wait patiently, there is always something they’ll want, and you can use that to get what you want – in this case, it’s a healthy reading habit.

When they come to you with a ridiculous demand, you can propose a fair trade that will engage their mind and keep it focused on a book that you’ll recommend. You can even choose to deliver the reward after the completion of several books, that way, you are getting the most out of your deal.

You can also choose to limit or restrict play time, and the completion of a certain number of pages could be the requirement they must fulfill before they are allowed to play again.

Making them think it’s their idea

In my experience, people are always more motivated to complete a project that they believe to be totally theirs. When it’s your plan, you just tend to pay more attention to it, it’s like you want to prove something to yourself and others around you. Adults think this way, and so do kids. They can be pretty devoted to completing a book they just accidentally stumbled upon or saw you flip through.

Sometimes you don’t have to be so obvious or aggressive, you could give a rousing speech about reading and hand them a book that you know that they’ll enjoy and leave the rest to them.

The summertime doesn’t have to all about vacations and parties, it could also be an opportunity for your kid to develop a reasonably analytical mind.

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