June 2008 - Critical Ecosystem Acquired
In 2006, while on a trip to photograph the recently discovered Dusky Starfronlet I met Gustavo Suarez in the town of Jardin. In just a couple of days we built a friendship that lasted until the day of his passing. I told Gustavo about THC and our plans to set up a nature reserve. He immediately told me he had done a bird inventory in an area near Jardin, La Mesenia, where since 2003 he had made observations and showed me the importance of protecting it.
This plot of land had been used for cattle grazing and the owners had been kidnapped and released by insurgents, and they did not want to return the area. Gustavo convinced me of acquiring about 700 acres of Andean rainforest and pastureland at La Mesenia. After this land purchase we continued to add some more neighboring plots extending the area do about 1500 acres.
The next step was building a station that would allow for visitors and researchers to have a comfortable place to stay. During late 2010 we started building the main station cabin which can sleep comfortably 15 people. This was an important step in order to attract students from several universities wanting to do their research there. The Mesenia-Paramillo nature reserve was also chosen to be part of the Antioquia Expedition study as a site to have a two-acre plot to study the plant biodiversity in the area.