Tropical Field Ecology in Costarica

La Selva (3/11/09) – Hola From Costa Rica
by -- March 11th, 2009

As the title may suggest, I am in fact in Costa Rica. At La Selva research station, to be exact, studying tropical ecology with thirteen of my classmates.

A Spring Break trip to Costa Rica is just one of the perks of taking the Tropical Ecology class at the Nick School.  Last Friday we flew into Liberia then headed to Palo Verde research station, where we stayed a couple of nights before moving on.

I’m currently sitting in a computer lab in the middle of the rainforest, which in itself seems fairly strange.  But regardless, I thought I’d just list a few of the amazing things we’ve seen and done:

  1. After landing in Liberia, we went to the beach and swam in the Pacific Ocean.
  2. We spent a few nights at Palo Verde research station exploring the dry forest ecosystem
  3. I showered with a tree frog (which was an interesting surprise!)
  4. We watched the sun go down over the wetlands at Palo Verde, where a bunch of different bird species were hanging out, then went on a night hike through the dry forest.
  5. So far we’ve seen howler monkeys, white-faced capuchin monkeys (both with babies!), a scarlet macaw, crocodiles galore, iguanas, coatis, agoutis, poisonous snakes, glowing scorpions, all sorts of birds (including white ibis, rosy spoonbill and a toucan, amongst MANY others), poison dart frogs, leaf-cutter ants, a peccary, and probably a million other animals that I’m forgetting.
  6. We hiked at the base of an active volcano (although it was too foggy to actually see anything).
  7. We rode horses to the edge of the rainforest in Fortunas, then went ziplining through the canopy a few hundred feet up, then afterwards spent a few hours at the hot springs.
  8. We hiked through the rainforest with a guide who could point out many of the thousands of plant species here.
  9. We stood on a suspension bridge and watched a sloth hanging in a tree
  10. We went to the pineapple plantation where they produce all the organic pineapples for Dole, Whole Foods and President’s Choice.

That’s just a basic outline of our journey thus far, but we’ve done much more than I listed here, and have some amazing memories to share.

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