Highlights of Day 1:
We woke up at the crack of dawn and packed the bus to depart from San José by 6:30 AM. We had rice and beans for breakfast, rice and beans with chicken for lunch, and rice and beans with steak for dinner. Do you see a pattern yet? The 8-hour drive to our first destination, the Cabo Blanco Absolute Reserve, consisted of riddles, bad dad jokes, and 20 questions. We finally arrived during peak heat and were graciously greeted by a family of howler monkeys. To get to the field station, we lugged over 1,000 pounds of field gear and luggage 1.5 miles through dense jungle. Along the way we were introduced to many plant species and saw beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean. After unpacking, we scarfed down some dinner and planned out the day to follow. We were each randomly assigned to one of four groups – bird ID, insect ID, plant ID, & blog – for our time at Cabo Blanco (see below). The groups will rotate at each field station so that every student can practice each skill. We eagerly showered away the sweat of the day before crawling into our bunk beds and falling asleep to the sound of crashing waves.
Bird ID: Davi, Megan H., Julieanne
Insect ID: Cassie, Aidan, Elena, Abby
Plant ID: Jared, Megan M., Lydia
Blog (that’s us!): Sierra, Danny, Jacob
Rose & Thorn:
Rose – The ocean views upon arriving at Cabo Blanco.
Thorn– Each of us having to carry two or more backpacks to the field station.
Vibe of the day: struggle-bus
Quote of the day:
“Jared, you are the most vertical person I have ever seen.” –Davi
Scientist Spotlight: Professor Catherine Cardelús (Professor of Biology & Environmental Studies, Colgate University, leader of this course)
What is one of your favorite childhood memories in nature?
When I was 8 years old, I lived in Wisconsin on Lake Michigan and I loved to play outside. My mother would open the door and say ‘come back at dark,’ so I had all of this space to explore. I distinctly remember the freedom to go outside and play in the pond with the frogs and the dirt. It didn’t matter how dirty I got. Then we moved to the city and it was terrible. I guess I didn’t learn my lesson because I went to Barnard where I composted on the roof. I wanted to be a medical doctor up until I had this amazing professor who taught me about plants and I dropped everything to study them.
Why were you excited to teach this course?
It turns people on to the world of ecology. It brings alive everything that I teach. When the students see the tropics it allows them to visualize what I teach. Don’t make me cry…
What was your dream job when you were our age?
I wanted to run La Selva Biological Station. I never imagined myself outside of a forest after I discovered it. Somehow, I still manage to get into the forest a lot, both in the tropics and in New York. I don’t know how I managed to build the perfect job.