Dec 31: New Year’s Eve in Cabo Blanco

Highlights of Day 2:

Today was jam packed with field work and New Years Eve festivities. The bird group was up before dawn – when the birds are most active – and quietly made their way to the beach, where they identified birds by sight and sound. They met up with the rest of the group for breakfast, before departing on a nature walk. On the walk, Professor Cardelús and Professor Watkins explained the basics of how to identify trees, lianas, and ferns by their leaf morphology. The insect group also deployed their first day of traps along the way.

At low tide, Juan, a park ranger, was generous enough to give us a snorkeling tour of the intertidal zone. We saw mollusks, puffer fish, coral, sea slugs, sea urchins, Pacific conch, and lobster! With a few sun-burned-backs and tired limbs, we enjoyed some good ole’ rice n’ beans. After lunch, we immediately set out on another hike to conduct tree identification and Gentry transects.

Upon returning to the lab, we received presentations on the history of the Cabo Blanco Absolute Nature Reserve by Juan and on ferns by the one and only Eddie Watkins. New Year’s Eve festivities commenced after dinner and included music, cards, and Salsa and Merengue dancing. Sierra had a close encounter with an unidentified spotted feline, and later in the evening, two scorpions were spotted by Danny, Elena and Jared. A select few actually stayed up until midnight, though most of the group celebrated the arrival of the New Year two hours early. Professor Cardelús introduced us to the Spanish New Year tradition of eating 12 grapes, one at every ring of the bell until the clock strikes midnight.

Rose & Thorn:

Rose- Danny’s dancing during the New Year’s Eve festivities

Thorn- Discovering a giant spider in the dorm that migrated between the rooms

Vibe of the day: Bustling

Quote of the day:

“Barnacles have the largest phallus to body ratio of any animal.” –Eddie Watkins

Scientist Spotlight: Professor Eddie Watkins (Professor of Biology, Colgate University, helping lead Cabo Blanco activities)

Favorite childhood memory in nature?

In my sophomore year of high school, my biology teacher showed us a bioluminescent fungus that was found in the area where I lived. That night, I went outside looking for the fungus on our property and found tons of it. It was exciting to see material learned from class applied in my own life.

Why did you want to come back to Costa Rica and help with this course?

Any way to spread the word of fern! I like to excite young people about ferns and how cool they can be, and to share my passion of ferns with you all.

Dream job when you were our age?

I always knew I wanted to be an educator and quickly decided on professorship once I got to college, especially after having the opportunity to TA. Education provided a path for success and elevation from my childhood socioeconomic status.

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