Positive, selfless, open-minded, hard-working, considerate, energetic, observant, reliable, fun-loving, kind-hearted, generous, easy-going, passionate, inspired, and inspirational….These are the words that describe every member of our team this year. The impact this small group of students left on the community of Parismina is permanent and it is the beginning of a postive relationship between a struggling community and our small but mighty college that will bring change for the people of Parismina and Fleming students. Thank you Hannah Albani, Kari Jansen, Jacob Knight, and Kate Powell (listed alphabetically because I cannot place any one of you above the other!). A special thank you to the community of Parismina and to my good friend and partner in all Costa Rican endeavours – Mario Garcia. And last but not least, thank you to Michael Fraser, Barbara Elliot, Jill Stocker, and Linda Skilton for your continued support of this project.
Our first night in Costa Rica. Left to right: Josh, Kate, Hannah, Kari, and Jacob
Lunch at a local cafe in Parismina. The entire team including Mario (far left)
The team at the Pacuare camp
Goofing around again
The ultimate look – Blue Steel
Posted in Applied & Community Based Research, Costa Rica, EM 2013, Jacob, Josh, Kari, Kate, Monitoring Amphibians & Reptiles, Reptile Biology & ID, Species at Risk | Comments (0)
The view at the start of our hike to the rafting camp
Well here it is, the last night in Costa Rica. The last few days since my previous blog have been jam-packed with a lot of new adventures. After many final goodbyes, we left Parismina Wednesday morning and were off to our destination of the extreme rafting camp. After a boat and bus ride, we all hoped in a 4×4 SUV and started the steep climb up the side of the mountain until we reached our hiking spot. Our hike started with an amazing view of the mountainside that we were about to hike through. This was the part of the journey that I had been waiting for. We crossed many streams, pastures, and were in and out of the rainforest where I had my first glimpse of some of the species that the rainforest had in store for us. After about an hour and a half hike, we made it to the beautiful campsite. The camp had a breath taking view that over looked the Pacuare River surrounded by tall-vegetated mountains.
The Fer-de-lance Josh found and capture in the shower
We were all tired and sweaty from the hike so we decided to take a quick swim while Josh had a shower. But before we could even make it to the river, Josh called us all over to take a look at something. And there it finally was, my first experience with a snake in Costa Rica and with a highly venomous Fer-de-lance to top it off! She was sitting directly inside the door of the shower stall. Josh collected her in his snake bagger and we all had a chance to take a good look at the snake after our first meal at the camp. Not long after we saw the Fer-de-lance, there was a brown vine snake hanging in the vegetation along the path going down to the river. After these encounters so soon after getting to the camp, I knew I was in for a great time.
My cabin at the rafting camp
Cabin interior – head hits pillow and lights out – too exhausted to toss and turn
The battle for light – vine vs. tree
The next two days where full of hiking the rainforest until we couldn’t walk any more, followed by eating and rest. I was a little nervous for our first walk in the rainforest in the dark for obvious reasons, but I was surprised how comfortable I felt walking through dense forest. At night the rainforest turns into a much different place. You can only see where ever your flashlight is pointed and every directing you look it was full of action of some sort. There were spiders of all kinds including tarantulas, and insects so enormous you had to look twice just to make sure you weren’t seeing things.
A whip scorpion found during a night hike
Male Green Basilisk at the rafting camp
Walking through the rainforest at night was defiantly my highlight of the trip, and I have a very strong feeling it will not be my last. We spotted two more snakes on our hikes, the pebble snake and the blunt headed tree snake, both of which I had the opportunity to handle and photograph. All of this excitement was wrapped up with an intense white water raft out of the camp with the most amazing scenery I have ever witnessed. It is going to be tough leaving this country but I am looking forward to telling all my friends and family the many stories I have complied during my visit.
Holding a rarely seen snake species – Pebble Snake
Posted in Applied & Community Based Research, Costa Rica, EM 2013, Jacob, Species at Risk | Comments (0)
Final team photo on the beach
Today is a bitter sweet ending to our stay here in Parismina. The last couple days have been busy trying to finish up as many tasks as possible before we leave tomorrow morning. Josh and Mario have finished wiring the dry box, which is now fully functional and we have finished installing the posts marking the beach. Our housemother Sonya has gone beyond her duties to make us feel at home in her house. The home that the three of us have lived in the past 10 days is two bedrooms, one of the bedrooms the three of us boys all stay in and Sonya and her son sleep in the other. The house has exceeded my expectations and I will miss it very much. I have enjoyed all of Sonya meals that she has made us, which manly compose of some sort of rice and beans dish with either lettuce and tomatoes salad, broccoli, or cauliflower for vegetables and a variety of meat dishes such as chicken, pork, beef, or my favourite, the empanada, which is sort of like a homemade pizza pocket. To try and pay her back for treating us so well we did a couple of small yard work jobs around her house this morning and she was very grateful. The last volleyball game with the locals is scheduled for tonight followed by the last dip in the ocean. It will be hard to say goodbye to everyone but I am very excited to head out the rafting camp tomorrow morning. The rafting camp will be a change in scenery as we will get into the heart of the rainforest, and hopefully experience a different mix of species that the largely diverse Costa Rican environment has to offer. Unfortunately the camp does not have any internet access so we will not be able to post any of our blogs until we are in San Jose for our last night.
Late afternoon on Playa Parismina
Posted in Applied & Community Based Research, Costa Rica, EM 2013, Jacob, Species at Risk | Comments (1)