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La Selva

At then end of of our stay at the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve we packed our bags, said goodbye to our no-longer pristine rooms and our rude  hotel- mates  and nervously (or tiredly) boarded marcopolo and went on our way to La Selva Biological Station. On the way we forgot about our projects and had a great lunch next to a dormant volcano that provided an absolutely beautiful view.

We arrived at La Selva with awe, intrigue, and yes- trepidation. What was this magical place we have heard so many wonderful and scary stories about?! Where legends were made?! We were amazed when we arrived, within only a few minutes we saw more wildlife in this great biological station than we had seen in both of our other stations. Sloths, peccaries, iguanas and many colorful birds, they were all there. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately according to Mabel, we didn’t see any snakes. We got a chance to acclimate to the sweltering heat (erm, not really) and then immediately had to prepare to present our project results from our last site after an interesting talk about ecosystem processes.

Our first night at the station Mike Brittion, a 2012 Colgate grad currently working towards a phd at Florida International University in herpetology, led us on a night walk at a swamp at the station. We saw frogs and giant spider about to lay eggs in a bromeliad. Then Mabel’s luck ran out and we saw a snake (don’t worry, it was tiny). We also got to see  BULLET ANTS which are HUGE ANTS whose bite, as its name suggest, feels like a bullet injury (Yeah, we stayed far away from those). After that we had no more energy to speak off- and fell asleep looking forward to enjoying more of La Pura Vida!    

Blog 2: Do you ever wonder what's the best view in the forest? UP IN THE CANOPY! The monkeys have it right,  because there is nothing like chilling on tree branches feeling like Tarzan - all exotic and sweaty.Some of us would say the highlight was the thrill of standing at the top, for others the challenging work of getting to the top, and for even more  it was the relief of touching firm ground- to each their own!  The excitement continued as some of us saw our very first fer de lance snake which had its own bodyguard!

The excitement continued as we went white water rafting the next day. We split up in three groups and had the time of our lives swimming, floating, screaming, boarding and highjacking each others boats - it was paradise. John Garett, who is a certified white water rafting guide, was even allowed to take over control of one of the boats!

Amidst all these exciting things we settled down to do our individual project and truly learned the meaning of being “flexible” in the field. Our well-thought out plans (made in our temperature controlled classrooms and dorms) were destroyed by mother nature’s realities. Nothing we couldn’t handle though- methods were executed and data is streaming in!

Joe’s interesting relationship with nature continued as a frog attacked (aka fell) on him in the bathroom. What a shocker that must have been- we can’t decide who was more shocked and horrified- the frog , or Joe.

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© Cardelús Updated September 2018