(Written by Rebekah Packer, Resident Naturalist)
As of last week, I’ve been in Costa Rica for just over a month! The time has passed by so quickly! I feel so lucky to be able to wake up every morning in Costa Rica; it’s such an incredibly diverse and beautiful country, and the people are so welcoming. I was born and raised in Georgia, and I’ve never lived anywhere out of the state, even for college. I’m a recent graduate of the University of Georgia, where I studied Biology, Ecology, and Spanish. Last May and June I participated in UGA’s three-week Avian Biology Maymester study abroad, held here in Costa Rica, and I had a blast traveling around the country. After returning to the US I knew that I had to come back to Costa Rica soon. One of my professors on the trip had been a resident naturalist in the past, and she recommended the program to me. So here I am!
My first month here has been FULL of new experiences! One of my favorite activities as a naturalist is hiking to the San Luis waterfall. The hike is about 3 hours round-trip, but it’s definitely worth it! The waterfall is not something you’d want to miss if you’re in the area. I also really enjoy finding different reptiles and amphibians here, like the eyelash pit viper that was found on a trail near the casitas, or the pond with the dry forest true frogs inhabiting it. One of the most exciting moments while I’ve been here was the spotting of the three-wattled bell-bird! To see that bird, we had to run around the area, wait for its call (three whistles and a “BONK”) and then keep running in the direction where we thought we heard it.
Even though I have a background in Biology, I am not a specialist in any one area, so this job has been a great learning opportunity for me. I came in with virtually no knowledge of plants, for example, but now I can identify many of the various families that are found in the area, and it’s not as difficult to differentiate between them. Overall, this month has been great, and I’m looking forward to the remainder of my six months here!
–Rebekah Packer, Resident Naturalist