Sunday, May 28, 2023


Jackson and Jenna sitting on the porch of the research station, waiting on breakfast.

Here's the bunkhouse where the students are living, 6 to a room.

Lauren, Isabelle, Jackson, and Jenna eagerly anticipating breakfast which was....

Ibuprofen, black beans and rice, scrambled eggs, toast and jelly, a banana, and TEA.  This is the breakfast that allows me to keep my youthful appearance despite being 29 years old.  I'm often mistaken for being on of our students.

Our fabulous guide Deb.

Danielle, Dr. Parshall, Ryan, and Tori enjoying chow.

Ben, Isabelle, Jackson, and Dan.

Notice that our bus has a snorkel on it's passenger side.  This allows us to fjord streams.

For this morning, we drove to a restoration area where Deb has been working for well over 20 years.  Here's the road leading down to the area.

Deb is a fabulous instructor, and is an expert in birds, bird habitat, habitat restoration, and conservation.  She is ROCK SOLID.

Here's a picture of a pasture, the before situation.  This is where primary forest was cleared many years ago to grow beef cattle and to farm.

Here's the fence line.  On the left, the successful restoration area, about 20 years old.  To the right, active cattle raising pasture.

Where we are was open, hot, sunny pasture when these students were born.

I'm always amazed at how instantly students are comfortable with Deb, and her talent for engaging the audience.  What's common in this picture with the students?  I took a picture of each of these students as he or she answered or asked a question or made a comment during Deb's discussion.  This was within about five minutes.

Here, Dr. Parshall ponders why he invited me on the trip.
The goal of this trip was both to introduce the students to the research project, and also to engage them in actual data collection, where Deb got more data for her research.  In this, the students were split up into groups of two to measure the height, number of leaves, number of damaged leaves, and other tree characteristics for a species of avocado tree that was recently planted in the restoration area.  This species is very important as a food source for the Bell Bird and other restoration target species. A lot of the research here is directed toward the question of exactly what is the best way to create a new tropical forest in an old field.  You save the birds by saving their habitat.

Here collecting data are Ryan and Will

Olivia and Danielle

Jenna and Tori

Dan and Aidan

Jackson and Ben

Isabelle and Lauren

And the goal...datasheets of measurements to address the question.

Foreground, an active cattle pasture, background, restored pastureland.

This is a picture from back at the research station.  This was also pasture, and was restored about the same time or slightly earlier than the previous site.  This one has a different forest composition.  Dr. Parshall is explaining how the student's independent research experience tomorrow will work.

Same thing, but notice how tall the trees are and the diversity of organisms in the forest.

This afternoon, we're off to a tour of a coffee plantation and to prepare and eat a typical Costa Rican meal at the home of a local Costa Rica family.  Right now, a pouring intense rain just struck...we're in the tropics in the rainy season...but gotta go!


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