A few weeks ago, I went to Costa Rica to gather spatial data for the EARTH Forest Fertilization Experiment (EFFEX). Doing research in the tropical rainforests of Costa Rica was one of the most impactful and fascinating experiences I have yet to have. The overwhelming abundance of diversity created much distraction while gathering spatial and coordinate data.
It was hard to stay focused on numbers and measurements with the beautiful songs of tropical birds, the howling of monkeys, and the buzzing of mosquitoes throughout the forest. Each plot had its own unique battles to face, whether it be climbing over fallen emergent trees or bullet ants whose bite generates a cascading stinging pain for hours on end. Nonetheless, we were able to collect all of our data and still immerse ourselves in the Costa Rican culture and diversity.
Reflecting back on my trip, I recognize how much I resonate with intensive field work because I get to acknowledge ecosystems for the complex and dynamic systems that they are, and it reignites the passion in me to further learn how to protect, restore and conserve our natural landscapes.