Field of Science

On the Road Again - Rain Forest Ecology Field Trip

Today, tonight, tomorrow, all night, all day, that is starting about midnight the travel begins and with luck 18 hours later the Phactor with a bunch of students in tow will arrive at a field station in Costa Rica to study rain forest biology for the next 2 weeks. The wi-fi connections out there in the rain forest have always been a bit dodgy, but every attempt will be made to do a series of blogs directly from the rain forest. Weather has not been good in Costa Rica lately, but the heavy rains and land slides have been more of a problem on the Pacific side than the Atlantic side where the field station is located, which is always pretty wet. The record for one of our field trips was 18" of rain fall in 8 full days at the field station. As one of the students remarked, "Well, it is RAIN forest." Travel with students, overseas, is terribly stressful and demanding, even with the NO WHINING RULE in force, and it would not be worth the effort if the outcomes were not so educationally rewarding for both parties (both students in the picture are smiling!). And of course after the field trip the Phactor shall bestow prestigious awards upon outstanding members of his class: the monsoon mud monkey award to the person most at one with mud, the atad award for the student most confused by their own data (one awardee never got the joke!), the cryptic researcher award for the student who most resembles or acts like their research organism, the teflon award for that particular student that just never seems to get dirty, the closest encounter of a dangerous kind award to the student who has the nearest miss with disaster and giving their instructor more gray hair or causing more of it to fall out (those pit vipers are so well canouflaged, crocs have moved into the swimming hole, and so on it goes). Truly winners all.

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