Every time that we do something new, from our first time entering the dining room to our first hike into the jungle, it is photographed. Not only is it our first step out into the Amazon, it is also the program’s first step, and we happen to be the students lucky enough to be a part of this uncharted adventure. We are fortunate to be learning from people who truly know this area. They probably laugh every time that we goggle over a really big spider, or the amount of time that we can spend in total enthrallment watching a rhinoceros beetle struggle to fly. However, the novelty of being in the Amazon rainforest and our simple disbelief in the sheer amount of life that is overwhelming our senses is met by everyone’s enthusiasm to have a new SFS program running at Villa Carmon field station.
On the seven hour drive down a winding dirt road over the Andes to Villa Carmen, I watched the blatant transition in climate and plant composition from barren mountain peaks to a forest that was literally blanketed in a thick layer of clouds, to the lush green forest that we are in now. It made me excited for the semester, to learn more about the processes that have created this diversity and to better experience this beautiful place.
Every morning I wake up to the calls of Evil 1 and Evil 2, the pet macaws at the field station. It is really hot all the time, and sometimes frogs jump out of my shoes. I haven’t been here long enough to say that I am used to Amazon field station life, but I do flinch a little less when I see big bugs and I can now put two scoops of chili sauce in my dinner. I think that I will like it here.