This might be hard to believe, but the rainforest is rainy. Imagine a hose, then turning that hose on to the highest setting until the water is spraying at a high pressure, drenching you. This is what rain in the rainforest is like, and how I ended up as I was caught in the storm in Manú Center, Costa Rica. And despite never being dry again for the remainder of the trip, it was completely worth it.
I admit I was attracted to Costa Rica mainly for the amazing biodiversity the small country holds, and I wasn’t disappointed by what I found. Over the weekend, my class headed to Limón to explore the rich rainforest and learn about how it functions ecologically. The crown jewel of the excursion was Manú Center, where we collected plant samples during the daytime to measure biodiversity. In just five plots of 2×2 meter squares, my group discovered over 30 unique species! Afterwards, we headed to the outdoor classroom where we learned why the rainforest is so diverse: a mixture of rain, light, and solar radiation fosters conditions ideal to speciation.
My personal favorite part was the night hike. We went onto the trails to look for interesting animals, and every so often, our ecology professor would show us a neat snake, or frog, or even crab. The star of the show, however, was a speckled katydid the size of my hand.
Wait…is that leaf moving??
I saw so many unique and colorful animals on that trip. At the same time, though, I thought about how they are endangered. While 25% of Costa Rica is protected, other rainforests aren’t so lucky. It is imperative we move toward sustainable living so future generations can continue to enjoy these amazing creatures.