By Natalie Myers, Occidental College ’18
The Tropical Biology on a Changing Planet semester with OTS really appealed to me because of all the amazing places and field sites that the program visits- Las Cruces, La Selva, Cuerici, Monteverde, Bocas del Toro, and others. I was most excited about visiting La Selva, because that was where I knew that I would see the most animals.
On our first day at La Selva, we went on a walk with a nature guide. We saw a mother and baby two toed sloth from the bridge, the famous white cotton ball bats, howler monkeys and various other amazing creatures. These animals were all of the big, charismatic animals that everyone wants and hopes to see in the jungle, and I was excited to see them but not really that surprised.
I was more surprised by and interested in all of the small creatures and things that you don’t notice at first. Throughout my time at La Selva, I saw dink frogs the size of my thumbnail, tiny multicolored weevils, and tiny bromeliads. It was harder to find these, but I enjoyed seeing them a lot more. And these were only some of the things that I noticed more once I began to look past the large mammals and organisms.
All in all, this experience has taught me that its important to recognize the significance and role of these smaller, but equally if not more important, creatures around us. By doing so, we can learn more about the ecosystems around us and how to better protect them.