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After 10 Days At Camp  Osita

I have officially been a resident at Camp Osita for 10 days now and what a memorable 10 days they have been!  I have been fortunate enough to see five Olive Ridley sea turtles nest, many Black and Green Poison dart frogs (a personal favorite), the endangered Geoffroy’s Spider Monkeys, Squirrel Monkeys and of course the loudest primates on the planet—the  Howler Monkeys.

It is hard to decide which surveys I have enjoyed the most; however I do love the wondrous array of stars that light up the sky during the night sea turtle patrols. Walking along the most undisturbed beach I’ve ever been to under a full view of the Milky Way is almost indescribable. It makes you feel so small, yet so in touch with the planet at the same time.

A second favorite has to be the nearby waterfall trail, just minutes from camp. I have been on a few Amphibian and Reptile surveys on this trail, finding hourglass tree frogs, many species of anole and most recently a green iguana. A few of us visited the waterfall last week for a quick afternoon dip, which exceptionally refreshing in the heat of the afternoon. It has many different levels and although it is moderately difficult to climb up to the highest level in wellies (rainboots for my fellow Americans out there), it is 100% worth it. There’s nothing better than a natural shower!  Although, our showers at camp are a close second with great pressure and refreshing, cool water after a long survey.

Camp life has been great so far actually—no complaints! Our cabins are surrounded by beautiful Royal Palm Trees, which are frequently filled with Howler Monkeys, Squirrel Monkeys and even Kinkajus! I had an extremely fortunate encounter with a group of them a few nights ago. They passed in between the palms above my head while calling out to each other in the moonlight. Besides incredible wildlife, our quaint camp is also home to some pretty incredible people. Everyone has made me feel welcome and helped in any way possible while I was becoming adjusted to the heat, schedule, trails, etc. When we aren’t doing wildlife surveys, we fill our time studying up on the different species we need to learn, learning Spanish, sunbathing at the beach, or finding projects to do around camp. Since this camp is relatively new, there are still a few projects underway, such as creating walking paths, a “Camp Osita” sign, or even concreting cinder blocks for the new cabin in the back of the property.

I am happy to say that I have successfully made it through my first 10 days without becoming badly sunburned…my family and friends know that is quite a feat for me, coming from the cold and sun-desolate winter in DC to hot and sunny Costa Rica! Finally, my last thought on this past week or so has been on how welcoming and friendly the local community is. Everyone is very hospitable, sometimes dropping off fresh papaya, or coming by to ask if we would like to join them fishing. Although I have only been here for 10 days, I can already feel this place developing a special place in my heart, full of unforgettable memories. I can’t wait to see what the next six months has to offer!

By Jenna Keany - Costa Rica Volunteer

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