Wednesday, February 24, 2016

A New Perspective by Robert Haemmerle

After just one week of trekking along the paths at La Selva Research Station, I had spotted so many varieties of animals that are very unique to the tropics: monkeys, pit vipers, sloths, iguanas, and the biggest spider I have ever seen.  However, it was time to leave the paved path and get a different perspective.  I had heard lots about the famous towers at La Selva, and I did not want to miss the opportunity to get a view from above the canopy.  To my delight, the professors and staff members managed to fit in a morning climb to the top.
We strapped on our harnesses and helmets and started up the 40-meter metal tower.  At several points along the ascent I looked out and realized how high up we were, yet how much more we had to climb.  I reached the top, and was met by an amazing view: monkeys howling to my right, a vast canopy of green leaves straight ahead, volcanoes against a blue sky in the distance to my left, and a medley of bird songs all around.  I immediately snapped some pictures to remember the scenery, but then forced myself to put the camera away to absorb my surroundings, forming perhaps the longer lasting memory.  Alas!  Eventually, my time at what felt like the top of the world ran out and I had to climb back down.

Climbing the tower at La Selva made me realize that one of the things that makes this semester so unique is our “campus”.  Where else would I begin my morning by enjoying a spectacular view in the middle of the rainforest and then pass wild peccaries on my way to a classroom for … a crash course in statistics.

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