Thursday, July 29, 2010

Travel Teaches About Nature, Wildlife & More!

This is Naturalist Assistant Matt Grisnik's account of the NA's trip to  Costa Rica, where they learned about much more than the fascinating natural environment....

La Fortuna waterfall
I was given the opportunity to travel with a handful of fellow NAs to Costa Rica, one of the most bio diverse places in the world. This trip provided me with many valuable experiences and lessons, ranging from zip lining through jungle canopies, to learning to be thankful for what I have.

Our trip took us all over the country starting in the capitol, San Jose, and ending in Guanacaste, on the pacific side of the country. During the time spent in San Jose, we got a look at how other people live in less fortunate areas. This led to me realizing how well off we are here in Bay Village.

Traveling around the country we got to expeience many amazing things. One of these was La Fortuna waterfall. The waterfall was around 200 feet tall, and to get to the bottom you had to climb down some 400 steps. All the way down the view of the waterfall was awesome and the descent was well worth it. At the base of the waterfall we were able to get in and swim, although the water was rather cold I had no problem getting in and swimming. It was really a neat thing to be able to swim right next to a 200-foot waterfall in the middle of the rainforest.

Matt with an example of Costa Rica's wildlife
Another amazing experience was the boat ride to our second hotel in Tortuguero. The whole ride seemed unreal; it was like something off of the National Geographic Channel. On the way we saw the basilisk, which is a lizard that can run on water; we saw tons of birds as well, including a rufescent tiger heron and quite a few toucans. Tortuguero was probably my favorite part of the trip mainly due to the presence of all the wildlife surrounding the area. At night, we were able to spot caimans off the dock that we used to get to the hotel, and we saw many other reptiles and amphibians including a young boa.

The abundance of wildlife in Costa Rica was just incredible. It was really cool to be able to see many of the things I have read about in books and learned about in school. I am extremely thankful to have had this incredible opportunity and I know that the experiences that were afforded to me by this trip will, without a doubt, stay with me for the rest of my life.

-Matt Grisnik
Lake Erie Nature & Science Center Naturalist Assistant &
2009 Student Volunteer of the Year

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