Thursday, June 16, 2011

This trip has enlightened me to the world outside of this
country. I happy and prevliged to have gone on this trip
with my fellow classmates. the only regrete i have was not
being more polite to others in my class and to not have
brought enough money and a camra on the trip. This trip is
not for the faint of heart and if you enjoy a new experience
of life i suggest you go on this trip. I myself enjoyed this
trip and i know you will to. The culture, the people, the
envrionment, and the things you learn will never be
forgoten. This is not a vacation but a eye opener to field
biology and how it can be fun and exciting. This is
something i have now experienced and in my opinion suggest
you try it for yourself.

Matthew Lallman

It's been almost a week since I've been home from our
trip to Costa Rica and I noticed how easy it is to become
accustomed to one place so fast. The morning after I arrived
I woke up at 6:00 am by instinct and realized that I
wouldn't be meeting my group outside to go to breakfast
and enjoy the typical meal of beans & rice, eggs, and fresh
fruit like we did every morning. Definitely missing being in
CR, I can't even being to recollect all the awesome
adventures and memories that we had. Having to chose one
specific time that really amazed me was when we hiked down
to a waterfall in the national park. Even though the water
was absolutely freezing, being a big nature buff the beauty
of it mattered more to me. I think that anyone who has the
opportunity to join their peers on this trip should
definitely do everything they can in order to be able to go
to the beautiful country of Costa Rica. I've learned so many
things from the native people, from Dr. Wasko & Susan
Letcher, and my fellow classmates. Being able to see the
wildlife and different types of forests will definitely have
an impact on you, as well as Tropical Ecology itself. I'm
very happy I was fortunate enough to be able to share this
experience with my group and professors. Thanks for an
amazing trip guys, see you all in the fall!
-Maria Mucciarone

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Its sad to say the trip is over but we all had a really good
time. One of the memories I will never forget is walking
through the jungle at night and turning off all our
flashlights. It was awesome just to stand still in the dark
and listen to the callings of all the animals. Another
memory that I will have forever is my first time snorkeling.
I seen sharks, sting rays, blow fish, and schools of
fish.The water was very clear and clean that you can see the
fish even above the water surface. We decided to hike back
after snorkeling and we met a cute monkey that attempted to
rob Dr. Wasko. It was one of the funniest moments i seen in
my life. The monkey didn't care that it saw us, it just
hopped on Dr. Waskos back pack and tried to take what was
inside. All in all the trip was awesome and I hope other
students that come next year will have as much fun.

Chris R.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

 I can't believe that I was able to explore Costa Rica.  I will remember this trip for the rest of my life. I experienced so many different things in just 10 days. From zip lining to snorkeling to taking a night walks at La Selva. Costa Rica will forever remaining in my heart as a 2nd home.   I wish I was back in Cahuita national park swimming with the different types of school fish than in the hustle and bustle of New York.  One of the moments that I enjoyed the most at Costa Rica was the night walks in La Selva. Even though it was so scary because it was pitch black and you only had your flashlight as a guide. It allowed me to see how the jungle comes to life more in the night than in the day.   We saw so many different frogs and snakes.  A researcher said that she had seen a jaguar there last week.  Even though I would be scared out of my life to see one, I wish our class could have seen a mountain lion. Another one of my favorite moments is when we went snorkeling. I do not know how to swim and it was amazing for me to able to   swim amongst the fish.  Everyone on the trip knows that I have a love for fish. Even though I was nervous to be in the water, I got so excited when I saw the poisonous lion fish and all of the different type of fish right before my eyes. Unfournately when we got to the 2nd reef I got sick, I took in to much sea water. But even though it ended on a bad note, I still counted as one of my favorite moments because I was able to do something that I have never done before. Most importantly I was able to swim close to my favorite aquatic animal.  Instead of looking at the negative, I look at the positive. This trip helps me to realize that it's so much easier to focus on the bigger picture and not the little negatives. It helps me to be more open minded.

It was such a bittersweet feeling when it came down to the last three days. I didn't want to leave and I don't think anyone else did.  My colleagues have grown so close to each other. It was sad to think that soon our field work together would be in the past. It was sad to know that we wouldn't be hoping on the bus for the rest of the summer to go some place new. It was like a family.  This tropical ecology course didn't feel like a class at all but more of hands on experience. It felt so free than just sitting in a class room. In Costa Rica you see all of the studies and experiments come to life.  I am so thankful that I got this oppiournity. Dennis and Susan were wonderful guides. They allowed us to explore and see what it was like to be a researcher. I hope the next group is able to experience this. As for my colleagues I wish you nothing but the best for your education career . Keep on striving and never give up.  You guys have been such good friends to me and you do have a place in my heart …. THANKS !!  lol : )

 Live ~ Learn ~ Experience


Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Today was our "day off" and we can do whatever we wanted to do. Me and my roommate woke up at 5:30 just so we can see the birds since they are mostly seen in the morning. We got a couple nice pictures of pretty birds. We had breakfast after we saw the birds and just relaxed for a while. After our break we went on a hike that we about an hour and a half there and back and had lunch. We were so tired that we took a nap and did laundry. I'm still in shock I did laundry for free, even though we had to pay for soap which was $2 which isn't bad at all. After laundry we ate dinner and had a mini happy hour in Prof. Wasko's room and a couple of other people. It was around 10:30 and we left to go to bed. It seems as if the day consisted of relaxing and sleeping. It was still a fun day.

--Jennifer Mathieu

Monday, June 6, 2011

We're at the halfway point of our Tropical Ecology course here in Costa Rica and I didn't think I would be having this much fun.. From zip lining in Monteverde to swimming in Rico de la Vieja waterfall I know I definitely do not regret this trip. I've never had this much fun, even though there is school work and concentration involved. Today we visited and volunteered at one of Dr. Wasko's friends farm. Alex was extremely nice and she taught us a lot about her long term research project and showed us her plots were she is growing various types of trees and recording their growth in areas throughout primary and secondary forests. Also, our second night walk was not as much of a success as our first, but we still saw an olingo as well as a smokey tree frog and cat eyed snake. I can't wait until our free day tomorrow here in Le Selva and explore what else it has in store for us. I hope to see some howler monkeys before we leave. See all you guys in the US soon!
-Maria M.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry


6 hour long ride to La Selva whew !! I am tired. But I'm so exited at the same time. I never saw a jungle come to life right before my very own eyes . La Selva is a national park and biological station in Costa Rica.  Our lovely tour guide explained how La Selva is 70 % Grown Forest. It goes from low lands to high Lands.  The tour guide gave us a quick natural history tour. Within five minutes ,we saw so many different animals. I wa so excited because I haven't seen a lot of birds yet. Fortunately today I saw male trogons ( they look so cool with their red bellies). We heard the Jacamars and oropendalas but unfortunately we didn't see them. But it was still so cool to hear them. We also saw the white crown parrots , flycatchers and the screech owls. Another bird was the Crested Guan. It was so eccentric . It was all black with a red flabby chin. We saw a couple of more birds that I'm still trying to identify. As more of the day progress it got more and more interesting. Wasko gave a really good lecture on the spatial and feeding ecology of snakes. It prep everyone for the night walk that we did after the lecture. The night walk gave me more chills than the  nitro rollercoaster in six flags. Wasko made us turn off our flashlights in the middle of the path. It was so scary but relaxing to hear the sounds of nature surround you. As the walk continue we saw lizards ,frogs and two snakes. Even though you can see a lot when you go onthe trails . Sometimes animals can be right in front of our cabin.  Each day here something new and suprising happens. I can't wait to see what will happen tomorrow.
Live ~ Learn ~ Experience

Shantel Isaac

Friday, June 3, 2011

Its been a few days since we have been in Costa rica and it
is unbelievable. There are so many things that I have never
seen before in Connecticut or even the U.S, such as the
cloud forest. Today was our most busiest day so far. We
visited Rinco De La Veija National Park which was full of
diversity. We mostly seen diversity within plants and
insects. A lot of the plants have a different smell and
thats how we were taught to identify them because nearly all
of them look alike. Out of all the insects I saw today I was
most interested in the leaf cutter ants. These ants work
very hard and in extrme organization. I saw one of their
nest that was at least four feet tall off from the ground
up, that was something I had to see for myself because thats
the only way I would believe it. We seen huge fig trees
that had very large buttresses, bigger than some of us
students on this trip. Although, we didn't get to see the
volcanoe that was not to far from us we did see mud holes
and water holes boiling. As we walked by the boiling liquid
it was quite hot and smelled bad. The temperature of these
holes can range from 198 degrees F to 248 degrees F, so it
can get pretty hot. After a good deal of hiking and
exploring we finally made to the river for a quick swim. The
water was amazing, but cold. We took great pictures in the
water and while exploring the park. Im sure we are all
waiting to show our families these awesome pictures. In just
a couple of days we already had expereinces we will never
forget I cant wait to see what else is in store for us.

Chris R.

Today was a interesting day as a group we explored the
jungle of monta verda. Though despite the rough morning of
waking up so early. There was much to learn and explore in
this jungle. The profesor and us took a walk on the bridge
and from being up so high we were able to see a varity of
different plants and animal life. The type of plants we saw
there were epiphytes attatched to different ferns. And
different species of the same genetic structure. The only
down side was that we did not see as many animals but were
able to get a picture of three walladed bell bird which was
a rare sight. Some of the students that when on the trip
were also able to do the zipline which i regreat never

matthew lallman


Day 2
Today we wake up and we're on our way to Monteverde.
Breakfast was delicious, especially the eggs. The ride up to
Monteverde was about 4 hours, so of course everyone was
sleeping on the bus. The view on the ride up there was
amazing, but everytime I would try to take a picture, it
would either come out blurry ot a tree would get in the way.
When we finally arrive, we get settled into our hotel called
Don Taco. It was such a beautiful hotel! We went around town
to places like the bank, lunch, a frog and snake exhibit.
The frogs were pretty cool and I got some nice pictures.
Later at night we went to see the frogs again sicne most of
them were nocternal. Lastly for dinner, we went to a
restaurant but the wait to get our fod was ridiculous, but
the food was delicious. Can't wait to see what the rest of
the days have in store.
Jennifer M.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Well it is the night before the trip and i am looking forward to feeling the sweltering sunshine on my skin again. Also i can’t wait to see the familiar sights and sounds of nature and culture. The inconsistence rain fall may become annoying but i hope to have an amazing time.

-Matthew lallman-
Wow, just less than 24 hours until we arrive in Costa Rica.
I am extremely overwhelmed and nervous. I do not know what
to expect. This is my first time out of the U.S and I am
glad its to a country where I am familiar with the language.
Since I can speak spanish I think I will have a greater
connection and understanding with the people of Costa Rica.
My biggest anitcipation is hiking and walking through the
rainforest, and seeing the vast amount of animals that live
there. Here in Connecticut I don't see much of a variety of
animals that's why I am excited to encounter many animals in
Costa Rica. One of my assignments on the trip is to study
inverbs, as of right now i dont know much but when we leave
Costa Rica I hope to know all there is to know about
inverbs. I just hope i don't get bit by anything. This trip
will surely be a lifelong memory and I am grateful for this
opportunity. See you all very soon!

Chris R.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Only four days until we all finally meet again & leave for Costa Rica! I can't wait to land in San Jose, soak up some of that 90 degree weather and hope I don't burn to a crisp. Having little fear of planes or traveling, I'm more excited than anything else to experience what the tropical country of Costa Rica has to offer. Hearing nothing but amazing stories from Professor Wasko, I definitely cannot wait to see these leaf-cutter ants for myself as well as many other critters, reptiles, and other animals I would never see in Brooklyn, NY. I also can't wait to be out in the field, I feel like i'll be able to adjust really well with my surroundings. I've always wanted to do zip-lining & snorkeling and now I finally can.. I know it will definitely be an experience I won't ever forget. Writing this is making me even more ansty to be there!

See you all soon!!

-Maria M.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Blog entry

Only 6 (or 5 depending when this gets posted) days left until I go off to Costa Rica! I'm so excited and nervous all at the same time. I can't wait to see the different types of birds, plants, and the country itself. I'm not so excited to see the bugs and snakes, but sadly I know I'll encounter them. I hope the days don't go by fast while we're all there and I also hope I'm not the only one that hasn't packed yet. I believe I'm the only freshman going this year and since I don't know anyone, I know I will make new friends and also have a lot of fun. I can't wait!
Jennifer M.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Nervous, Excited, anxious, scared. These are all my emotions about Costa Rica. I can't wait to see what I will discover and explore. I know I'm going to be nervous to try new things, but I am willingly to put that side and become more open-minded to new experiences .I want to step out the box of my everyday life and fears. So even though I'm nervous about zip lining and snorkeling, I will defiantly do it with palms sweaty and shaky hands.  I am also excited about my assignment on Costa Rican birds.  I can't wait to study the different types of birds that are out there.  Costa Rican birds are so eccentric and different from my everyday New York pigeons, I'm so eager to learn more about them. I am also excited to try the food and the different fruits.  My parents are from Trinidad and Tobago (an island that is off the coast of Venezuela). I had visited Trinidad and Tobago many times. So I am a little familiar with the island life. But I know that Costa Rica is little different from Trinidad, so it will still be a new experience for me. I can't wait to see what the trip has in store for me. I am excited to be working with Dr. Wasko and his colleague Susan and also the classmates. I hope we all have a wonderful eye-opening experience. See everyone soon :)!!!

Shantel R Isaac

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Another year, another course...

Welcome back!

After a tremendously successful experience last year, I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to bring another group this year.  There was quite a bit of rigmarole to deal with in setting things up this year, from both student and administrative ends.  But we made it happen... huge thanks to Marge Arnold and David Goldenberg for making this possible.  All said and done, we now have a somewhat smaller group this year, but it should be no less fun. 

Our trip runs from May 31-June 10, and we'll be visiting various areas around Costa Rica.  As always, stay tuned here to hear about our adventures.  Personally, I can't wait to get back, visit old friends, re-explore my old stomping grounds, and introduce another crop of students to one of my favorite places on earth.  Only 27 days to go!

--Dennis Wasko, 5/3/11