Experiences of Tropical Biology

If I were asked to describe my experience in Costa Rica in a few lines, I would certainly find myself in great difficulty.

This is because in addition to being a Field School it has also been a journey to discover what surrounds us, an opportunity to make friends with fellow travelers and above all it was, for me, an important introspective journey and a great source of inspiration. .
What we have lived, what we have seen and heard are not easy to explain to those who have never had a similar experience.
In fact, we found ourselves immersed in a luxuriant, lively and above all left to itself nature, without major anthropic interventions. Spending all those days in those magical places, never silent, makes me feel lucky and releases within me the great desire and determination to protect what remains and restore what has been lost.
There, in the reserves, the night is alive as I had never experienced it. Silence does not exist. When the sun leaves the horizon, a myriad of different life forms emerge, waiting patiently for their moment, the darkness. Wandering at night with torches in search of the strangest beings was an emotion that I will never forget.
It had never happened to me to feel so alive and in contact with what surrounds us, part of that whole from which we have slowly separated ourselves over the years.
Nothing should be taken for granted, every step is crucial.
Out there, at night, you are both prey and predator and you have the perennial feeling that anything could happen. Anything could appear or never appear and in that case you just have to keep looking for it.
After all the kilometers covered, after all the dust inhaled during the journeys, after having sweated for a long time, the message that I take home, tightly to my heart, is a message of hope. Meeting so many professionals, hearing them talk and seeing them move on the field was like watching an orange flame of a tired candle that despite the intense breeze continues to burn, undeterred.
They don’t care that many things are going wrong.
They continue to fight, sweat and live so that Nature is preserved.
I realized that feeling sorry for yourself is in fact wasted time.
This experience has also allowed us to put our heads out of the shell and see on a practical level what the advantages and disadvantages of life in the field can be, as well as the main difficulties that often, sitting in front of a bench, you are not able to fully grasp. It also allowed us to understand the potential specialist fields in which a naturalist can end up, the different topics that can be dealt with.
Walking with 25 kg on the shoulders with all the equipment, with little water and some snacks to reach the various goals is, for example, something that we can say that we have experienced at times on our skin. Or even more trivially we experienced the heat, the hordes of mosquitoes, humidity and insects to avoid.
But they are all memories that we will carry with us, all sensations that I already miss now. The final balance of the experience is obviously positive, but giving it a numerical value would be more than reductive.
I cannot quantify how useful this experience has been to me because if I can cultivate the ideas and emotions it gave me inside, its benefits could potentially last for many years to come.
It’s up to me to go back to my desk, go back to my exams, go back to libraries and feed myself with knowledge, science and knowledge. To then one day, perhaps, return to that distant land and take part, as a protagonist, in the defense of the planet.


OPEN YOUR EYES

There are firsts times that they never forget,
There are first times that impregnate the memory
and leave indelible memories and sensations.
And this is one of them.
We have been thrown across the globe,
transported by the vehicle that best embodies man
and his ability to go anywhere.
To then find ourselves, after a steep staircase, in the reserve.

The reserve impresses with its noisy silence,
because even when, the night is deep
and everything seems to be silent, it teems with life.
When illuminated, the darkness reveals a fertile life,
so far from what we’re used to,
which becomes difficult even to conceive.

There are experiences that open your eyes, mind and soul.
There are experiences that make you feel part of a whole,
that always surrounds you, but of which we often forget.
So go, investigate, discover, toil and above all open your eyes.

Liam Vezzani

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