Place Where You Live:

Costa Rica

Carlos in the rainforest

The Costa Rican Rainforest. As an environmental educator, this is the place that inspires my work. It’s looks and feels alive, humid, noisy, green, serene, and breathtaking. The diversity of life forms is incredible everytime I hike through the rainforest. Plants fill the layers of the forest in a chaotic struggle to reach the light and rainwater. Every plant has a strategy. Epiphytes like the bromeliads grow attached to the trees, higher and closer to the sun than other plants. Among the green colors, passion fruit flowers display attractive coloration to attract pollinators such as hummingbirds. As I walk, it’s common to see these birds hover by the flowers in their eternal search for nectar.

As a hike I often hear a stridulating, intermittent, loud call. A male dart frog, about a couple centimeters long, stands low in a branch calling out for mates. Its bright red color warns about the poison that they produce from eating leaf cutter ants. These ants appear across the trails all the time. They are laboriously cutting small pieces of leaves to harvest and feed on a fungus inside their underground colony. I continue my hike and a young spider monkey comes near me and stares quietly. He seems comfortable and his presence makes me feel welcomed. These encounters with nature are unforgettable. The rainforest is where I feel one with nature. It is where I find true peace and inspiration.