Photo Courtesy of Jon Kolby

Saturday – 17/6/17 – Journal entry after one week of being in the jungle:

“Jungle training was amazing. Living ‘rough’ with hammocks, a campfire and a few tarps. What a great time; true, proper trekking with funny, genuine people. I’m in awe at this place. Every day I see something new and beautiful, whether a new view, insect or reptile. This is one of these things I hope never ends, but sadly will.”

I went to Cusuco National Park to collect data for my 4th year dissertation over the summer of 2017. It was life changing, and almost every journal entry over the 6 weeks I was there is just as positive as this one. The help and support out there from staff and peers was incredible, I learned so much about scientific fieldwork and bonded with so many people who I’ll never forget. Not only do you just collect your data and be done with it, you get opportunities to work with so many passionate scientists with amazing stories and advice. You have time out there to go on walks with any of the teams you want – herps, birds, inverts. Take those opportunities, you won’t regret it.

I spent most of my time in 2 camps – Base Camp and Cantiles. Base camp is where it gets busy, as it’s where most of the new arrivals will head first. But it’s fun. I spent most of my time by the light trap, talking the night away with a bunch of like-minded folk, looking at moths, beetles and all sorts of bugs and beasties that stopped by. Some nights I spent playing and laughing uncontrollably at card games, helping the bat team or joining the herp team on river walks. During the day, I was out collecting bromeliad invertebrates for my research or trekking with any of the other teams that were heading out that day. There is always something to do.

Cantiles was my highlight. It’s the highest camp at around 1900m. The camp is tightly wound between incredibly, huge, towering trees. I woke up to howler monkeys and kinkajous. I fell asleep to thunder and rain. There were only 10-15 people whilst I was there; it was such a quiet, reflective place to be. It was a camp of hard work – every transect was steep and tiring compared to base camp but in many ways were so much more rewarding. On my last day there I woke up at 4am to join the bird team, we went to the highest available point over 2000m and watched the sunrise at 6am above the jungle. It was beautiful and I will never forget my time there.

Thank you Operation Wallacea!

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