Jose Angel Calvo Obando

Jose Angel Calvo Obando

One year ago, Jose Angel Calvo Obando died in an accident. The Area de Conservacion Guanacaste lost a dedicated ranger and environmental educator, Pitilla station lost a loyal caretaker and us working there lost a good friend. Jose was quiet and a good observer, not only of birds and other forest animals but also of people. He thoroughly enjoyed living in the forest and considered the stations his home. He was good with horses and an excellent cook. He could…

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Canada and Australia: partners in climate crime

Canada and Australia: partners in climate crime

Australia and Canada share a lot of good things in common. Both are large countries with a wealth of natural resources, and stunning natural landscapes. Both have government-funded medical care and education for their citizens, and some of the highest standards of living in the world. Recently, meetings between the prime minister of Australia, Tony Abbott, and Stephen Harper highlighted that these two countries now also share a shameful track record on reducing carbon emissions. Tony Abbott is reported to…

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Ecology in action at the Area de Conservacion Guanacaste

Ecology in action at the Area de Conservacion Guanacaste

My trip to Pitilla (Biological Station, Costa Rica) this year started with a high speed chase. I had stayed longer than I planned at the ATBC conference, and when my taxi reached the bus stop, the bus had just left. The woman who ran the little soda next to the bus stop, however, had the driver’s cell phone number, a rendezvous was arranged, and the taxi driver dove back into the taxi and careened through the streets of San Jose…

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Horses, birds and bromeliads – all in a day’s work

Horses, birds and bromeliads – all in a day’s work

This blog starts and ends on a horse.  The park guard, Ronald, had asked me to accompany him on a ride around the park, and I jumped at the chance. Our first job on horseback was to find the white mare and the mule that had gone AWOL. A few years ago, almost all the horses were stolen in the night, so missing horses are always a concern. But the mare and mule were found, so it was time to…

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The inspiration of Pati Ortiz

The inspiration of Pati Ortiz

In the equipment room, at Estación Biológica Pitilla (Costa Rica), there is a sticker on a cabinet that says “bioluminosa” – the artistic signature of Patricia (Pati) Ortiz – with the letters morphing into trees, ferns, wings, insects…everything that Pati loved. Pati died tragically 7 March, 2013, by the San Luis waterfall near Monteverde, when she ran to help a student struck by a falling rock and was herself fatally hit in the head by another rock. I first met…

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