Program of Study: Forest Resources Management
Country of Exchange: Guanacaste Conservation Area, Costa Rica
Where did you do your internship?
I was working in the Guanacaste Conservation Area in Costa Rica for a Masters student from UBC. We lived in a fairly remote research station in the forest near a small town called Santa Cecilia. I found out about the position because a friend of mine, and graduate from the conservation program in Forestry, shared an office with the woman who hired me. I applied, got the position and also sent out a notice on the Forestry email list since she was looking for another assistant. I was in Costa Rica for 3 months and then another Forestry undergraduate arrived to work for the last months of the summer.
What did your job entail?
The project was studying the ecology of tree holes and how forest fragmentation effects them. Tree holes are literally holes in trees that collect water, and aquatic insects are found living in them. There were about 20 areas that were either small forest patches, large patches or continuous, un-fragmented forest. We would travel to the sites and map out the patch, then set up a transect line into the center. Along the transect we attached plastic cups to trees that had leaves and water inside them. These cups were left for a month and then the contents collected. Once collected we would wash all the leaves and strain out the water to count the organisms in each cup and separate the different species for analysis later.
What was the highlight of your international experience?
There were many highlights about working internationally but one significant one was being able to experience being in another country for an extended period of time. I have travelled before but living and working in another culture was a completely different experience. I met many lovely people from the small town we lived near that were always excited to see us and willing to help. And it was also really interesting to experience being in such a different forest ecosystem from what I’m used to.
Aspirations after graduation
I have worked as a Forest Firefighter in the summer of 2009 and 2010 and this current summer I am working as a research assistant for a Grizzly Bear Monitoring project in Alberta. I have always been interested in working within Parks Canada or BC Parks and would like to try and incorporate wildfire management and/or wildlife management into my job. I do not have any set plans for after graduation but ideally I would like to continue to expand my work experience to gain more knowledge of different Forestry related fields and discover what I am most passionate about.