In the Jungle

Today we checked out the Tirimbina biological Reserve. The reserve provides educational and research-based support to schools and biologists worldwide. The reserve protects 850 acres, which is home to over 46% of Costa Rica’s frog species, and 54% of its bird species. After a quick briefing session, we headed to the preserve, crossing the longest suspension bridge in Costa Rica in order to reach it.

After a bit of walking, our guide stopped us in front of a fallen tree and told us that biologists have discovered that when a tree dies in the forest, the trees around it stop flowering and producing fruit. This can be taken as a sort of mourning process, and is derived from a biochemical change. This surprised me, and I immediately thought to the argument of whether or not plants are sentient beings. During the fall of my sophomore year, I took Eco-Philosophy with Professor Switzer. One of the pieces we disseminated was Goodpaster’s discussion of sentimentality, which argues for the recognition of plants as sentient beings, and why we haven’t done so yet. We say that plants have no ability to express emotion, and yet this stopping of flowering and fruit (essentially any sort of growth) is akin to the chemical changes that occur in our own brains after we experience loss. Even after the semester finished, the discussion of sentient beings is one that I continue to come back to.

After the reserve, we grabbed lunch and headed to hike a volcano. The views were astounding, and it was so nice to stretch our legs.

Tomorrow is a more relaxing day; I’ve got yoga in the morning and a tour of Rancho Margot in the afternoon. A couple of us plan on checking out the natural pools, and taking the day to recharge after the whirlwind of the past few days.

Signing off,
Maddie

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