Hello! Bonjour! My name is Sarah and I am the supervisor for the CHS for this summer.
I am a home-grown Rocky Mountain Houser.
Seriously, I was watching the David Thompson Puppet Show at the Canada Day Celebrations before I could talk. "Da Columbia Riverrrr!"
That line is legendary.
I am really looking forward to what this season has in store.
The Trading Post is a thing of beauty, the Heritage Garden is getting a head start with an early spring, Summer Camp is upping their cultural component, and we are on a lucky 3rd year of Outdoor Movie Night.
No doubt, there is a lot to do, but could you ask for a more fun summer job?!
Not to mention, we have a stellar team of summer staff and volunteers this season.
Let me fill you in on what I was up to between the 2015 and 2016 seasons.
In the spring of 2015 I graduated from Lethbridge College with a diploma in Environmental Science - Renewable Resource Management (best program ever!). I decided to take a year off to work, travel, and gain experience before heading back for my university degree in Natural Resource Management - Wildlife & Fisheries at the University of Northern British Columbia in Prince George.
Hands-down the best experience I had during my year off was travelling to Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica to volunteer at a biological research station.
Excuse me while I reminisce back to those last few days in the jungle...
Nostalgia; it is a feeling like no other. It somehow makes you feel empty with longing and filled with contented warm light simultaneously. How is it possible to have two opposing feelings? You’re glad it happened, yet sad that it is over. Like when you cry tears of joy. Now that my time at Jalova is coming to an end, I feel nostalgic. But this time nostalgia is slightly different. For a kid from the land-locked mountains of Canada, being a jungle dweller for a month is a pretty exceptional contrast; the crisp smell of pine verses the salty taste on my lips from the sea; at dawn, squirrels and coyotes verses geckos and howler monkeys; seeing my breath escape my mouth at night, versus the humid air that collects on my skin. Down to the soil beneath my feet, nothing is the same. I feel nostalgic because nothing in my 21 years is exactly the same being a jungle dweller.
During the first week my eyes were filled with awe at every new species I saw. In the wee hours of the morning I groggily crawl out of my mosquito net and pull out my head torch to get ready for the forest survey.
For breakfast: a bowl of porridge and coffee. Next, I slide into my wellies and jungle attire, ready to hit the trail with my survey team. The first thing I notice isn’t actually what I’m looking at, but what I can hear. A bat speeds past my head, squeaking as he goes. Cicada bugs chirp non-stop, as if they were to stop, the silence would be their demise. And in the distance, it could be up to one kilometer away, Mantled
Howler Monkeys bark their deep gutteral yell; a magnificent sound that makes you shudder when you hear it for the first time. It doesn’t stop there- it’s the birds turn. The Great Tinamou, a pudgy bird, calls out like its lamenting. As if to counter the lament of the tinamou, a bay wren sings out a cheerful tweet, straight out of a Disney Princess movie.
After a 15 minute walk through the coconut plantation that encompasses base, my survey team reaches the trail head. Each person chooses a place to look; up left, up right, down left, down right. It’s time to test your eyesight and let the science begin. On the trail I feel like I am swimming through every hue of green on the colour spectrum. The vegetation is dense, and the biodiversity of the plants is high. From the gigantic trees with buttress roots, to leafy understory, to twisting vines, it is no wonder so much wildlife calls this place home. The structure of this rainforest offers lots of nooks and crannies for all sorts of niches.
No more than 10 meters in, a Central American Agouti (a small creature that almost appears to be a guinea pig with long legs) darts onto the path, pauses to look at us, then disappears back into the green expanse.
Energized by our early sighting, the survey moves on with an air of hope. We walk silently and slowly through the jungle, straining to see more wildlife. Not far off, we hear a slow clicki