What brought you to Costa Rica as a graduate student?
TW: Costa Rica is a magnet for science students interested in tropical ecosystems with its exotic forests, beaches, and volcanoes. OTS has an international reputation as a serious place to study ecology in the wild along side leading scientists in tropical biology. I was fascinated by the stories of the diversity which you could experience in just one day at an OTS field station…and I was certainly never disappointed during my studies.
What brought you back to Costa Rica four decades later?
TW: It was the combination of the raw beauty of Papagayo and the promise of a Four Seasons hotel, served with easy daily nonstops from where we live. Our family fell in love with all of it: the people, the animals, the golf, the surfing, the gym, the beaches, and the nature. By the second trip it was clear that we wanted to spend a lot of time here and explore all of it.
You and Martha recently led an expedition to Palo Verde Biological Station. What was your purpose?
TW: Palo Verde is so wild and its fragile existence so endangered that we wanted to share it now with our friends on the peninsula. Just 90 minutes from our front door at Papagayo is this critical watershed that hosts thousands and thousands of migratory birds from North America and a host of other extraordinary species that hover there for the dry season. If you time it right, you can experience a zillion birds flying at sunset over ponds teeming with fish and crocodiles. I wanted our friends to become aware of the crisis of this important region and meet the scientists who call it home.