May 23- Botanical tattoos and boiling mud pits!









All of the groups began field work based at Santa Elena yesterday (5/22). We’ve all had to modify our plans quite a bit (except, I think, Equipo Luz), but that’s the way it goes. Getting to our plants requires weaving through many clumps of Acacias, and we’re all super excited to navigate there in the dark for pre-dawn measurements.



Leland gave me an awesome “JANZEN RULES” tattoo using the pulp of Genipa americana fruit. It’s not quite dark enough yet, so I’m going to ask the accomplished artist to go over it once again (gotta make the El Doctor love more prominent).





The picture above shows Isaac standing next to a boiling mud pit at the Rincon de la Vieja. The heat from the volcano makes the mud boil, which gives off a pleasant sulfurous aroma. The heat from the volcano is also being used to power a geothermal plant that is being built by the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE). Huge green pipes reminiscent of water-slides have already gone up along the mountain, and there are ongoing discussions about the ICE’s proposal to cut down large amounts of pristine primary forest along the volcano (unfortunately, the forest is likely on its way out). Real-life threats to conservation in action 😦


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