In 2012, after years doing the advocacy and policy thing in DC, I gave it up to go back to my first love: tropical rainforests. There weren’t many jobs that could make me leave my employer, the non-profit Environmental Investigation Agency, or my ridiculously fun community in Washington, but the prospect of managing an environmental organization in one of the world’s most beautiful places was one. I’ve been bizarrely obsessed with tropical field stations pretty much ever since, well, my first trip to Costa Rica back in 1997 as an undergrad, and for years I’d been telling people that if I could do anything in the world, it would be run a research station in Central America.
The Dream Job didn’t last (ask me over a drink someday), but the Osa got under my skin. Five years later, I’m still living and working in Costa Rica. And in November 2015, I bought myself a finca back in Osa! 11.8 hectares of hellishly tall grass in the blazing sun, a true life project to restore and cultivate and learn from and enjoy. I can identify at least a few of the 400+ bird species and 800+ tree species on the Peninsula and I know who to ask for the rest. (In most cases, it’s Carlos, my indefatigable finca assistant, also known around here as El Presidente.)
I divide my time between the Osa, San José, and an endless assortment of work and personal trips whose airplane carbon footprint makes all this tree planting not so much an act of restoration as of restitution. This blog is mostly about my efforts to manage and restore this little patch of land, sometimes called Finca Las Tijeretas (and sometimes, after a few beers, Finca El Despiche), to a diverse and productive forest landscape.