This is my last week of doing research with the sapitos (froggies). I have had an incredible experience working with frogs and I am a little sad that my research project is coming to an end. I decided to write a thank-you letter of sorts to the sapitos, thanking them for the last couple weeks.
Thank you for teaching me to be patient. I do not like walking slow. I prefer to walk and hike at a brisk pace so that I can enjoy the views and get to my destination in a timely manner. However, when researching the sapitos, walking fast was not an option. I had to slow down and really look at my surroundings in order to find frogs. Sometimes, I would stare at the same mossy rock for a minute before I was able to spot a frog. Frog research has tested my patience, but I have learned that if I walk slowly and quietly, I will get to find sapitos.
Thank you for showing me the forest at night. The cloud forest at night is so COOL. You showed me so many amazing spiders, scary scorpions, nocturnal monkeys, loud birds, bizarre stick bugs, and so much more. I would have missed out on experiencing the forest at night if it wasn’t for you.
Thank you for bringing me to El Placer. El Placer has become my favorite place in Ecuador. The community here is incredibly warm, kind, hardworking, and welcoming. Everybody seems to know that I am researching frogs and they will stop and ask me how last night’s frog search went. Life is beautiful here, the views are incredible and there is plenty of blue sky and rain.
Thank you for teaching me to like coffee. I didn’t like coffee until my first weekend in El Placer. I soon realized that a morning person doing research at night needed some help from caffeine in order to stay awake and focus on finding frogs. This acquired taste will come in handy during my senior year of college!
Thank you for reminding me that I can do hard things. I didn’t expect it, but the last couple weeks have been full of hard things. I’ve done difficult, muddy hikes in which every time I take a step up the hill I slide back done. Euthanizing frogs in order to prepare specimens has emotionally difficult and exhausting for me. However, everyday I am reminded that I can do hard things and come out the other side as a stronger person.
Thank you for inspiring my curiosity. You have taught me that when I slow down, I get a closer look at everything around me. I can see the intricate details on a beautiful beetle and the specific color patterns on a frog, which makes me want to get out my hand lens and look even closer. When I examine a sapito for five minutes I can see the individual tubercles on the elbow joints and the subtle differences in coloration of individuals of the same species.
With much gratitude,