Carpe Diem

Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Kaitlin Neill

Note: this post is one of dozens written by students participating in a 2015 field course in Costa Rica. The entire series is here

Botanist Willow Zuchowski joined us on one hike through the Monteverde Biological Reserve.  I learned more about identifying plant families from her in five minutes than I did in the first week and a half.  Willow is from the United States and moved here after her bachelors degree to work on a hummingbird project; she loved Monteverde and Costa Rica so much that that turned from a year and a half to three years to living here for the past 30 years.  She actually does not have a masters degree or a PhD.  What she does have is the motivation and interest to learn about her field in a non-traditional setting.  She has been a field assistant on many projects here and her colleagues here respect her knowledge without a formal graduate degree.  She has travelled back to the states a few times to take courses in biological illustration and desktop publishing because she is interested in those things.  She has now illustrated and co-authored a book called An Introduction to Cloud Forest Trees: Monteverde, Costa Rica

The moral of this story is that if you love something enough and are motivated enough, you can make it happen.  I intend to "carpe diem" by going on many more study abroad trips to see the world, and I may even find a place that I want to settle down like Willow did.  Carpe diem everyone.  Seize the day.

Left to right: Willow Zuchowski, Dr. Chaboo, Willow’s husband Bill, and Kenji Nishida