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Florida Museum of Natural History Family Rainforest Camp, First Journey to Costa Rica and Selva Verde

A photo essay by Fran Whitlock and John A. Gregory

In June, Florida Museum of Natural History staff led the inaugural Family Rainforest Camp at Selva Verde Lodge, joined by young campers and their families from the US. Campers took part in workshops and a BioBlitz, and they used technology to share their experiences with museum campers back in Florida.

Among the participants was Fran Whitlock CTC, a long-time travel consultant for Holbrook Travel. But she wasn’t alone! Joined by her partner John Gregory and granddaughter Jaylee, Fran and her family of three set off for the family adventure of a lifetime.

Take a look at their story, told in images, below.

 On the way to Costa Rica

On the plane to Costa Rica—the adventure begins!
photo by Fran Whitlock

 

Hiking at Selva Verde

Hiking in the Rainforest at Selva Verde
photo by John A. Gregory

 

Wildlife sightings, up-close and personal...

 

Eyelash viper

Eyelash Viper
photo by John A. Gregory

 

Three toed Sloth

Three-toed Sloth
photo by John A. Gregory

 

 

Meeting with students

Connecting with local students at a school in Sarapiquí
photo by John A. Gregory

“The kids loved the school visit—they played tag, duck duck goose, and hide-and-go-seek together. The parents understood that no matter where children live, they all speak the same language with laughter,” said Fran.

 

Searching for frogs

Searching for frogs in the forest
photo by Fran Whitlock

 

Sharing discoveries with campers in Florida

Sharing discoveries with campers back in Florida
photo by Fran Whitlock

 

Hands-on chocolate making

Getting hands-on experience with chocolate making—from fruit to final product
photo by Fran Whitlock

 

Standing inside a tree

Standing inside the center of a tree
photo by Fran Whitlock

 

Reforestation project

Reforestation project: campers doing their part in planting trees
photo by Fran Whitlock

 

“The reforestation project was a favorite for parents and children alike. After listening to Willy Pineda’s talk on the biological corridor the campers understood the significance of this work for maintaining this important area and were grateful for the opportunity to help. The only downside was walking and working in the heat,” noted Fran.

 

Using a microscope

Getting a microscopic look at specimens found in the forest
photo by Fran Whitlock

 

Nocturnal hike

Nocturnal hikes in the rainforest
photo by John A. Gregory

 

Happy campers

Happy Campers!
photo by Fran Whitlock

 

“The best part of the trip for me was witnessing the change in Jaylee. In just a week’s time she came alive, it was like watching a beautiful butterfly emerge from a cocoon,” said Fran.