On Friday the 26th, we had our symposium where we presented our research project to Monteverde Institute staff as well as the general public. Over the course of an hour and forty minutes, we covered both our reforestation work and the data we collected during our forest integrity research.
I discussed leaf litter, tree strata, and the amphibians we found in the forests. While I wasn’t able to do much analysis on the frogs we identified due to the small sample size, I needed to run statistical tests on the other two.
According to my brother, a statistics Ph.D student at N.C. State, doing all the data analysis should take, at most, an hour. However, what my brother didn’t factor in was that I’m not a Ph.D. student studying statistics. My knowledge of R extended only to what I had learned in Statistics 102 during my freshman fall semester, but I had forgotten absolutely everything. I didn’t even have R downloaded on my computer. So, when he told me to just run a Levene test, I knew it was going to be a long week.
I spent hours trying to download R-studio on the shoddy WiFi at La Calandria, and then hours more hunched over my computer trying to reteach myself enough R and stats to properly run and understand the code. When it all came together, my arms shot up in the air like Rocky’s did after he ran up the stairs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Although it took me a little more than the predicted hour, I nevertheless got it done and received three p-values for my effort (two for the leaf litter data and one for the tree height data).
I found out later that I could’ve just used an online calculator to run the tests. Oh well.
During the symposium, I had an extreme case of butterflies. But once I calmed down and was able to pay attention to the others, I was taken aback by the extent of our group’s research efforts. Jade took 1,015 samples of coarse woody debris. Trevor, Julia, and Kyla counted over 1200 polypores within the span of one day. Not to mention the 430 trees that Joyce and I measured during or data collection. In total, we planted 5,034 trees on 21 different properties. Deb asked us afterwards if, at the beginning of the trip, we would have believed we could have done all this work. I definitely wouldn’t have.
It’s odd not having any more data to collect or trees to plant. It’s one of our last days here in Monteverde, and as I write this from Deb’s dining room table I cannot help but look back on this journey and reminisce. To say that this trip has been a lot would be a severe understatement. It felt like we spent every day working out in the field. And every night I’d go to bed exhausted, not ready to wake up early, put on my rubber boots, and start all over again. However, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I’ll leave Costa Rica in a few days with a sense of accomplishment and pride in the work that our group has done.