Recently, I had the privilege of visiting the tropical country of Costa Rica. Costa Rica is home to over 500,000 species and is one of 20 countries with the highest biodiversity in the world. However, a shining green gem stands out amongst the rest of the vast menagerie of animals found in the country.

In the dense rainforest lives an emerald bird with bright red plumage on its stomach and a golden-green sheen to its wings. However, the most distinct feature of the quetzal is its long tail that's double the length of the bird itself. Found on the males of the species, it shines turquoise blue and brilliant green. While I was there, I visited Los Quetzales National Park, a protected area 76.5 km from San José. This reservation is home to many species of birds like hummingbirds, trogons, tanagers, and most importantly, Resplendent Quetzals.

Waking up at 5 am, I managed to spot a quetzal couple in the treetops overhead. Being in the forest with the peaceful sounds of babbling brooks and the chirps of nightingales made hours go by in minutes. These pockets of nature are plentiful all around Costa Rica and help it become one of the world's most biodiverse countries, making up 30% of the country. In addition, these nature reserves help many animals like the Repledescent Quetzal, whose populations are decreasing in the wild. This trip showed me the beauty of being in nature and the importance of preserving what we have left. What was your most intimate experience with nature around you?

Daniel, May 2022 

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