Journalists become local feast


By Paige Blankenbuehler

SANTA ROSA NATIONAL PARK, Costa Rica — By January 13, the gang of Missouri School of Journalism students found themselves part of a hiking buffet for the ravenous black flies of the region.

We were trekking through Rincón de la Viejá National Park within Costa Rica’s broader Área de Conservación Guanacaste. The Costa Rican section of the “Ring of Fire” is here and home to the country’s most active volcano, Rincón. Amongst a backdrop of beautiful views and gurgling, hot sulphur waters, a steady swarm of the flies seemed to follow us along the way.

We swatted and shooed, but even our best efforts to abate them were fruitless. Some of us — as you can see from the graphic above — were especially fruitful for the bloodthirsty flies.

It took a day for the devastation to truly settle in; though bitten, we had no realization of the coming fierceness of the itching. Now, we’re at the Santa Rosa National Park field station and have formally assessed the damage: 319 bug bites in all. Thanks to our field guide, Bethany, and copious amounts of itch cream and antihistamine pills, we’re hanging in there!

3 thoughts on “Journalists become local feast

  1. Debbie Allen says:

    Fascinating report, Paige! Of all the blog posts I’ve read over the years of this rigorous intersession study abroad program, I believe your story of insect-human interaction is the first well documented account, complete with a graph!

  2. Maureen Kemp says:

    I am duly impressed, Paige. You have the knack for great reporting, no matter the subject matter! I am sure (especially after seeing your statistic on the beautiful graph) that the bug bites were the biggest story of the day for all of you….but most especially for you and Justin. I’m sure you were miserable, and it detracted from the beauty of your surroundings.

  3. But you left your clothes on! Classes I’ve led in Costa Rica did real quantitative studies, measuring skin area and wearing only undies. Get scientific! 😉

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