Some 16 years ago, the upbeat Dutch Patricia started an educational floral and plant conservatory as well as a habitat for animals in need: Tree of Life, situated on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica in Cahuita. Everyday she offers a tour at 11AM, to tell visitors about the centers’ activities and the stories behind the rescued animals.
The first time I visited Tree of Life was during one of these tours, because I needed to write an article for The Costa Rica News. Afterwards Patricia told me there’s always a lot of stuff that needs to be done at the wildlife rescue center. Et voilà; that’s how I started my year of volunteering at the Tree of Life, together with two other volunteers.
Every Wednesday I drove to Cahuita to do all kinds of stuff: painting benches, cleaning cages, collecting wood on the beach, making toys for the animals, weeding (a LOT of weeding), guidig groups around the area, planting trees, collecting flowers for the sloths, cutting fruit for the visitors, raking the pathways, and so on and on.
I really loved those mornings over there – especially since every week something else was going on at the rescue center. Apart from that I learned tons of stuff about the conservation of animals and the peculiarities of plants. Patricia and her coworkers Jhannil and Marvin are taking such good care of the animals in here; they offer them as much space as possible in their botanical garden. Nonetheless, the idea is that every animal needs to be reintroduced as soon as possible into the wild.
As always I had my camera with me and therefore I was able to capture many moments along the way. Note that not all of the animals pictured below are rescues, some of them are walking or flying around freely in the garden, attracted by the sounds and smells of the other animals. I hope the photos reflect part of the wonderful work that’s being done over there, on the edge of Cahuita!