Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Revisiting Playa Grande, Costa Rica

Sunset at Playa Grande, Costa Rica - nesting site for the Pacific leatherback sea turtles!
Copyright (c) 2013 Wendee Nicole

I still have one more post yet to come from Costa Rica, but I first wanted to share the photos from our visit to Playa Grande, which is on the Pacific side of the small country in the Guanacaste region. We went here the last 2 days of our trip, and it was really poignant to go back to the place where, in 1999, I traveled to blog for The Discovery Channel for two weeks. The blog was called Love & Death on Turtle Beach and it was a wonderful moment in my life, right before a really bad part started!

Speaking of adventures, my next one begins this week! I will be headed to northern Cali again and staying with my friend Miranda Spencer and her hubster Bob Brulle who is doing a sabbatical at Stanford. We will be going to Sonoma where we will do a mud bath (naked!), hot springs, and wineries. We plan to visit Bachelor Ben Flajnik's winery, Envolve, which has its "tasting room" in Sonoma. I was interested that the wine is organic and raised using biodynamic techniques, though I so far have been unable to get a hold of them to possibly interview them for a story. I'm super excited to see my niece's mom and my friend Zofia, who I havent seen since I was en route to Dutch Harbor, Alaska! We spent the day together in San Fran! (and then I missed my flight, but it wasn't because I was late back to the airport, even!)

After Sonoma, Miranda, Bob & I plan to go camping in Big Sur. I've never been there, and it looks so gorgeous - very reminiscent of the Oregon coastline. I'm also applying to Stanford's EIPER PhD program for 2014... so will be meeting with some professors while there. Wish me luck! I am studying for the GRE lately... while writing and trying to get my house ready to sell next year. And without further adieu, here are the photos from one of the loveliest places in the world...

Seeing this hatchery again was so cool. I remember like it was yesterday sitting in the sand with Dana Drake, watching her sift through a nest, counting unhatched eggs and gathering turtles for release. You can read the blog post I wrote that day, The Hatchery.

A view of the beach through the palms.

Heidi strolling along the beach at sunset. We walked up and down the beach, taking photos and enjoying the sunset.

Another shot of the sunset. I am partial to sunset photos! And especially sunsets on the beach...

I was thinking this was Roca Bruja - Witch's Rock - a popular surf spot, but that is actually at Playa Naranjo. I don't know if this one has a name but it sure was a beautiful, peaceful evening. After the sunset, we ate at Hotel Las Tortugas, which was the place we ate at nightly during my two week stay there in 1999. They even had the same utterly delicious arroz con palmito dish (rice with hearts of palm) that I have been raving about for 14 years now! Then we walked out on the beach in the dark and looked at the stars, using the iPhone app on Gustavo's phone. It's funny because it ws a new moon yet the sky was not near as dark as I remember it back in Dec 1999. It was just utterly pitch dark then!

A shot of a wave as it crashes into the shore.

Me on the beach - a bit dark but there ya go! We stayed at the Hotel Tamarindo Diria, in neighboring Tamarindo, which was really nice but a massive 4-star resort/hotel with a golf course, etc.

On the long drive to Playa Grande from Heredia, where we stayed the nights before, we stopped at this roadside spot where Gustavo, our guide, knew that scarlet macaws were frequently spotted - Limonal. Sure enough, there was one!

Another shot. We only saw one macaw, but often there are several.
Another shot of the beautiful bird!

Last but not least, here are my latest articles:

*  I'm Carbon Neutral. Are You? Ensia Magazine, published online May 20, 2013. A closer look at the voluntary carbon offset market.

Adventurers Collect Data for Biologists: A Natural Symbiosis. BioScience. May 2013.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

A Writing Award!

Yours truly receiving the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) award for best article in the science/tech/biz category at the annual conference award ceremony. Thank you! Photo by Diana Pachecho, ASJA

All human nature vigorously resists grace because grace changes us and the change is painful. -Flannery O'Connor

I just returned from a quick trip to New York City where I attended the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) conference, and received my first national award for one of my articles. I feel very honored and blessed! It was for my article, Did Tap Water Kill Lou Gehrig? (the online title is slightly different). Here's a snapshop of the award itself:

I will post more photos from NYC soon, but I still need to finish posting my photos from the Costa Rica trip! But I wanted to post a quick update along with links to my latest article:

  Secret Ingredients (PDF): Who knows what's in your food? Environmental Health Perspectives April 2013 (online non-PDF version here).

This feature is all about food colorings, flavorings and other additives in our food, many apparently unregulated by the FDA... who knew? That's why it's called Secret Ingredients!

I have a feature coming up about environmental justice and the hog industry in North Carolina next month, which came out of my attending Professor Steve Wing's session at the National Association of Science Writers (NASW) conference in NC last October (which I blogged about here). And I finished a piece on carbon offsets for Ensia, that should be out fairly soon, and right now I'm working on a piece about EARTH University and its unique sustainable agriculture education for students from around the world.