“My favorite place in the world!”

Nov 01, 2019

Since I was a child, I always dreamed of traveling to many parts of the world, knowing new cultures, getting new experiences, pursuing new goals. I’ve always seen the United States of America as a giant full of adventures and wonderful people, that’s why it was always on my list of favorite places to meet.

I am Mario Jiménez, 23 years old and I am from Costa Rica, raised in a low-income family. I spent most of my childhood surrounded by the wonderful forests of the Costa Rican Caribbean. I always had the impression that there could be no trees larger than those my eyes were watching, but I discovered a wonderful place at the age of 8 through my little television … Redwood National and State Park … I was amazed by the impressive Sequoia trees in this magnificent and imposing park. From that little moment I fell in love and I said to myself “Someday I’ll see those trees with my own eyes.” For me, at that time it was just a dream, a fleeting desire as a child, and I soon forgot it without knowing that divine destiny would have prepared a surprise for me.

My life as a conservationist began at the age of 20 just after obtaining my bachelor’s degree in Forest Management and Wildlife. It was in the South Caribbean when I first got involved with the Great Green Macaw Reintroduction Program, and from that moment I was impregnated with their beauty and intelligence.
Three years after that, I was presented with the opportunity to work with the Macaw Recovery Network and its research program of the Great Green Macaw in its natural habitat in the North Caribbean of Costa Rica, at this moment in my life is where all my dreams were to be fulfilled.
In October this year, I had the great opportunity to attend one of the biggest conservation events in the world: Wildlife Conservation Network Expo 2019. An event that happens every year in the gigantic city of San Francisco, located in California and guess what else is in California? Exactly!!! Those Redwoods that I had dreamt about for my whole life!
We planned the trip in a way that we had the opportunity to travel around before the WCN Event. And I had the joy of making the trip accompanied by great people such as: Sam Williams (MRN Director), Sarah Williams (Development MRN) and Maricela Porter (Programs Manager MRN).

We stayed at the house of two wonderful donors and I had never experienced being so cold in my life, but in the same way it was amazing. Their house was surrounded by immense trees, so as a bird lover I had the opportunity to see the Crow for the first time, that may seem very common but it is certainly impressive. And I also had the joy of seeing Apple trees which was definitely a delicious experience.

And as the highlight of the trip, I had the opportunity to fulfill my childhood dream, to finally see the tallest trees in the world. We made a 4-hour walk through the Red Woods, I will never forget the emotion I felt that day.

After so many years, I was standing there in front of some of the tallest and oldest trees in the world..

After having spent 3 days surrounded by Redwoods, wonderful people and many apples, we headed to the city of San Francisco. When I think of San Francisco, 3 things come to mind: Golden Gate, WCN and very friendly people. Never in my life had I seen so many people together, full of love for animals, for me it was a unique experience.

I met people from all over the world, people who work with Elephant, Lions, Pangolins, Dolphins, Penguins, Spectacled Bears, Cheetahs, Painted Dogs, Orangutans, etc.

Without a doubt, it was an experience that inspires and gives hope. The week there was undoubtedly the best in my life, having the opportunity to talk to people who work with animals that can only be seen on television is something that leaves you speechless, I have no words to describe the sea of emotions that I have felt.

I want to thank WCN and the donors who made my biggest dream come true.

Mario Jiménez Segura
Field Team Leader, Sarapiqui
Macaw Recovery Network

About the Author