Name: Jessica Robinson Age: 28 From: Colorado Springs, CO USA
Three and a half years ago, I joined the Peace Corps with the intention of “following my dream” and helping others discover theirs. I was sent to a small and isolated community in Costa Rica where I did everything from teaching English and environmental awareness to building a playground and multiuse basketball court.
When I was given the opportunity to go to Cocos Island, as a volunteer for a month I thought, “Why not?” as I knew my time as a Peace Corps volunteer would soon end and this opportunity was a once-in-a-lifetime offer.
|Jessica sits atop buoys harvested from thwarted illegal fishing efforts|
Little did I know about Cocos Island… its beauty, its charm, or even its struggles. As anyone who is unfamiliar with a place, I looked it up on Wikipedia and choose to be content with its information. I am going to “the most beautiful place in the world” I was telling my friends, “a protected National Park.” After arriving on the island, taking some time to enjoy its splendor, and spending a few weeks working with the park rangers, I can agree with the statement “one of the most beautiful place in the world,” however; I was completely taken by surprise to learn that this enchanting place was far from being protected.
Cocos Island is teaching me man I anticipated and now I think, “How could I have spent the entirety of my 28 years unaware of its existence?!” To some, this might sound a bit ignorant, but I believe that I am not alone and I am not the exception. It is a shame really, as Cocos Island is magical and everyday I am surprised by its beauty. It has given me a new knowledge and perspective on life and on conservation. It has provided me with opportunities that are now repaving my future plans, as I am now considering becoming a dive master and studying marine biology and conservation. As I learn more about the island and its beautiful inhabitants below and above the sea, the more I realize the dire need to protect it. At times, we may feel small, powerless and incapable of changing the world, but...
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." ~Margaret Meade