Fronsy thought he had the best job in the world. He lived in a tree house, 40 feet off the ground, in the rain forest canopy. He could stay in the tree for as long as he wanted and never come down. He had a bed and a writing desk, cords,ropes and netting for swinging between the branches, and a tarp stretched out above to keep out rain. He had a digital camera and solar panels to run his computer. He even had a long rope attached to a pulley for hauling food and equipment up to his house.
Fronsy was a scientist. His job was to record and observe wildlife, temperature and weather conditions all around him. The canopy was the top layer of the forest, where the tallest trees could reach the light, and many animals lived and played. Each layer of the forest was the home for different types of creatures, and from his perch, Fronsy could watch them all.
He would photograph long lines of leaf cutter ants bringing parts of leaves and flowers to their nests. These small creatures were farmers. They didn't eat the plant parts, but grew fungus on them, deep in their hives, which would be a good source of food for the whole colony.
Some nights, Fronsy would wake up to see sloths moving very slowly through the trees. They would watch, turning their flexible necks and looking curious. The sloths mostly nap though, and can be awak during the day too. He might spot the monkey like kinkajous, with their big bright eyes. Down below, in the early morning light, Fronsy could see anteaters and peccaries moving about and grazing for bugs and grubs in the foliage of the forest floor.
Plants grew on the forest floor, and on the branches and trunks of the trees themselves. It rains so much here,that plants get everything they needed from the moist air and bark. These plants were called epiphytes and the most beautiful of them are the flowering orchids. Fronsy checked how fast they grew and peeked into the ones with large leaves full of rain water. There could be small tadpoles swimming in these canopy pools or full grown colorful frogs.
Fronsy saw sleeping bats hang upside down from branches and colorful butterflies. He watched walking sticks, beetles and insects which immitated the shape of tree leaves. He kept a careful look out for snakes that climbed trees. Wild parrots would perch around his tree house and call to each other. Fronzy could call to them and they would repeat what he said. It was nice to hear them call "Hello!" from the tree tops. Small colorful tanagers came right to his desk to eat scraps of juicy papayas or mangos. They would be so engaged in the treat that they would forget he was there. He could take many photos of them from close up.
Part of Fronsy's job was to identify everything he saw. If he found a new plant, bug, berry or creature, that he didn't know, he'd search in his guide books and on the computer to find its name. Then he'd draw it, photograph it, write about it, and send it down the tree for more information about what it was and what it was good for. A few plants were good to eat, but others were better as medicine. There were leaves and barks that could treat itches, repel insects, bring down a fever or be a natural snake bite antidote. A few insects and animals were so unusual that Fronsy was one of the first to know about them!
Most people only go to the rain forest for a short hike, or rappel through on an adventure tour or canopy walk, but Fronsy got to know a lot more by living in it. He knew the hooting howls of the big howler monkeys, the dashing crackles that the tapirs made in the underbrush, and the glistening bright colors of poison dart frogs who looked like they were made of plastic. Fronsy learned to swing on vines and ropes and blend in with the forest. When Fronsy came down, he would have a lot of special secrets to share with the world!