Field Biologist is the story of 22-year-old Tyler Christensen, a talented but underemployed high school graduate from New Jersey still trying to figure out what to do with his life. Tyler’s great love is being outside, chasing birds and studying wildlife. One day he decides—brushing aside his lack of a college degree or scientific credentials—to drop everything and travel to Costa Rica to start doing his own conservation-oriented research on birds in the tropics.
Tyler’s adventure takes him from the cloud forests of Monteverde to the mangrove swamps of the Nicoya Peninsula, culminating in a plan to try to help save the highly endangered mangrove hummingbird. The film presents the major challenges facing biodiversity on Earth—climate change and habitat destruction chief among them—while also raising some fundamental questions: What makes someone a scientist? How important is a formal education? What risks are worth taking? What should you do with your life?