Field Study and Service-Learning MediaBlog

17 June, 2006

Quepos: Manuel Antonio National Park

 Manuel Antonio National Park
One of the prettiest beaches in Costa Rica.  It is also one of the most visited national parks.

Learning about Park Management
Receiving a presentation from a representative of the National Park
Ministry (MINAE) at Manuel Antonio.

16 June, 2006

Orotina: Turu Bari

 Orchid Garden Visit
Valerie, Adam, and Verla (left to right) during a visit to an orchid garden.

Iguana Farm
Carmen, Miguel, Gia, and Verla at an iguana farm in the 
Central Pacific region.

A traditional trapiche: Animal-powered sugar cane production facility.

15 June, 2006

Palmares: Madre Verde Reserve

 'Day of the Tree' Activity
Primary school students planting seedlings during a 'Day of the Tree' ceremony the group 
assisted with. Local schools planted trees as part of a reforestation project, 
and each participant became a godparent to a school's tree.

Visiting a Butterfly Garden
Gia and Valerie in the butterfly enclosure of the women's butterfly cooperative.

Butterfly Garden
Valerie and Miguel at a butterfly garden. This is the section where
butterfly pupae grow into caterpillars.

Carmen with a Blue Morpho Caterpillar
Carmen holding a Blue Morpho butterfly caterpillar during a visit to the
women's cooperative buttery farm. 

San Ramón: Finca Patriana Organic Coffee Farm

Organic Coffee Plantation
Learning about organic/bird-friendly coffee production at a coffee farm in San Ramon. 

Sampling Organic Coffee
The group tasting organic coffee after learning about production and touring the farm. 
From left to right are Valerie, Gia, Adam, Verla and Brack.

14 June, 2006

Grecia: Women's Agroindustrial Association

Group at Medicinal Garden
Study group during a visit to a medicinal garden in Grecia where natural
health care products are produced by a women's cooperative.

Natural Health Care Products Association Visit
Visiting a cottage industry production facility where natural health care products
are produced from medicinal plants on-site.

Heredia: Recycled Paper Production

Learning How to Make Ecopaper
A visit to an ecopaper facility in Heredia where artisanry paper is
manufactured from banana, coffee, pineapple, and grasses.

Academic Guidance from Dr. Brown
Dr. Brown providing academic guidance to Alejandra,
Rachel, Valerie and Verla (left to right).

12 June, 2006

San José: Environmental Sustainability & City Visit

 Sustainable Development Presentation
A series of presentations on sustainable development in Costa Rica by Jaime Echeverria of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and Dr. Miguel Karian of Earth Education International.

A Natural 'Pharmacy' in the Central Market
During our visit to the Central Market in San Jose we stopped at a 'natural pharmacy.'
Here every conceivable herb is available for any ailment!

'Hale Ale'
Alejandra on the balcony of her room at the first field site location: 
El Maranon Lodge on the outskirts of San Jose.

  Peace Monument Visit
Visiting the peace monument and park at the University for Peace.
From left to right are Miguel, Rachel, Carmen, Verla and Gia.

13 January, 2006

Playa Langosta: Las Baulas National Park

Michelle S. (Program Participant) with Baby Leatherback Sea Turtle 
Our volunteer work at Las Baulas National Park included collecting data on baby leatherback turtles. In addition, those that emerged from their nest during daylight hours were re-released at night to
increase their chances of survival.


 Leatherback Sea Turtle Conservation: Volunteer Work Schedule
The course included a four-day volunteer service-learning visit to Las Baulas National Park to assist with conservation efforts of the endangered Leatherback sea Turtles. There we worked in shifts protecting the hatchery during the day, and patrolled the beach at night for nesting females to collect data and ensure the safety of the eggs.


Field Station at Las Baulas National Park 
 The meeting area of the field station at Las Baulas National Park, Playa Langosta sector--where we assisted with conservation efforts of the endangered leatherback sea turtles.

10 January, 2006

Santa Rosa National Park

Tropical Dry Forest Hike in Santa Rosa National Park
In addition to tropical rain forest, we also visited a tropical dry forest,
the most threatened of tropical forests.

09 January, 2006

La Fortuna: Medicinal Plant Garden

 Medicinal Plant Garden Tour
During our visit to the Fortuna region, we toured a medicinal plant garden and shampoo
production facility to learn about tropical medicinal plants and their uses.

07 January, 2006

Guatuso: Maleku Indigenous Reserve

 Indigenous Cultural Theatre Group
During our visit to the Indigenous community of the Maleku, we witnessed an indegenous
cultural theatre representation of human environmental impact on the natural world.

Learning Artisanry Practices of the Maleku 
During our visit to the Maleku Community, we were offered a chance to learn artisanry
practices first-hand by each making a hand-carved and/or painted gourd. 

Visit to a Green Iguana Conservation Project 
 We visited the Green Iguana Conservation project of the Maleku community. This project raises and releases Iguanas to the surrounding region in an attempt to counter the rapidly decreasing populations of this important cultural and biological heritage.

Learning About Indigenous Plant Uses 
 We learned about Indigenous plant uses by the Maleku community. In addition to sampling cacau, square bananas, sugar cane, and yucca (among others), we also had a lunch that included traditionally-prepared food and drink. 

06 January, 2006

San Ramón: Alberto Brenes Biological Reserve

Hiking into the Alberto Brenes Biological Reserve near San Ramon
Our exploration of tropical ecosystems during the course included a one-night stay at a biological field station located in premontane rain forest. Here we are hiking the 4+ Km necessary to reach the station, which is administered by the University of Costa Rica. 

05 January, 2006

Palmares: Madre Verde Reserve

 Reforestation in Action: Tree-Planting Activity
Assisting with reforestation efforts of the Madre Verde (Green Mother) watershed
conservation project in Palmares by planting a native palm tree.

Hike in a Watershed Conservation Area 
 We hiked through the Madre Verde (Green Mother) conservation project and biological corredor. Along the way we saw forests in various stages of regeration. We were also able to view the surrounding communities of Palmares and San Ramon (shown here in the background).

04 January, 2006

Poas National Park & Volcano

Cloud Forest of Poas Volcano
View of the cloud forest from one of the lookout points near the crater of Poas volcano.

Hands-on Learning: Cloud Forest Ecology
Our itinerary included learning about tropical cloud forests first-hand on the high-elevation Poas volcano.

Natural History of Costa Rica: View of the Central Valley
Meghan, Christine & Jes (back row, L to R) with Michelle L. (front) at a lookout point of the central valley of Costa Rica from the upper slopes of the Poas Volcano at an elevation of about 2000 meters. There we discussed the natural history of Costa Rica and enjoyed the view.

02 January, 2006

San José: National Museum & City Visit

San Jose Visit
Our visits to varied tropical ecosystems, conservation projects, and rural communities in
Costa Rica was accented by a visit to the 'concrete jungle' of San Jose, the capital city.

National Museum of Costa Rica
 Our visit to San Jose included an optional tour of the National Museum in downtown San Jose.
Shown here (L to R) are Michelle L., Nicole & Miguel.

Introduction to Tropical Ecology
 We started our two week experiential-learning course with an introduction to
tropical ecology at the Costa Rican National Biodiversity Institute.