Field Study and Service-Learning MediaBlog

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.