Six sophomores are studying abroad in Monteverde, Costa Rica this winter. Over the past two weeks, students have continued their academic courses while immersing themselves in the biodiversity of the Children’s Eternal Rainforest.
Last weekend we took a three day trip to San Gerardo Field Station. The station is very remote, situated deep into the Childrens’ Eternal Rainforest, Costa Rica’s largest private reserve, purchased by school kids in the 1980s to protect this area of biodiversity from deforestation.
Our experiences there were amazing to say the least. Throughout the whole trip there was no phone service, making the time we spent together all the more meaningful. The trip began with a hike deep down into the forest with Mark, our incredibly knowledgeable guide for the weekend. After stopping many times to observe the flora and fauna, we made it, sopping wet, to the Field Station. We warmed up and were presented with an amazing array of hot food. Later in the afternoon we had the opportunity to relax in hammocks on the porch before beginning a night hike back into the forest to experience nocturnal wildlife.
Saturday was filled with wonderful adventures, documenting all of the amazing things that we saw. We also had the unique experience of spending an hour or so alone in the forest. As we hiked out the next morning the sun began to shine, revealing incredible views of Volcano Arenal nearby. This trip was an incredible way to understand the rainforest around us better.
In Monteverde, we have had many experiences of being immersed in nature or working hands-on with animals. Saturday we went on a trip to Kathia's farm. This trip brought new experiences for all of us. We had many opportunities to learn at the farm such as brushing, saddling and riding horses, milking cows, and feeding the calves from bottles. Working a farm takes enormous effort; for example, Kathia's husband Celimo has to tend to the horses and cows, cut and shred the grass to feed them, and constantly fix things around the property. Everything on the farm was hand-built by Celimo himself, which makes it all seem more amazing. Seeing how everything works on the farm makes you appreciate the dedication that it takes to maintain it.
Right after the farm we visited a butterfly garden. We began with a presentation where they showed many different insects like scorpions and stick bugs. We learned that stick bugs have made many adaptations, such as disconnecting one of their limbs if they are being attacked. Afterward we explored many large enclosed habitats, each one being made to suit a different climate and altitude, filled with different plants and butterflies that were specific to that region. We learned that butterflies also have many adaptations to survive in the wild, such as having colorations that look similar to other butterflies that are poisonous, thereby discouraging predators. The whole group really enjoyed seeing the different species of butterflies and learning about their adaptations.
- Off-Campus Program
- Proctor en Monteverde