Friday, July 5, 2013

Missing Costa Rica

 Time is just flying by, I have already been home for almost two weeks and it has felt like months sense I have left the amazing country of Costa Rica. . I am no longer waking up at 5am.  With in a day I feel back into my old routine. Which is unfortunate I somewhat enjoyed rising with the sun, giving me a full day of daylight.  Our last few days where spent at the beach of Puerto Viejo, which where some of my favorite days of the trip.  Spending days on the hot sands swimming in the crystal blue water, surrounded by lush mountain ranges really was a great way to end the trip. Just the other day I finally assembled my hammock. ( These hammock where sold all over Puerto Viejo and we where all told by professor Wasko that we should  buy them).  It was definitely worth the thirty bucks. I kind of wished I bought two. Other than the beach I really enjoyed the volcanic hike we went to. After the hike we hiked to the cool waterfall that had small little pool it was just so refreshing and nice.  Fresh fruit is another thing I really miss; the bananas and pineapple just don’t taste the same here, I Don’t think all ever find a sweeter banana unless I go back to Costa Rica.

Emily Martoglio 

 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

(no subject)

Wow! Has it really been a week since I was in Costa Rica? The last few days we spent on the Caribbean. It was such a picture perfect place. I got to snorkel and with fish, and got to see real coral ( and it didn't blow up!) I went for a nature walk off the beach, and got to see a real pit-viper snake! Our Professor Dennis Wasko also gave a lecture on Snakes as well during the last part of our trip. I learned there were some places where quakers had settled in like Monte Verde. I still haven't unpacked most of my belongings, but I made the 1820 cafe i purchased in Costa Rica, and it is so amazing! The last stop of our trip was San Jose where we walked around, and shopped the last day. It was such a bitter-sweet good-bye leaving the country. If i could, i would so do this again. I made amazing friends on this adventure, saw everything i dreamed of seeing, and learned about the natural habitat out there. 

-Michelle Drayer

 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

At Guanacaste I went horseback riding  for the first time and it was amazing. We went to Monte Verde which is a cloud rain forest that was high up in the mountains. We were actually driving through the clouds it was really cool. This is where we went zip lining over the canopy of the rain forest; it was my first time and it was really fun. Another highlight was visiting professor Wasko's colleague alex at her beautiful farm. She was showing us new growth forest and it was interesting trying guess the ages of the trees. I was surprised to find out how young they were. My favorite  part of the  course was at La Selva it was amazing with all the life we saw there from the strangler fig tree that consumes another tree for nutrients to the howlers monkeys that never be quiet. Another amazing thing we did at La Selva was a night hike we so many frogs, a snake, and a cayman which looks like a small alligator.  At one one point we had to turn back because we had a bad run in with attacking army ants. After we left La Selva we went to Puerto Viejo the was beautiful there. We went snorkeling the next day and saw a lot of fish but the coolest one was the lion fish, and we also a big crab. When we got on the shore  we stopped and had some delicious fruit on the beach. There I saw hermit crabs everywhere which I thought were pretty cool. Now I'm in San Jose on the last day, and I have picked up a lot of knowledge from this course. Especially learning about the biodiversity of Costa Rica. If you love animals or science you should take this course, and professor Wasko is a great professor that you will learn a lot from.

Nicholas Oliver

Walking through the woods at La Selva Biological Station with our tour guide Kenneth our group was able to see a vast array of different species ranging from mammals, insects, and reptiles. In just a few minutes we were able to see Howler Monkeys, Capuchin Monkeys, and Spider Monkeys, a rare site to see all in one area at once. I was lucky enough to catch this on video with Kenneth and Professor Wasko pointing out were each one was. Along with three different species of monkeys we got to see Bullet Ants, (the largest ant I've ever seen!!) Leaf Cutter Ants, Cicadas, and Army Ants. Still on the same trip we saw one or two different species of frogs including one massive Bull Frog. La Selva was one of my favorite parts of the trip and the reason why I wanted to blog about it. Seeing the different birds (that I have more videos of) that you would never see anywhere other than Costa Rica helped make this one unforgettable trip for me.
-Eric Ryalls

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Bell Birds

Today the class and I received a lecture from one of Alex's colleagues and friends who is heavily involved with a conservation project which deals directly with the reforestation in Costa Rica. She gave us a presentation on the "Poster child" of the project which is the Bell bird. These birds are specifically located in Central America and common in Costa Rica. The class and I learned a lot about Bell birds.There is a major difference between the male and female Bell birds. Both sexes are born with feathers that camouflage with the forest and lack wattles. Wattles develop solely on the male bids later in life. Wattles are long black tubes that grow from the birds face and hang down beside the beak. They fill with blood when the male bird is angered and trying to look tough or are trying to impress the females. The male Bell Birds also change in color to become much more bold looking. The females remain the way they are born in order to blend in and protect themselves and their family. The bell birds are territorial but not aggressively. The project uses this bird as their poster child to help broadcast why reforestation is so important. They have many goals including balancing the needs of humans and balancing the needs of organisms. The project has been planting trees of many species in open areas to break the open space in which many animals can not cross or survive in. With the amount of effort and time they have put in, the project has accomplished a lot and continues to. the presentation taught the class and i a lot. I am excited to learn more as the trip continues.

Danielle Pelletier

 
Today was our last day in Costa Rica. We started off this morning traveling from Puerto Viejo to San Jose on a long 4 hour bus ride. On our way to Puerto Viejo Alex pointed out the banana plantations and told us to notice the blue bags hanging on the trees. These blue bags covered the bananas to keep animals and bugs away but these blue bags also have chemicals inside them to help the bananas not go bad and ripe as they are being transported to the states and Europe. Alex also informed us as before child labor laws were installed in Costa Rica, young boys around age 13 had a job to move the bananas to the boxes where they would get ready to be exported. Today this job is done by mules. It was neat to be able to drive by all these banana plantations and learn about/ see the banana we eat in the states.
Another interesting fact I learned from Alex on the bus ride was that there really isn't much of a difference between organic and non organic. She told us that if the fruit is organic, they that just means there are no pesticides. Therefore, the organic bananas are covered in plastic. After Alex told us this she brought up a very important point.... Organic bananas that are better for you or worse for the environment?

Carolyn Nowak
Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, June 16, 2013

(no subject)

We have been in La Selva for the past few days in the middle of the rainforest which is huge. Last night a few kids on this course, and i went on a night hike with professor Wasko. I got to see some things i never seen in my life before. For example, i saw a snake that was camoflouged into the ground, a few frogs, a cayman in the swamp, and got bitten by army ants. As well as today, i went on a long hike an saw a few humming birds, and cacada's. Tomorrow is a new adventure to the beach, and i can't wait for snorkeling. Michelle Drayer
So today we got to take a day off and do our own thing, and let me say how nice it was! The past week we've been getting up at 6:30 and it was nice to finally sleep in. With my free day I got up went to breakfast and just laid low. Yesterday was so much fun, we went to Alex's house and it was amazing. We went on a hike of her forest and got to see all of the hard work they have put into re growing the forests on her property. I have experienced a lot on this trip that has changed my perspective on a lot that I will certainly take back with me to the United States.
-Melinda Metzger


Sent from my iPhone

Day 7

Time is just flying by in Costa Rica our trip is quickly coming to end. As of right now we are staying at place called Estacion Biological La Selva Which is pretty cool its one of the top research places in Costa Rica. We have been at La Selva for three days now which is pretty nice not having to pack up our luggage every morning. Last night we went on a nature night hike which was pretty sweet. We saw tones of species of frogs, hundreds of bugs, owls and even a cayman (which looks like a crocodile like creature just smaller). Today was our first and only day off. I was hoping to sleep in to day to make up for all the early mornings we had. But I still managed to wake up at 5am. Later on in the day a couple of us went on a hike in search of a cable cart bridge unfortunately we never found it. :( Though we ended up walking about 5500 meters. So on the plus side we got to burned off a lot of energy. Tomorrow we had off to the beach. It seems everyone's little excited to put out feet up and soak up some vitamin d. Emily Martoglio
Today was a pretty exciting day. We went to Selvatura which is kind of like an adventure park. At the park we did zip lining which was pretty exciting. The course was well worth the price it took over an hour and up hill walking but was well worth it. After the zip line was done and over with we went to the hummingbird garden and saw at least 50 of hummingbirds in one spot. It was pretty awesome. I have never seen so many hummingbirds in one spot. After the garden we proceeded to canopy walk. Which, like everything else, was pretty awesome. We were pretty high up so we could see parts of the canopy that we could not see on the forest floor. Along one of the walk ways we saw howler monkeys in the tree tops. It was pretty cool that they travel in packs. After we finished that we went to the bat jungle which was interesting. Then after that we went to listen to a speaker talk about bellbird conservation and about this project she is working on. Overall it was a pretty productive day.

   -Nina Germain