Meredith Abroad in Costa Rica: Tropical Ecosystems - Summer 2013
Three weeks studying in cloud, coastal, and wet forests, as well as a marine reserve, spending time with Costa Ricans, known as “ticos,” and experiencing “pura vida,” the pure life this Central American country is renowned for.
Dates: May 14 - June 2, 2013 during the first half of the first 6-week summer session
Program Cost: $3,100
Additional Expenses: Airfare (estimated at $800, passport ($155), books ($100), insurance ($35) and cell phone ($50). Miscellaneous spending should average about $200.
For more information about expenses click here.
Our Costa Rican adventure will start with three days in San Jose. We will take day trips to Braulio Carillo National Park for an introduction to the biodiversity of plants and birds for which Costa Rica is known. We will also take a trip to Turrialba Volcano to get a sense of the geology of Costa Rica. Students will then have the opportunity to travel independently for four days, three nights. There are numerous possibilities available to you including canopy tours, rafting, national parks, beaches, and museums. We will meet back in San Jose for one night to prepare for our field adventures. We will use the evening to reflect on travels and our experiences in the rich culture of Costa Rica.
Our journey together will continue with five days at one of the premier facilities for rainforest research in the world: La Selva Biological Station. La Selva is located in the Caribbean lowlands and is home to over 1500 species of plants and 400 species of birds. Students will hike through the lush rainforest trails filled with wildlife to learn about this rapidly disappearing ecosystem. We will have the opportunity to take a day trip exploring the Puerto Viejo River and the wildlife it supports. We will also visit the Chiquita banana plantations in the Caribbean lowlands. You will get the chance to explore the rainforest ecosystem through faculty led research projects. We may take time to go into town and experience the local culture.
Our final destination is at the foot of the Monteverde Cloud Forest, at San Luis Research Station – a biological research station run by the University of Georgia. During your six days in San Luis, you will participate in academic activities throughout the day either while hiking on one of the many rugged trails on the property or listening to a lecture and participating in a discussion in the open-air classroom. You will also have the opportunity to spend time with members of the local community in the surrounding agricultural town of San Luis through planned service projects and spontaneous games of soccer or volleyball. The group will also spend full days in Monteverde exploring the Cloud Forest and visiting other tourist destinations. The course will conclude with three days devoted to independent research projects where you’ll have the opportunity to ask and investigate your own question, and present your findings to the community.
BIO 215 Tropical Ecosystems (4 credit hours). An interdisciplinary field biology course with focus on tropical ecosystems, natural history, and conservation. The ecological complexity of the tropics, the patterns of species diversity and the types of species interactions that characterize these systems are discussed, as well as how these ecological processes are affected by human activities. The approach is experiential, with emphasis on developing scientific skills of observation, analysis, and critical thinking, and applying them to field research.
Prerequisite: Participants must have completed a lab science.
The course can fulfill either your Natural Science Elective/Science in Society OR the Cultural Elective/Perspectives for General Education, but not both.
Students will spend time in the classroom and field exploring the diverse flora and fauna of Costa Rica. You will have the opportunity to conduct independent research projects and discuss conservation efforts throughout the program.
Successful participation in the program also fulfills the Global Perspectives General Education Requirement.
Eligibility: Students must be in good social, financial, and academic standing (2.0 minimum GPA).
Director—Dr. Francie Cuffney
Biological Sciences, SMB 105
Meredith reserves the right to make changes in the program itinerary, schedule, cost, academic program, etc., as necessary.