Costa Rica Summer Program
Our Costa Rica program is ideal for high school students with a strong interest in environmental sustainability, and particularly regenerative agriculture and sustainable living. Your Sustainable Summer experience will span from Costa Rica’s legendary Pacific beaches to the tropical rainforests near its Caribbean coast. You’ll be living in or alongside some of Costa Rica’s most important biological reserves while learning about integrated sustainability initiatives to protect these valuable resources, and the many challenges that remain.
Picture yourself living on an organic farm on the edge of a national park, where you’ll help produce the food that sustains the local community. Or on a guided night hike through Costa Rica’s virgin rainforest, when the jungle really comes alive. You’ll feel the rush of rafting Costa Rica’s world famous whitewater, play soccer with local kids, and come to understand why the essential Costa Rican phrase – pura vida – is the perfect embodiment of this beautiful place and the Tico people that call it home.
Why Costa Rica?
Costa Rica has been the model for sustainable economic development in Latin America for a generation. With the capability to meet 100% of its energy needs from renewables, no standing military, a high quality of life, and a legacy of conservation, can Costa Rica’s successes serve as a bridge to a future model for development?
In this Sustainable Summer Program…
- You’ll visit an indigenous community and learn traditional agricultural practices
- You’ll learn about the implementation of small-scale, decentralized, and renewable energy production
- You’ll take a short course on regenerative agriculture and the renowned EARTH University
- You’ll harvest crops and practice permaculture at an organic farm
- You’ll develop homesteading skills such as fermentation and soap-making
- You’ll learn about natural building and work with natural building materials and techniques
As a result of participation, our objective is that students will be able to…
- Effectively communicate the principles of sustainable development and recognize these standards within the context of Costa Rican environmental and economic systems
- Describe the difference between primary and secondary forest
- Understand and explain some of the ecosystem services provided by the rainforest
- Understand and explain the environmental and economic benefits of natural building techniques in tropical regions of the world
- Understand how the ecotourism economy is affecting different regions of Costa Rica in different ways
- Understand the environmental and societal benefits of community-owned means of production
- Understand the environmental benefits of polycultures, site-based natural building design, and small-scale food processing
- Understand some of the economic and political reasons why sustainable development and conservation initiatives are unsuccessful
- Understand the basic characteristics and ecological importance of tropical riparian zones, and some of the environmental and social threats to the Pacuare River watershed
- Understand the fermentation process and other food preservation techniques along with associated health benefits
- Understand the rationale for and benefits of multi-stakeholder decision making in the development and management of natural resources
- Demonstrate beginner paddling technique, including basic paddling strokes, identifying different “features” in the river, awareness of hazards, and competence to navigate a kayak or raft in Class II whitewater