Scientist for the Day in Costa Rica

Here’s a blog post from the Costa Rica crew:

7/4 – Happy 4th of July! Today we were researcher for a day. We studied the biodiversity of the rainforest. We broke up into three groups to study the plant life in plots we marked out. We gave them cool names like Lou Ellen or Hong Komg. It’s amazing that we calculated approximately 1557 species in the Tirimbina forest! It blew my mind that we found almost 50 species in 32 square meters.

When we broke for lunch we ate at the Tirimbina ecolodge. During our lunch break we checked out a map of Costa Rica to see where we had gone. After lunch we researched the biodiversity of trees in a different area. We learned that the rainforest canopy is between 20-30m high. The largest tree we calculated was over 31m! At the Tirimbina lodge we made charts of the view of the canopy. On our way back to our jungle casita we stopped at the supermercado for snacks. Everyone craved sugar after so many days without candy.

My favorite part of the day was journaling about “interdependence.” We all shared our work after dinner in an “interdependence art gallery.” I enjoyed hearing about other peoples opinions about being connected to all life around us. We ended our night with some 4th of July fussball and some chill vibes. – Rafael group journal entry

7/5 – Today was filled with a hodge podge of interesting and exciting topics from ant hunting to passionate debates and even as crazy Latin dancing. Some of the crew even pushed themselves further by waking up early to run the rocky hills of Chilamate. It was a nice way to start the morning strong.

For our last day at Chilamate, we put on our lab coats to play “scientist for a day.” Once we grabbed our magnifying glasses, rubber boots, and tweezers we split into groups and went ant hunting.

Then during lunch (delicious empanadas) Megan, the co-owner of Chilamate, told us her and her husband’s story of buying and building the Chilamate Eco-tourism and conservation lodge. It was quite fascinating how the idea of Chilamate came to be and how interconnected it is with the local community.

After lunch we examind our ants, separated them, and classified them. It was interesting to see how different locations accomadate a different variety of ants. Did you know Costa Rica has 600 species of ants!?

Following the researching activity we got the opportunity to test our debate skills with a mock town hall meeting, a necessary tool for being an environmental leader. Passion was flowing, and everyone played their part well. Mimi and Karendid a great job being our faithful mayors.

After dinner with the hard work being over we all got to play a little, break out ofour comfort zone, and have some fun learning how to Latin Dance. Dona Digna and her family graciously hosted us as we tested our feet and our hips on the dance floor. I think I speak for everyone when I say it was a blast, a memory of a lifetime. Although everyone moved rather well with the beat, the one who took the cake was definitely Robbie who surprised everyone with his stellar dance moves and loose Latin vibes! Time flies when you’re having fun, before we knew it, it was time to go home. It was difficult leaving especially after the amazing fiesta and delicious cake, but it was most certainly the BEST way to end the night!