Biology Class Travels to Costa Rica
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Biology Class Travels to Costa Rica

The class I teach is called Tropical Field
Biology and Conservation and in order to do that, I take a group of students to Costa
Rica which is my home country, that’s where I was born and where I worked as a psychology
professor for about fifteen years before coming to Kent State. Uh, so I know the country very
well and, uh, I know the scientific community very well. So when I go there, I take students
to different tropical ecosystems. And every time we go to one place, the students, uh,
do a little experiment. So we get together at the first site, the tropical dry forest
and students learn how to make a question, formulate a hypothosis, and then design an
experiment to test their hypothosis. Everything about the country is very different.
You can be fifty miles apart from one area to the next and it’ll be a totally different
system. All the different plants, all the different
orchids, all the different animals, all the colors, it was really peautiful. I’m Costa Rican so it was a great opportunity
to show my country to other people and at the same time, teach what I like and share
some of what I know to other people. I tried to share a lot of the Costa Rican
culture with my students so in addition to the scientific experience, we hope to provide
students with a very good, uh, cultural experience. Probably the biggest part was how radically
different everyone’s attitude is down there. Everybody is just so optimistic and friendly
and I honestly feel that that changed my outlook on life in general. The food there was awesome, I’ve never eaten
so good in my life. And the last thing we do is we confront them
with, uh, conservation issues. You know, we learn about, uh, they see, they witness, uh,
the destruction of habitats that is critical in all the tropical areas. We talk about it.
We visit banana plantations. We talk about pineapple plantations that are being a big
environmental problem in Costa Rica but we also talk about, uh, jobs. We talk about all the
social problems that are part of the conservation issues that our societies have to deal with. I think it’s an excellent opportunity to,
uh, go outside and see what is out there and learn new things. This is a really hands-on
project, like you have to develop your own ideas and I think it’s a great learning opportunity
for anyone. There’s a lot of things I’ll remember about
it. I’ll remember the culture. I’ll remember the people I met down there, the experience
I had. Uh, I thought the trip seemed like it was way longer than the two weeks I was
down there. It was, it was, like, such a life-fulfilling event, like, I learned a lot of, like, like
spiritually, mentally. I’m a lot more prepared for research and that definitely solidified
in me that I wanna do research as a scientist, any college.

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