School Science Trip to Costa Rica
Costa Rica is known for being a peaceful tropical paradise, but it’s also a leader in ecological conservation. With 12 distinct microclimates and its enticing natural environment, Costa Rica is a haven for conservationists around the world. Two oceans that influence weather patterns and ecological diversity surround the country.
Come join us on a school trip to Costa Rica to volunteer with a variety of service learning opportunities from mentoring local children to helping redevelop natural ecosystems for endangered or displaced species. For those studying Spanish, these programs will also help improve their spoken Spanish while volunteering with impoverished or orphaned local children.
Our core curriculum consists of tropical rainforest ecology, cloud forest studies, Spanish language studies, plate tectonics/geology, coral reefs, sea turtle nesting, mangrove ecology, estuary studies, and science service learning.
Costa Rica's tropical rainforests are some of the richest and most diverse habitats on earth. They represent a vast reservoir of knowledge and contain a wealth of ecosystems and wildlife, with many species still undiscovered. Along with a naturalist, students will learn about the biology and biodiversity of this amazing biome. Key elements to be taught are zoographical regions in the forest, symbiotic relationships, animal identification, niche habitats, camouflage, and predator prey relationships.
Cloud forests, also called a Dwarf or Fog forest, are generally evergreen montane moist forests characterized by persistent, frequent, or seasonal low-level cloud cover, usually at the canopy level. Monteverde Costa Rica is a perfect example of this ecosystem. Our naturalist will teach key concepts about these forests from species diversification to plant and bird distribution due to climate and elevation restraints.
Cloud Forest Studies
Spanish Language Programs
Our Appleseed Expeditions Spanish courses stress oral communication. Vocabulary is related to the areas of daily life and will be used for interaction between the students and the local children they will mentor. We believe the best way to learn Spanish is when students have to learn it in order to mentor and teach Hispanic children.
Plate Tectonics/ Volcanic Geology
School groups will learn about plate tectonics as it relates to the Pacific Ring of Fire. Geologic concepts will be taught with an emphasis on subduction and volcanic activity. The main area of study will be at Arenal Volcano, which is an active andesitic strato volcano in northwestern Costa Rica.
Coral Reef Ecology
The coral reef tract, extensively developed off Costa Rica, has been compared to a tropical rainforest, because of its’ high biodiversity, fragility and susceptibility to human impacts, as well as its commercial importance, if properly managed and conserved. During an introductory lecture, participants will learn about coral reef habitat, organisms that live here, coral reef growth, distribution, behavior and structural adaptations of reef organisms, mutualism present on the reef, coral reproduction, and the importance of the mangrove and seagrass habitats to the reef ecosystem.
Sea Turtle Nesting and Migration Patterns
Along with a marine biologist students will learn about sea turtle migration, feeding habits, and global distribution of the different species. Depending on the season, you may relocate threatened nests to the hatchery, protect hatchlings as they crawl seaward, excavate nests to determine hatching success rates, and rescue stragglers.
Mangroves are a biologically rich and create a crucial transition zone
between the land and sea. Participants will learn about characteristics
of local mangrove species, roles mangroves play as habitat for a variety
of species of marine life, and mangrove distribution and their role in
the preservation of island ecosystems.
Estuary and Marine Biodiversity
In the tropics, mangrove trees often populate estuaries. The long,
exposed roots of the mangroves anchor the trees in shallow water. There
they trap mud and detritus and, in the process, help to form new land.
The trees create a complex environment populated by a unique assortment
of fish, invertebrates, and birds. Students will partake in marine
phylum studies and species identification.
will be able to volunteer in a variety of service-based programs. The
emphasis of this service opportunity is to show students how an affinity
for science or language can be used to positively impact their
communities. Opportunities include volunteering at a wildlife rescue
center, the organization for tropical studies, an orphanage, and
mentoring children at the Abraham Project.
Trip Highlights Include:
• Catamaran trip to Tortuga Island
• Explore the spectacular Santa Elena Cloud Forest
• Tutoring and mentoring Costa Rican children at an orphanage
and conducting net pulls
• Hike to a 300-foot waterfall dropping out of the rainforest
• Zip-line tour through the canopy of the rainforest
- • Whitewater rafting the Pacuare
These educational student trips to Costa Rica can be modified to meet your specific needs.
To view a more detailed itinerary please
Costa Rica 8-day (745 KB)