Monday, June 30, 2014

We're coming home!

Reminder of our flight information:

 Flight #356 to Atlanta, leaves from Liberia, Costa Rica at 1:05pm
             Arrives in Atlanta at 7:00pm
             Flight #300 to Mpls from Atlanta, leaves at 10:11pm
             Arrives Mpls. at 11:41pm.

Please be on time to pick up your scientist!  

Thank you!
See you soon!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Day 10

During breakfast we heard monkeys outside....we went  out the dining room door and saw two white faced monkeys playing in the trees.  As we stood there looking at them, they seemed to be laughing at us!

After that we all loaded into the wagon behind the tractor.  We rode for 45 minutes into the dry forest and walked for 1 1/2 hours  along the river with our guide Freddie.  He pointed out many different trees and leaves, and told us many interesting things about the dry forest.  

After lunch we got ready to go back to Cabuyal again, to see what the beach looks like in the daytime and to have some fun in the ocean.  Everybody seemed to have a great time body surfing the waves.  Dinner was a BBQ on the beach.  We all cheered when Costa Rica won their soccer game today.  After a beautiful day at the beach, we watched an amazing sunset and then returned to Horizonte for a cool shower and some free time before packing up and getting ready to head home tomorrow.  See you all soon!

Day 9

Our first day at Horizonte!  We started with a meeting discussing the Turtle Tagging trip, it was presented by Tyler, Jake and Brynn who went last December. After that the first year students were sent out to study and observe the Acacia trees here in the dry forest.  After observing the behavior of the ants on the Acacia tree the students discovered that they are an example of perfect mutualism. After dinner we prepared ourselves for a long night on the beach.  We arrived at Cabuyal (the beach) at 8:00pm.  The students that experienced the turtle tagging in Dec. led groups up and down the coast looking for tracks of nesting turtles.  The rest of us laid on the beach under a clear starry sky, many caught a few winks between their walks.  Our bus driver is the one who spotted tracks.  All of us gathered and waited for the turtle to start laying her eggs. We all got to witness a Black Sea turtle lay a clutch of eggs and then we continued to watch as she covered her eggs.  I must say we were all in awe of this special event.  We stayed and walked behind her as she made her way safely back into the ocean.  We returned back to Horizonte at 1:30am.  Time to get some rest before another big day tomorrow.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Day 8

Today was our last day at Finca La Anita. Many of us woke up tired after staying up a bit later then we normally go to bed. This was because we were doing last minute editations (patent pending new word) to our project. We presented our projects shortly after breakfast. The first year students went first followed by the second year students. They were very interesting and we learned a lot of things from each other. We also had some other people from California who came to watch the presentations.
Once the presentations were done we had Amy from the Peace Corps who came and told us about what she does here in Colonia Libertad, working with the locals on community and economic development. Afterwards we walked down into the nearby village and helped them weed a parcel of land for 2 hours, the locals were very happy with our hard work!!!! They gave us food and some really good peach juice. We learned that the resort we are staying in is vital to the economy of the village. After the great snack we went to their shop and had the opportunity to buy some homemade soap :) Then we walked down the gravel road and played football (soccer) with the locals. It was a rousing and exhausting game. Then we had a bit of free time and most of us used it to relax and then we went to dinner. Now we need to pack because we are off to Horizonte tomorrow after breakfast! I am really glad we don’t have to leave Costa Rica yet.

-Todd Stenson

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Day 7

Today the first year students focused on getting their presentations ready for tomorrow’s final presentations. After lunch we went Sonsoria, a local favorite where we experienced beautiful hot springs and waterfalls.  We swam in the frigid water pool under the falls and then proceeded to another smaller waterfall and pool and swam there.  On the last part of our adventure, we went to two hot springs.  We had an enjoyable time relaxing in the natural volcanic heated pools.  When we got back to the beginning we were greeted with ice cold juice and cookies, and after the long walk it was a refreshing treat. We had a fantastic dinner of sea bass and then the students started their practice presentations.  The students were given honest, constructive criticism on their posters and presentations. All the groups have a great start and the presentations in the morning should be phenomenal.
~~Stanton and Olesen

Second year Update:
Today was a great day for the Second year students.  All of us made huge progress on our bioinformatics projects as well as had a great time doing an experimental hike.
We all finished our PowerPoint presentations for the big presentation tomorrow morning.   We had to be done this morning before we had lunch. We then went on our “experimental” hike.  After we returned from our experimental hike this afternoon, each of us did a practice presentation for only the five Second year students and Gabriel.  We each tried to help one another with our presentations.  Gabriel provided each of us with great suggestions to improve our presentations.  We all sat on the deck after dinner and made changes to our presentations.
The experimental hike that the Second year students went on this year was a really cool experience.  We took a tractor ride for about 30 minutes long to a nearby village.  From there we hiked through some farmland until we got to the edge of the rainforest.  We hiked on a trail and ended up doing some climbing for 20 minutes.   Each of us had to balance on rocks and trees in order to not fall down the side of the ridge and into the river.  At the end of the trail we got to the waterfall.  It was a very pretty cascade.  We went swimming in the pool of water at the bottom of the waterfall, that can be described in two words: cold and rocky.  It was a fun time!

Tyler Maas