Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Heading to the volcano Arenal


Today we left Sarapiqui and the Selva Verde Hotel and headed for La Fortuna.  We had a great visit in the rain forest at our hotel (it is part of the only continguous corridor of protected rain forest running from the sea to 9000 ft above sea level), Tirimbina, and the La Selva Biological Research Station.

Here are some more pictures of the amazing days in Sarapiqui:

Bullet Ant Do not touch handrails!
Golden Orb Weaver

Night Hike 
La Selva
Butterfly Caterpillar

Butterfly Pupa

Butterfly Pair

Huge Antler Tree

Bridge at Tirimbina
Sphinx Moth

Visited an agricultural middle high school on the way to La Fortuna today (The Instituto Agropecuario Costaricense).  It was a great experience to see high school kids working on agricultural research!  They are a technical school focused on three primary thrusts, agriculture using sustainable agriculture techniques, computer science and Ecotourism!

Here are a few pictures of the school and some of the wildlife we found at Selva Verde and at the school:

Coconut Weevil - it was huge!

Here is where we left this morning

This is the entrance to the school we visited


Organic Crops 

Lettuce Transplants to be grown hydroponically in inert rock

Yes they have Saddlebacks here too (muy grande!)

Making Recycled Paper

One of the biggest trees I´ve every seen

Reserch Plot (rice in foreground!)

Meat production at the school

The National Tree of Costa Rica  - The  Guanacosta Tree

Tomorrow we take a tour on the canopy bridges and in the afternoon we´re hiking Arenal.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

La Selva Biological Research Station

Buenos Dias!

Today we travelled to La Selva Biological Research Station which is a huge (almost 1800 hectares - a little over two acres each) tropical research station responsible for much of the worlds biological research done in the tropics.  We worked on an invasive species project, planted some native ornamentals and took a hike into the forest where we had to cross another swinging bridge that was easily over 200 feet long.  On the hike we saw toucans, peccaries (wild sort-of pigs), strangler figs, huge trees, and we got up close to some Howler Monkeys!

Here are some of the pictures:

Srangler Fig
Owl Butterfly

400 year old tree

Immature Basilisk Lizard

Swinging Bridge

Howler Monkey!
 I have been having some computer problems but hopefully I will be able to keep posting.

Have a great day!

Monday, November 28, 2011


Today we went to the Tirimbina Biological Preserve in Saripiqui, Costa Rica which is a rain forest preserve rich in rain forest biodiversity.  The presentation on biodiversity was very in depth and we went into the forest where they have an organic, sustainable cocoa plantation.  They showed us how the chocolate is grown, processed and  made from planting trees to making the final product.  The history of chocolate is very interesting.

After the chocolate tour we spent two hours in the rain forest where we saw white faced monkeys, howler monkeys, bullet ants, toucans, ocelot feces (!) and even a poisonous snake!  It was an amazing place.

Suspension Bridge to the Rain Forest
Cocoa seed pod on the tree
Caterpillar involved in survey project


Hognosed Viper

Antler Tree

800 foot long swinging suspension bridge
100 feet above a raging river.  Bring it on!

Tonight we go back for a night hike/bat workshop.  Tomorrow its more rain forest time.

Costa Rica is awesome!  Pura Vida!!

Mr P

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Colegio Tecnico Professional De Guacimo

The Profesisonal Technical College of Guacimo

The Profesisonal Technical College of Guacimo is a public technical high school with 800 students in grades 7-12.  In Costa Rica, many students do not move beyond 8th grade and many high schools are grades 7-11(or 12).

The focus of this school is agriculture.

Tissue Culture Lab

Tissue Culture

Tissue Culture

Mr P

tissue culture

Tissue Culture

Friday, November 25, 2011

Earth University

Earth University

After Guayabo, we boarded the bus for the two hour trip (what a trip that was!) to Earth University near Guacimo, Costa Rica where we will be studying sustainability, tropical agriculture and we will be visiting rural schools and have an overnight home-stay day with local sustainable farmers.

Earth University is a private, international, non-profit university dedicated to education in the field of agricultural sciences and the rational use of natural resources.  It was started in the early 1990's because a group of dedicated scientists and sustainable farmers felt that the industry and the conventional agricultural research establishment would have a hard time developing more sustainable strategies in agriculture.  To move in a more sustainable direction in agriculture, a university dedicated to that model was needed and it has been very successful.
Looking Across one of the Greens
Beautiful Plants are Everywhere
Covered Walkways are a Necessity Here 
Our Primary Meeting Place is across the Green

It is a beautiful campus located right in the middle of a Tropical Rain Forest.  We have seen toucans, giant iguana lizards and even heard Howler Monkeys while on expeditions to the demonstration farm sites.

Sustainable Landfill/Composting

Our first trip was to see the landfill composting system.  Earth University operates its own landfill using sustainable practices which returns sections of the landfill back into forest in 10 years.

To get to the campus landfill, our tour bus had to cross a bridge that it was too heavy for fully loaded, so we got off the bus, the bus drove over the bridge and we got back on the bus.
Crossing The Bridge

Compost Structure
Composting Packaging Material

Landfill Leachate Treatment/Collection System

This is the Active Landfill Site for the college

Trash goes in here and is buried by hand

Active Landfill Trench

 While we were doing this trip, we heard Howler Monkeys in the distance (they didn't sound that far away!).  In this Cecropia tree next to the landfill, there is a three large, male 3 toed sloth (the dark lump near the very top of the tree).