Elsmore here. It’s been a whirlwind to finish out our trip. Yesterday we traveled from Finca La Anita to Horizontes. On the way, we stopped at a supermarket, and bought fresh coconuts from a vendor. Everyone loved them. We spent the rest of the day out testing soil pH, and then spent the night on the beach looking for sea turtles. Sadly, no turtles were found.
Today we planted some trees in the morning, then spent the afternoon on the beach. The students loved playing in the water, and watching the hermit crabs. We finished out watching the sunset.
Currently folks are packing, which is why you have a much lamer blogger than typical.
I want everyone to know that I am so very impressed and proud of each and every one of our students. They worked so hard, treated everyone with kindness and respect, and were an absolute pleasure to spend time getting to know better.
We will be in tomorrow just before 11 PM!
We will be up late on the beach looking for sea turtles tonight, we will post an update tomorrow!
Hello everyone, this is Robbie. Today was a very busy day, especially in the morning. Both of the research groups started working on our final presentations before breakfast. We ate an amazing pancake breakfast and then both groups pushed super hard to finish our presentations in time. 10:00 came around, which meant it was time to present. Both went relatively smoothly and were liked by Dr. Pinto (for those who don’t know already, he is the ant researcher who leads the science portion of this program). We went to lunch after that, and had a well needed break before we left for a river. Unfortunately we had to say goodbye to Silver, Allan (the two grad students), and Pinto. We got to the river and swam in some fast moving water. We then headed back to Finca La Anita and relaxed for the rest of the day. Tomorrow we head to a beach on the Pacific called Horizontes. All of us are looking forwards to the beach.
Today was our last full day of being able to work on our experiments and we were all definitely feeling the pressure. It has been an incredibly long day with a lot of hard work, and some fun in between. I think we’re all ready to go have some fun in the sun and hopefully see some sea turtles.
Mekaylla was waiting for dinner, and Taylor wasn’t there yet. So she was very sad. She has since recovered.
Yours truly Eva, and Gavin Gs spirit because he’s a nerd doing stats and loving it.
😂😜Today was an amazing day. Many adventures, and lots of scientific progress, we had a ton of fun, including swimming in hot springs and swimming underneath a waterfall. We also got to see some amazing wildlife and had a great picnic! We started the day out early with a 6:00 breakfast and a bus ride immediately after. After a long ride, we arrived at the entrance to the national park and departed on the hike. We spotted butterflies, millipedes, ants, cicadas, and even a monkey! After arriving at the thermal pools, we enjoyed The sulfur scented hot springs for about an hour. The river next to the hot springs was freezing cold, so there was a lot of back and forth between the two extremes. Next, we hiked to the waterfall and enjoyed a cold swim in the chilly waters beneath the beautiful waterfall. After the hike, we returned to the ranch for a wonderful sandwich picnic complete with sweet tea, cookies, and potato chips. We got on the bus again and headed back for a day full of science, with an hour break for dinner in between. After a long day of working our hiking muscles and our thinking muscles, we are all tired and ready for a goodnight’s Sleep. Hope all is well in Minnesota, and we’ll see you in tomorrow’s blog. -written by Gavin M. And Jonah.
Sorry for the lack of post last night! We had internet troubles when trying to compose it. Here is the quick and dirty from yesterday.
We started the day horseback riding up the side of the volcano. It was beautiful!
Following this, we did some community service, helping manage the compost and construct trellises at the butterfly garden.
Then there was a little time for students to work on their research projects, and we finished the day with the kids learning to cook beans and rice, Caribbean chicken, and making tortillas. It was lovely!
Hello parents! Elsmore here, writing the blog post for the exhausted students that have worked SO HARD today. Today was spent entirely on science. In the morning, the students designed an experiment culturing different parts of their fungal gardens to determine where the “bad” fungus escovopsis is hanging out.
After lunch, it was time for the students to choose their own research questions, and develop their own experiments. This process was grueling. Developing a sound research question is quite difficult, and Dr. Pinto and his grad students Silver and Alan gave the same level of scrutiny and high expectations as they would for a research thesis. The students worked through these challenges, and settled on a research question and hypothesis, and then designed the experiment that they will be conducting. Finally, they put together their final research proposal to present to the group later in the evening.
In the middle of all this, we took a much needed break for churros and hot chocolate. Everyone was initially feeling just ok. Then Taylor joined the group and all was well.
They even let me join in the fun!
After all of this, we had a delicious dinner, and it was time for the students to present their research proposals. This process involved the groups presenting their experiments top to bottom, and then be directly questioned/criticized from their peers, and the educators present. This required students to evaluate what they were proposing, defend their decisions, and hone their final research project. The questioning was very direct, and every group received dozens of questions and suggestions. You’ll be happy to know that everyone spoke eloquently, professionally, and responded to this process well. I’m very proud of them!
Tomorrow we are riding horses, and then students will have time for their research. I promise that tomorrow I’ll get a student writing the blog again. Here is a rhinoceros beetle (Megasoma elephas), and a praying mantis who’s species I can’t identify.
This is Taylor and Mekaylla. (And Gavin M. Says “hi mom!!”)
Today we woke up to a delicious breakfast of eggs and ham, cereal, & rice with beans. We then went to the classroom to gather our materials which we used for digging in the ground to locate the ant colonies, the fungus garden, and the queen ant. Along the way there, The leaders showed us how to dig into the colonies. To get to the digging sites we went through the rainforest path where we saw a river that we got to cross. We went and found a giant ant colony and got to see ant paths that they made in the woods. We split up and found holes to dig into and extracted the fungus garden and queen and put them into containers so we can use them later. We then went to lunch and had garlic bread and spaghetti. After this exiting morning, we got in our van and went to go ziplining in the rainforest. We had to climb up a trail to reach the zip lines, sadly we didn’t find much wildlife. Zipping was amazing, we were flying through the trees while looking at the cows. After that amazing experience, we drove to the mariposario(butterfly garden) where we got to see catapillars, cocoons and 3 different types of butterfly’s. After we got to visit the villages local store and buy many treats, like ice cream, candy, soda, and more from Costa Rica. Finally, at the end of the day after a great dinner of pork, potatoes, vegetables , salad and ice cream dessert, we went back to the classroom and looked at the statistics from our practice exoperiment that occurred yesterday. to end the day, we set up our ant containers and put the ants, queen and fungus in it. Now we are going to bed I’m tired goodnight.
Hello everyone! This is Jonah and Robbie! We are having a blast on this trip so far! We have only been here for one day and yet we have seen so much. Yesterday we landed at the airport in Liberia and immediately drove over to a restaurant nearby. Everything we have eaten so far has been delicious because of how fresh and pure it is. Sometimes its nice to take a break from city food. After the restaurant we started the drive to Finca la Anita (the place where we’re staying). It was a fairly long drive, but we did not get bored because the scenery was incredible. As we got close, the volcanoes came into view and the view became even more spectacular. We soon got here and were amazed when we first saw the cabins. They look incredible from the outside and are really nice to live in. The trip was long so we all fell asleep pretty quickly. The next morning to the sounds of hundreds of birds and other creatures followed a loud rainstorm which was actually quite peaceful. We had an amazing breakfast and then went for a tour of the chocolate production place. It was really cool and we got to taste lots of high quality chocolate. After that lunch followed with another delicious meal. Then we began our first experiment. We started bacterial cultures in order to answer our question of what location had the highest density of bacteria. We watched some videos on the ants that we’ll be looking closer at starting tomorrow. We then had dinner and an amazing dessert. After dinner, we got ready for the night hike (it gets dark at 6). The hike itself was the highlight of the day during which we saw large spiders, bullet ants, leaf cutter ants, and a lizard. After that we watched two more videos (one of which was a crazy look at the inside of an ant nest. Today was a truly fantastic day, filled with wonderful scenery and a perfect look at some of the wildlife.