Biology Class Travels to Costa Rica

Uploaded by KentStateTV on 20.01.2012

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.