Monday, March 16, 2015

Wrap-up in Mastatal, transitions

Last morning in Mastatal

We wrapped up our month-long stay in Costa Rica in a frenzy: several days of last-minute data collection, statistical analyses (lots of Bonferroni corrections to post-hoc pairwise comparisons!), final presentations, and teary goodbyes! All of the students presented the results of their research projects in the outdoor classroom at Rancho Mastatal on Friday afternoon - followed by a celebratory pizza party at Siempre Verde and some frantic packing Friday night. Then we retreated to the urban bustle of Alajuela Saturday morning before departing Sunday to various destinations in the U.S. and Latin America. This week we reconvened for class sessions to talk more about statistics and data analysis, and create research posters, which were presented by the students at the UW Tacoma Student Showcase on Friday the 13th. As the euphoria of surviving a month in the field fades and everyone transitions back to "real-life", several students are planning to return to Mastatal later this year to pursue a newly created sustainable/organic farming internship at Siempre Verde; others still are focusing on ways to incorporate sustainability techniques they learned in Mastatal to their lives back home in the Pacific Northwest.
Presentations in Mastatal

Farewell to the rainforest

Student Showcase back at UW Tacoma!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Turtles, cats, and restoration on the Osa peninsula

We're wrapping up a week-long excursion to the coast, culminating in a four - day stay at the Piro Biological Station on the Osa peninsula. Here we have had a chance to patrol beaches for turtle nests, help gather and analyze motion-sensor camera data for big cats and their prey, and hike in old growth rainforest. Tomorrow we trek back to Mastatal for our last week of the course!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Costa Rica Field Studies - Winter 2015

Ready for adventure in Alajuela

Hiking in Mastatal

Off to a good start to our month-long Neotropical field ecology course in Costa Rica! Participating in this year's course are ten students from both the Tacoma and the Seattle campuses; after several days in the highlands in the coffee-growing area of Tarrazu, we are now settled in the farming community of  Mastatal, nestled in the rainforest below La Cangreja National Park on the Pacific slope. Students are hard at work on their independent research projects - this year they include studies on frog/toad, spider, and ant diversity, water quality assays of local rivers, and the anti-microbial properties of leaf-cutting ants. We are spending a few weeks here before heading to the coast and then further south to the Osa peninsula, after which we'll spend our final week in late February here wrapping up research projects and giving presentations on results. More updates to follow!

Tour of CoopeDota coffee mill
Preparing for tree planting, Los Altos de Copey de Dota
At the "lab", Rancho Mastatal

Rancho Mastatal

Blue-crowsned motmot