Sunday, June 25, 2017

Day 10: June 25th Last Blog Entry

Yesterday, we got here at around 1:30. We put away our things, then had lunch, which consisted of salad, beans and rice. We then went to a lesson on how to behave in the area. We played a soccer game afterwards, which  was long and hot, but definitely worth it.

Around 8:00 (when it is basically pitch black in Costa Rica with such an early sunset), we set out for the beach to hunt for turtles.  Each hour, half of us (12 people) did a "turtle sweep" across both directions of the beach, while the other half stayed and likely slept.  Six of us went fifteen minutes north, while the other six went twenty minutes south, in search for turtle tracks (which apparently are very hard to miss, like tractor tracks).  This continued every hour until midnight, after which, upon not seeing any turtles yet, we decided to return to the cabins.

At this point, it was around 12:45, so we were all exhausted, and most of us went to sleep right away.  Except for our (Isaac, Bennet, Chris) cabin.  When we searched under the bed for scorpions, as instructed, we found a snake under one of the beds.  It took a solid half-hour of searching and tearing apart the room to finally find the snake and shoe it outside.  After reconstructing our room, we all collapsed to make the most of our 4.5 hours of beauty sleep before waking up for a 6:00am hike in the forest.

thehike was"great". We started a 6am hiking through the dry forest. some of the path was muddy and slick. for breakfast we stopped at a pretty stream leading to a waterfall. the students enjoyed their well deserved breakfast sitting next to the stream and looking at the scenery. afterwards we packed up and they got loaded up on a trailer being pulled by a tractor but there was a problem, the tractor couldn't go up hills carrying that many students'weight, so they unloaded and walked a good 1000-1200 yards through the mud to reach a part of the trail that the tractor could carry them back from.
- Issac, Bennet, and Christopher

Day 10: Google picture folder

The Afternoon:  Once we got back from our walk, we were all completely wiped, so we got about an hour to partake in some solid R&R. Afterward, the man who owns El Horizontes talked to us about the Forest Experimental Station and how the ACG (Guanacaste Conservation Area) is working to educate people in helping to better the environment in the protected land of Costa Rica - and housing researchers who study the area, like Veronica, our turtle guide last night, After our talk and a lovely lunch we headed off to the beach to  hang out and swim.

The road was bumpy and slow, giving some of us motion sickness, and becoming irritated (Lexie losing her patience for the road), only made worse by even one mention of Despacito. (if any of us have to listen to that ever again, we may lose our minds.) But the beach was worth the trip there. The water was beautiful, the waves were great (although some of us - Namrata - ended up with a nose and mouthful of a salt/sand mixture), the swimming was awesome (as long as you were above 5'1'' and able to have enough weight not to get rolled by the undertow), and there were adorable hermit crabs everywhere. A bunch of us bodysurfed the massive waves, others got thrown onto shore by them. Dinner was grilled there on the beach, chicken, hot dogs, beef, and pop were there. The sunset afterwards was one of the most beautiful things, behind the stars that we saw last night while turtle watching. We tried and failed multiple dozens of times to get the picture(s) you will see below.
We loved our time here, it was a blast and very memorable, but going home is also exciting. Many of us will be showering the moment we get back home, and maybe conk out immediately after.
Goodbye Costa Rica, and thank you for all our new amazing memories!

- Namrata and Lexie


Saturday, June 24, 2017

Day 9: June 24

Today we are saying goodbye to our friends here at Finca La Anita and traveling to El Horizontes.  We stopped at the grocery store, learned a little bit about pressing sugar cane and coffee plants, bought souvenirs and saw white faced Capuchin monkeys!  I am posting the blog early because we will be going to the beach to patrol for turtles.


I have asked all of the students to type in two sentences for this blog.  See if you can figure out which post belongs to your student:

1. I enjoyed seeing all the animals here. There were also a lot of bugs but it was a very enjoyable trip!

2. I enjoyed the horseback riding as well as zip lining. The food here was also delicious, especially dessert.

3.  I enjoyed all the hikes through the various areas of the forests. I also enjoyed being away from all the noise of the main road

4.  I liked horseback riding. it's pretty here and there's great food. there are two dogs here who love attention... this place is amazing.

5. I haven't died yet. I have enjoyed not dying greatly.

6. Despite all the bugs and large animals I haven't died yet either. However, the great views, delicious food, relaxing hikes and toucans made this a very enjoyable trip!

7. Today was a very busy day at first, which later turned into a relaxing one with a ride and a hike to the waterfall!

8. The food here is solid. I'm getting fancy desserts every night. My favorite thing has been the horseback riding even though I rode a mule who was very slow.

9. My favorite thing has been bonding with all the kids here, and playing with Bombay. I also have loved all the adventures we have gone on.

10. My favorite thing is learning and boots and epi pens and the dogs and despacito and dr. suess trees and EDDIE

11. There once was a farm called Anita / With food that was better than pizza  / The view was so good / I'd live there if I could / And we'll all be sad when we leave-a

12. Listen, if i hear despacito one (1) more time, I will leave Certain People in Houston myself. also i cant believe i had to be the bug killer

13.  The food, the cabins, and most of all the people here were amazing.  Tambien, me encantaba practicando mi espanol con las personas costarricenses.  (!)Todo era muy divertido!

14. We played "Despacito" on the bus more than 43 times. (written by Everybody)

Day 9: Google Picture Folder Link

Friday, June 23, 2017

Day 8: June 23


Today was very eventful. We presented our final experiments to our community. The projects were interesting because we got to see different ideas. After the projects were presented we went to a super pretty waterfall and it was great. It was a bit cold at first, but everyone had a fun time! We were sad there was no Despacito, but we sang it to ourselves. Everyone came out of the experiment a better team mate, and a little smarter. Walking down the hill to the water fall was super difficult, and we had to hold on to a rope. Some people fell, but we all made it down there and back! Mrs. Leland has been super helpful, and make sure we always have our boots on, and being safe. We will never forget, ever again to wear the boots. WE LOVE SCIENCE+LELAND!

Our results for our presentations were not exactly as we had hoped but we enjoyed and learned a lot about science and ourselves. We are sad to leave finca la anita because it is such a beautiful place with so many kind people. The dogs were so cute and definitely one of my favorite parts of the entire trip. Pablo and Anna are so sweet, and treat all of us just like their kids. Sleeping in the cabins is also super fun, and make you feel like you have your own little deserted shack. Megan and I will soon live in one of these shacks but paint them a beautiful color, and many flowers. #MegandChlo

Day 8 Google Picture Folder Link

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Day 7: June 22

Okay- I think I have fixed/resolved all google picture access problems (sorry) so you should be able to go back to the folders from previous blogs and use the link successfully. - Ms. Toni Leland
Day 7: Google picture folder link

The highlight of today was finalizing our experiments! We worked all morning and afternoon to collect data and make our final presentations, which we're going to present tomorrow as the grand finale of the science portion of the trip. Right now, everyone is finishing their last trials or practicing their presentations with Adrian. My group's experiment is going well. We even managed to take pictures of the Gram stains (a way to observe and identify bacteria) through the microscope!

My favorite part of the trip has been seeing the biodiversity of birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. On the first night, one of my roommates saw an armadillo disappear into the bushes, and frogs and toads appear along the path of the cabins every evening. (Lexie and Nora are both really good at catching frogs.) 
Some of the bird species are also common to Minnesota, but lots are new, such as the Chestnut-mandibled Toucans that live at Finca La Anita. One of the baby toucans fell out of its nest, and its parents have been watching it, so we've heard them calling almost every day. (Sounds a little like someone screaming.) Also, there are a lot of Blue-gray Tanagers, Yellow-Throated Euphonias, and Passerini's Tanagers hanging around, which are really pretty and never migrate to Minnesota.

The weather has been really good today-- warm but not super hot, since it rained all last night and it's been cloudy. I like being able to look off the deck or outside the dining room and see mountains nearby. It's a really cool landscape that just isn't in Minnesota at all (except in the Iron Range, but that hardly counts). I guess it must affect the air currents, since clouds are always gathered around the top. 

Signing off,
Maggie Hlavka (St. Paul Academy)

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Day 6: June 21

Y'know when we said yesterday was an early morning? Well, today we had to wake up at 6 AM sharp for a hike through Santa Monica National Park, an hour long drive from where La Anita was situated. The hike was also about an hour long, through rivers and many encounters with some very large bugs. It was definitely worth it; the hike ended in a visit to a hot spring, where everyone relaxed and just had a good time!

Meanwhile, we were surrounded by tons of life, most notably damsel flies and dragon flies. We also found special mud at the hot springs that we rubbed on our skin.  After, we had a nice picnic and lots of new candy!

On the way back, we passed copper bowls that were historically used to cook cane syrup into molasses for export.  According to our guide, the place was also a historical site that had previously been visited by two of our very own former American presidents, FDR and Lyndon B. Johnson.

The rest of the day was dedicated to our lab experiments.  Some of us cultured fungus, observed their leaf-cutting activities or even ground up ants.  At this point in the research process, the professors left us to our own devices, running our experiments independently.  The night concluded with a dinner of plantain chips and lasagna, and a blackberry sorbet for dessert.

Day 6:  Google Picture Folder

Nora Turner & Isaac Fink

TEACHERS NOTE:  special shout out to Christopher for busing my dishes at dinner the other day.  I also want to tell all of the parents that your students have been WONDERFUL and HARDWORKING individuals.  Very fun to have on this trip, we are all very tired from all of our adventures and hard work but are enjoying every minute of it (except for maybe the song Despacito which has mixed results in terms of popularity).

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Day 5: June 20

We woke up at the crack of dawn (6:30), to catch another astounding Costa Rican breakfast of toast  with cacao nibs, eggs, rice and beans, and another daily mystery juice that is yet to be disappointing (this time, green).  

After breakfast, we went horseback riding past the scenic mountains, and looked over the border to Nicaragua. There were many types and colors of horses, and one mule for "folks of taller stature" which was given to me (Logan).  When we got back, the horseback leader even told us that we were the best group he had seen so far. We learned a lot and was different from other ways of riding.

We dove into research and started the experiment(s) we designed with our groups. Each group quickly ran into their experiments for hours with plenty of ant carnage going on.

Instead of getting served dinner tonight, we made our own with a cooking class with things like salad, ceviche, and tortillas. The cooks at the place who taught us didn't speak English, so the few of us who spoke Spanish some got to be translators for the evening.  It was crowed in the kitchen with 26 people in it, but we found a way to work and made it to dessert, which was elephant ears, a famous dish of Costa Rica.
On the way back, we encountered yet another Leaf-Cutter ant trail.  Looking forward to a long hike in the rainforest tomorrow!

Logan & Isaac                                                             Day 5 link to Picture Google Folder