Friday, August 9, 2019

Friday, August 9th

Final day of our trip.  Souvenir shopping and ice cream. Can't wait to share all of our adventures with our families!

Last stop on the way home!

Thursday, August 8, 2019

August 8th, 2019

Today was our final and favorite day in Costa Rica. We started our morning with a breakfast of eggs, cereal, fruit and mango juice. Following that we went into the dry forest to look at a different type of ant species in the acacia trees while analyzing the mutualistic relationship between the two. After that we had a delicious lunch of rice and chicken in an amazing sauce. Once our after lunch break was over, we left for the beach! Everyone had so much fun. We body surfed on the big waves, tanned in the sun and relaxed after our long week. We were distributed snacks, while de-stressing in the sun, of a Costa Rican favorite: Chicky and Yippy bars. As the sun set on our last day, we gathered for group pictures in a bittersweet moment. We then departed back for Horizontes and ate an amazing kebabs with chicken fingers. We were all exhausted after a long day at the beach, so everyone showered, packed up and got ready to head home in the morning, everyone excited to see their family.

Beach Day­čĆľ

Ocean View 

Jamie, Julia and Colleen's sand dollars 

Hermit Crab family 

Verona Group once again:)

One last full group pic!

Our final view of the beach 

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Wednesday, August 7th

Today we spent our last morning at Finca La Anita. We woke at our usual time of 7:00am and headed to breakfast at 7:30. For our final FLA meal we had granola and cereal, fresh bananas, watermelon, and pineapple, and omelets with rice and beans. After breakfast we packed our vans full of our boots and luggage and headed off on a 2 and a half hour drive to our new destination. On our way, we made a pitstop at a supermarket in a nearby town. Everyone stocked up on snacks and drinks for the rest of the trip and for the upcoming plane rides home. We all bought goodies including Costa Rican favorites such as plantain chips, and Yippy candy bars, as well as some classics back at home such as Cheetos, Pringles and Oreos. After a long car ride, we finally arrived at our destination: Horizontes. Horizontes is on a national reserve in the heart of the dry forest. Once we arrived we were fed a delicious lunch of white rice, black beans, beef medallions, and salad. To drink we were given a tasty tea with hints of mango and peach. Once we devoured lunch, we got settled into our new rooms. Each room has 2-3 bunk beds and that's about it! We have coed, communal bathrooms and showers. Once all of us got situated in our new rooms, we headed out to the homemade soccer field for a quick pick up game! Afterwards, we gathered at the classroom on site for a few discussions and presentations about our future plans for the last few days.

New rooms at Horizontes­čĆí

The group playing a game of soccer together⚽

Getting ready for presentation time!

After dinner, we had a short amount of free time before heading to the beach for the night turtle watch.  

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Tuesday, August 6th

Today we started off our day with a lovely breakfast of scrambled eggs, pancakes, and assorted fruits. We then began our day with the final experiment presentation seminar. Each of the 6 groups shared their experiment and findings that they all worked extremely hard on the past 3-4 days. Everyone did an amazing job! There were so many fascinating scientific discoveries made! Dr. Adrian Pinto and his student Allan (a favorite team member among the group), gave lots of positive feedback and encouraging comments. The end of the seminar marked an end to our scientific research at Finca La Anita. After the seminar finale, we took photos of the whole group and mentors together. After a few brief pictures, we broke off for lunch. We got to enjoy salad, plantain chips, and lasagna (a crowd favorite). After lunch everyone got a small break before we went off to the river, by tractor, to celebrate our scientific success and our final day here. The river was a beautiful scenic spot, despite the unfortunate name of Cockroach River. Julia used her keen sense of sight and helped spot moneys swinging through the trees along the river! Everyone got to enjoy the breathtaking views as we swam and enjoyed spending time alongside each other. Next, everyone took another short break before gathering for our final dinner at FLA. We were served a delicious and fantastic taco bar. There was a choice of meats, tortillas, chips, and toppings. During dinner we were lucky enough to get to see a picture perfect sunset, the best way to end a day.

                                             Purple Rain Presenting Their Final Experiment

Lets Get This Pan Presenting During the Final Experiment Seminar 

Nature Scan Final Experiment Seminar Presentation

Full group picture after final presentations 

The girls with their favorite mentor Allan :)

Everyones favorite mode of transportation: Tractor time!

The Verona gang chilling in the Cockroach River 

Julia, Jamie and Colleen flexing the Chacos 

River photoshoot!

Taco bar dinner plate

Beautiful Sunset view during dinner!

Monday, August 5, 2019

Monday, August 5th

   We woke up ready to take on another exciting day of science. We had a grand breakfast of eggs, rice and beans. After breakfast, we all hopped right into are research projects. The groups did variations of experiments including butterfly dissections, ant behavior, leaf pH levels and how pH influences ant food preferences and many more!    

Ant behavior experiments

Laser focus 

Up close photo of ants protecting the queen

Atta ant queen

For lunch we had a fabulously prepared traditional Costa Rican meal which is served  at community events and parties called Arros con pollo.

Field work 

Ant compost pile

Atta in the field.

Short videos of field work

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Sunday, August 4th

What an action packed day! We got up near the crack of dawn, SO EARLY! After a quick breakfast, we piled into the buses for an excruciatingly long car ride to the national park.
A quick stop before the hike.
After a short nap on the way, we arrived ready to observe the wildlife. Our trek took us through both the rain and dry forests; they were so diverse! Along with natural formations, we all looked at the historic ruins of the old cattle ranchers.

"The Cauldrons" used to process sugarcane.

Our first stop took us to "The Cauldrons". No, they're not witch cauldrons (although that would be super spooky!).  After a quick history lesson on cattle ranching, we set off on our hike down the winding nature trail.

Our first walk over water.

Not only were there trees and vines, but there were also a few animal sightings! Along the way, we witnessed spider monkeys, howler monkeys and even a wild turkey (in a tree!).

Unidentified blue moth larvae.

While all the wildlife was mesmerizing, by far the most relaxing part was the stop at the springs! Although there were both hot and cold springs, we all seemed to migrate towards the clear, hot water.

Once we got out of the springs, we had an exhausting hike to the waterfall.  Some of us loved the cold rushing water.

Once we got back to our starting point (a total of 6 km), we had a delicious lunch break of sandwiches, chips and cookies. Let's not forget the juice that was TO DIE FOR! After we filled our bellies, we got back in the van for another long ride.

The after effects of a long hike.

Our relaxing drive back didn't last for long, though!  Our van had a flat tire.
Flat tire time!
Once we got a new tire, we came back to FLA for laser-focused work on our experiments.

Working hard in the lab.

While some of us were busy in the lab, the rest of us were out in the field with important work.

Collecting leaves to feed the ants.