July 6, 2012
Shawnee State University Provost David Todt, Ph.D., Natural Science Professor Jeff Bauer, Ph.D., and the Center for International Studies and Activities Director Rita Haider led a class of 14 students to Costa Rica following May graduation to participate in biological field studies and conservation projects.
The class met several times during spring semester to plan the details of the trip, make pre-trip assignments, discuss trip rules and make a list of items to bring.
For 12 days, the majority of time was spent at the Canadian Organization for Tropical Education and Rainforest Conservation (COTERC), a biological field station near Tortuguero, Costa Rica. Living conditions were primitive with no air conditioning or modern facilities.
Each student was responsible for various aspects of the trip, pre-trip study of specific organisms, and onsite participation in various conservation and educational projects. Following the travel to Costa Rica in late May, the class met for presentation of journals and projects.
"It was not easy. It was hard work living in primitive conditions with 100% humidity, no air conditioning, no TVs, outdoor showers, and you were lucky if your room had a fan," Haider said. "Many students are not used to living like this. One night, I woke up with a rat in my hair."
On a diet of beans and rice for lunch and dinner daily, students worked on several projects. Everyone participated in the Mark-Recapture Monitoring Project of Sea Turtle Populations. Other projects included Avian Resident and Migrant Bird Banding Study, Large Mammal Monitoring Study and Snake Population Monitoring: A Mark Re-capture Study. Some students also participated in a Caiman survey and hiked to the top of an inactive volcano.
The students were great," Haider said. "I would take a group back in a minute without question. We hope it will become an annual class offering."
One student, Sadeddin Yamlikha, of Syria, created a video of the trip at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXdBblPEiDQ&feature=youtu.be&hd=1
See more photos on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/groups/207002059391610/