Una experiencia de aprendizaje en UGA Costa Rica Service Learning in UGA Costa Rica

Bosque nuboso de la Reserva de Monteverde/Casey Urban y Malcolm Scobell en el laboratorio durante la clasificación de muestras de macroinvertebrados
Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve/ Casey Urban and Malcolm Scobell in the laboratory during the macroinvertebrate sample classification

 

Malcolm Scobell y Casey Urban llegaron en junio a nuestro campus para realizar su pasantía con el programa de estudios en el extranjero de la Universidad de Lehigh, Pensilvania, donde actualmente cursan su tercer año de la carrera de ingeniería ambiental. La pasantía duró 7 semanas quedándose en casa de personas de la localidad de San Luis, ubicación de la sede satelital de la Universidad de Georgia en Costa Rica. Según comenta Casey, ella eligió este destino por su valor ambiental y fue recibida como parte de la familia en donde residió.

Malcolm Scobell and Casey Urban arrived in June to our campus to begin their internship with the study abroad program at Lehigh University, Pennsylvania, where they are currently in their third year of environmental engineering. Their internship lasted 7 weeks and they participated in home stays in the town of San Luis, where the satellite campus of the University of Georgia at Costa Rica is located. Casey chose this destination for its environmental value and she felt like a member of the family at her home stay.

 Piranga olivacea (Cardinalidae) Fotografía de Martha Garro/Muestra Botánica de Crotalaria maypurensis (Fabaceae)
 Piranga ilovacea (Cardinalidae) Martha Garro Photography/Crotalaria maypurensis (Fabaceae) botanic sample

 

El objetivo de la pasantía es aprender a través de la experiencia, por lo que los estudiantes formaron parte de diversas líneas de investigación que se realizan dentro del campus, incluyendo el proyecto liderado por Martha Garro Cruz, el cual se enfoca en estudiar el comportamiento de las aves y tratar de reducir los choques contra las ventanas. A través de una búsqueda sistemática, ella ha registrado el comportamiento y señales de este fenómeno en una base de datos. También contribuyeron con el proyecto liderado por el pasante naturalista Riley Fortier, montando muestras botánicas del herbario de UGACR donadas por William A. Haber, logrando contribuir con un total de 274 muestras de plantas montadas.                                                                   

The objective of this internship was a service learning experience in which the students
participated in several lines of research carried out on campus, including the project led by  Martha Garro Cruz, which focuses on studying the behavior of birds around windows in order to reduce bird strikes. Through systematic observation, she has been recording information about these behaviors and signs of this phenomenon in a database. Casey and Malcom also contributed to the project led by resident naturalist Riley Fortier, mounting botanical samples from the UGACR herbarium donated by William A. Haber, managing to contribute a total of 274 mounted plant samples to the collection.

 

donlehighp

Los estudiantes de Lehigh junto al profesor Donald Morris, especialista en ecosistemas acuáticos quien los acompañó durante el proyecto de calidad de agua en UGACR.
The Lehigh students with their Professor Donald Morris, who studies aquatic ecosystems provided guidance during the water quality portion of the internship at UGACR.

 

En la última semana de su pasantía todos los estudiantes que conformaban el programa (Grace Boak, Shrivats Agarwal, Mariah Matias, Natalee Castillo, Tristan Morales y Juan Camilo Arbelaez) junto con el profesor del departamento de Ciencias de la Tierra y del medio ambiente, Donald Morris, quienes estuvieron en otras áreas de Costa Rica, se reunieron con Casey y Malcolm en UGA Costa Rica para realizar la última fase de su aprendizaje a nivel grupal.

In the last week of their internships, the Lehigh students that were interning in other parts of Costa Rica (Grace Boak, Shrivats Agarwal, Mariah Matias, Natalee Castillo, Tristan Morales and Juan Camilo Arbelaez) along with Donald Morris, Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences, met with Casey and Malcolm at UGA Costa Rica to carry out the final phase of their learning.

 

labriendop

Los estudiantes reunidos en el laboratorio de UGACR para conocer los objetivos de su participación en el proyecto de calidad de aguas
The students meeting in the UGACR laboratory to learn about the objectives of their participation in the water quality project.

 

Los pasantes participaron del proyecto de calidad de agua de las tres cuencas predominantes en el Corredor Biológico del Pájaro Campana en Puntarenas, investigación activa de la UGACR donde aprendieron a recolectar, clasificar y analizar muestras de macroinvertebrados acuáticos y otros parámetros físicos y químicos del agua . El Dr.Thomas Shahady investigador principal junto con José Montero de UGACR co-investigador, lideran este proyecto, el cual tiene el objetivo de crear un índice confiable para la calificación de la calidad del agua dentro del Corredor Biológico, como una herramienta para monitorear la salud de los ecosistemas acuáticos de la región así como para la toma de decisiones y empoderamiento de las comunidades locales.

They participated in an active water quality research project of UGACR that studies three prevailing basins in the Bellbird Biological Corridor in Puntarenas, learning to collect, classify, and analyze aquatic macroinvertebrates samples, and other physiochemical indicators of water quality. Dr. Thomas Shahady from Lynchberg University, is the principle investigator of this project, along with biologist and co-investigator José Montero from UGACR. The aim is to create a reliable index of water quality within the Biological Corridor as a tool to monitor the health of aquatic ecosystems in the region and to promote decision-making and empowerment of local communities.

 

martayjoselehighp

Durante el proceso de capacitación, explicación del cronograma a los pasantes
During the training process, explaining the schedule to the interns

 

Garro, facilitadora de programas académicos de UGA Costa Rica junto con José Montero investigador, Coordinador de Investigación, Instrucción y Pasantías capacitan, empoderan a los estudiantes, explicándoles la teoría y metodología a utilizar, brindándoles el conocimiento con respecto al trabajo de campo de recolección de muestras, así como también de las fases posteriores como de taxonomía y análisis de resultados.

Garro (facilitator of academic programs at UGA Costa Rica) along with José Montero (research, instruction, and internships coordinator at UGACR), guided the students by explaining the theory and methodology to be used – for example, the process of collecting samples in the field, as well as later phases such as taxonomy and analysis of results.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Pasantes tomando datos para medir la corriente, la profundidad y el ancho del río/ Conteo de macroinvertebrados para calcular la calidad del agua
Interns taking data to measure the current, depth and width of the river/ Counting macroinvertebrates to calculate water quality in the laboratory

 

Las muestras de macroinvertebrados son tomadas en diferentes periodos durante el año abarcando los cambios ocasionados por los efectos estacionales. En este caso fue el tercer muestreo del año 2017. Los pasantes del programa participaron del trabajo de campo, aprendiendo a utilizar diferentes herramientas, recolectando las muestras e información de manera sistemática.

Samples of macroinvertebrates are taken at different periods during the year, covering changes caused by seasonal effects. In this case, it was the third sampling of the year 2017. Program interns participated in fieldwork, learning how to use different tools, collecting samples and information in a systematic way.

 

tod@sp

Los estudiantes fueron divididos en tres equipos, en esta ocasión juntos(as) expusieron lo aprendido
The students were divided into three teams, this time explaining together what they had been learning

 

El último objetivo para los pasantes consistió en realizar una presentación del proyecto de aguas exponiendo las fases del proyecto, la metodología, los resultados analizados e interpretados a través de gráficos utilizando el método científico y apropiándose de su proceso de aprendizaje en UGA Costa Rica.

The last objective for the interns consisted of a presentation of the water project, using graphics to explain the phases of the project, the methodology, the analyzed results, and the interpretation using the scientific method. Through service learning here at UGACR, students were able to take ownership of the learning process.

 

Mariela Vásquez G. pasante de fotoperiodismo/ photojournalism intern

 

Tour of a sustainable coffee farm

The fifth day my group (Advanced Spanish and Creative Writing) was on campus, we visited the Finca La Bella, a large cooperative farm that is composed of twenty or so families. It is a rather interesting community, but of course we couldn’t tour all of the land in a single day. This day we were privileged to tour the land of a woman named Eliza Mata.Read More »

Dalton State College visits UGA Costa Rica

During the first week of March, students from Dalton State College in Dalton, Georgia visited UGA Costa Rica. These enthusiastic, passionate, future teachers, specializing in working with English language learners, spent their spring break student teaching in schools neighboring our campus.

The Dalton group’s objective was twofold: to experience student teaching in the field with English language learners and to yield academic development during down time when kids would otherwise work alone on assignments while waiting for the teacher to wrap up another grade’s lesson.

Let’s step into the classroom with them!

Blog contribution by Alex Fylypovych, UGA Costa Rica Photojournalism Intern

Top Five things to do off the beaten path

Sure, there are many things to do when you come to Costa Rica. But visiting UGA Costa Rica offers a wide array of non-traditional tourist activities for you and your friends. This is our top five list of things to do off the beaten path. How many have you done?

1. Try the hot chocolate (Seriously, you don’t want to leave campus without trying it!)

Hot Chocolate

2. Swim at the suspension bridge

140224_KDI_HOMESTAY721

3. Help out on the farm

141018_kdi_farmetc025

4. Go to a community dance

5. Attend a Zumba class at the community center

140228_KDI_ZUMBAINSECTS089

Things I wish I had packed

140125_kdi_MilkMonteverde078

With the Fall semester wrapping up, we asked students at UGACR what they wished they had packed.

Here’s a list of the top items:

1. More warm clothes. It can get a little chilly in the mountains here, so in addition to bringing a rain jacket, bring at least one sweater or sweatshirt. A couple pairs of jeans, long-sleeved shirts, and sweatpants would not be out of line either.

2. Hiking backpack. Check your program itinerary to see what outside trips you might be taking. Students in the Fall Tropical Biology program stayed five days in San Gerardo, a hike-in research station. For such a trip, a backpack big enough to carry five days worth of clothes and toiletries would be easier to carry along the trail than a duffle bag. Of course, if you take a bus to the beach, that duffle bag will be just fine.

3. Travel-sized bottles. Speaking of those trips away from campus, bring travel-sized bottles to fill with shampoo, conditioner, or soap. They will be lighter and easier to pack.

4. Extra batteries. You know to bring a flashlight because walking around on unlit paths and trails is dangerous, but don’t forget to bring batteries for when the first batch runs out. Or better yet, invest in some rechargeable batteries.

5. Running shoes. Whether you want to go on a run or play a game of soccer, running shoes will make it a lot easier than hiking boots.

Preserving history in San Luis

IMG_9787
Ana Ligia López Jurado, Lindsay Stallcup, Dallas Fitzgibbon, and Samantha Peykoff stand in front of the beneficio, or coffee processing plant, in San Luis that Ramón Brenes built.

Yesterday, at a special community presentation about the history of San Luis, UGACR students Dallas Fiztgibbon and Samantha Peykoff debuted a 50-minute documentary they have worked on throughout the semester for Spanish 4090, a service-learning class.

Along with their professors, Ana Ligia López Jurado and Lindsay Stallcup, they conducted interviews about Ramon Brenes, an important figure in this town’s history because of his business acumen and character. Both his daughter, Mari Brenes Jiménez, and his grandson, Ramón “Mon” Brenes Morales, shared their memories with us and graciously invited us into their homes.

Special thanks also goes to many others who contributed to this project: Víctor Ramírez Badilla, Carlos Badilla Jiménez, Odilio Ramírez Rodríguez, Tina Brenes Jiménez, Danis Brenes Jiménez, Luis Venegas Pérez, Edwin Rojas Quesada, Orietta Gómez Chen, and Manfreed Venegas Brenes.

The student’s knowledge of Spanish was put to the test as they edited about 12 hours of interviews. In the end, they had a polished documentary to present to the people of San Luis and demonstrated how important it is to preserve history and our stories.

A special break from Spanish class

Many of the classrooms on the UGA Costa Rica campus are named after animals found here: Toucan, Motmot, Chachalaca, and Perezoso (sloth).

During Spanish class this week in the Motmot classroom, students spotted a Motmot digging a burrow just outside the classroom. Instead of building nests or making their home in trees, Motmots burrow in the ground.

141104_kdi_greatphotos075From a window in the back of the classroom, we had a great view of this Motmot and the other member of the pair sitting back among the trees.

He flew away soon after, but not before we had a chance to watch a little bit of digging.

141104_kdi_greatphotos110