Costa Rica 2015 is a Go!

If you are interested in signing up for the 2015 summer Costa Rica course at LMU, please see the link below which will bring you directly to the application in the Study Abroad website.  You may be able to simply click on the link or copy and paste the link into your browser and it will bring you right to the application page.  In addition to signing up on Study Abroad and completing the necessary forms on that site, don’t forget to also register for the 3.0 credit course in PROWL (whenever registration becomes open to all students). Doing both will reserve your spot in the course.

We are extremely excited that we will be traveling to both coasts this year (Pacific and Caribbean) to have the opportunity to possibly see nesting marine turtles.  We hope you can join us for another amazing trip through this beautiful country!  Pura Vida!


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Day 11 and 12: San Gerardo Group Projects – 080114 – 080214

At this field station, students were put into sub-content groups in the areas of Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies), Birds, and Game Camera Technology.  A meeting was led by Dr. Auger, during which he relayed all the group information and project requirements and then he held a separate meeting the following morning where he gave each group various field technologies to use in the field for their project, and explained how to use each of them.  Below are the notes from those two meetings, as well as the GPS routes showing where each group went throughout the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve in the Children’s Eternal Rainforest:

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08014 Project Meeting San Gerardo – Equipment

Group1 Leps GE Total Adj Best-002 Group 3 Tech First 2 Routes GE Best-001 Group 3 Tech All Routes GE Best-001 Group 2 Birds GE All Best-001

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Day 3: Tortuguero Field Work – Debris / Trash Plots

Another project students worked on while at Tortuguero, was to look at the amount of debris (both natural and trash) in a selected 12″x12″ square.  Each team was given the task of choosing their plot and seeing what was in it, such as natural debris, plastics, fishing line, etc.  This particular beach had a huge amount of debris on it, washed up from recent storms but also we were told very usual for this area of the beach due to its location in the tidal zone.  They had not had a lot of nesting turtles recently on this section of the beach, we surmised due to the heavy debris field!  If a turtle encounters too many obstacles when she comes on the beach to nest, she will return to the sea and try again.  See the results below, which show the amount of debris students encountered in their plots:

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Day 3: Tortuguero Field Work – Thermal Data Loggers 072414

While at Tortuguero, students worked on various group projects.  One sub-group buried thermal data loggers at various depths, to determine temperature at those various depths.  When nesting turtles dig their nests, the depth is critical to determining whether the eggs will become male or female, as the sex is temperature dependent.  The range varies for each turtle species.  Below is a file which shows the temperature results for each depth in centimeters, as well as pictures showing the technology used, students using computers to launch and choose the measurement criteria for the data loggers, and then deploying them on the beach:

Tortuguero Logger Plots CR 2014

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Day 17: Catamaran Ride on the Pacific…a day to remember…080714

Today was the last day in our journey through Costa Rica.  We will all miss this beautiful country, with its rich biodiversity, delicious food, diverse culture, and generous and kind people.  We will remember all the local people everywhere we went who made us feel like family, literally welcoming us into their homes and hearts.  Mark has taken us on the trip of a lifetime and exposed us to the many facets of Costa Rica.  Hopefully many of us will once again return to enjoy this beautiful spot, a connection between the Americas, in more ways than just a land bridge.

We spent the morning of our last day in kayaks, paddling through the mangroves on an amazing trip, where we saw a tree boa, bats roosting under a leaf hanging out over the water, crabs, and of course several species of mangroves including the Red Mangrove, White Mangrove, and Black Mangrove; all of which we had learned about the day before in Mark’s presentation.  Pictures of our kayak trip will be posted soon.

We spent the afternoon on a catamaran, heading out several miles to see if we could spot whales or dolphins.  Sure enough, we met up with a school of dolphins, which swam along with us for a little while, breaching just enough for us to see their slender and graceful forms.  What a special treat that was!  The rain came (as we have become accustomed to) and after anchoring in a somewhat sheltered cove, most of us jumped into the warm waters of the Pacific, amidst the raindrops.  It was pretty spectacular and hard to put into words how awesome the water felt.  We then all got back on board and had a most delicious meal of rice and beans, vegetables, and meat kabobs, as well as unlimited water and juice.  It was an amazing way to end a fabulous trip.

Due to the rain, not too many pictures were taken, but here are just a few:

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Day 16: Mono Azul Hotel and Manuel Antonio National Park – Pacific Coast

We spent our last two days on the Pacific Coast, and had the opportunity to hike through the Manuel Antonio National Park with Mark, and learn about and see many things along the way, including two Three-toed Sloths (Bradypus variegatus), White-throated Capuchins (Cebus capuchinus), White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus), Black Ctenosaurs (Ctenosaura similis) and Northern Raccoons (Procyon lotor). Students then enjoyed a relaxing afternoon at the beach and shopping in the local shops.  It was a wonderful afternoon.  Earlier in the day we also had a great presentation by Mark about mangroves, so we would be ready for our kayak tour through the mangroves the following day.  Notes from this presentation will be posted soon.  Later this day we returned to our hotel, the Hotel Mono Azul, aka, “The Blue Monkey”.  It was a very nice day.  See pics below:

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Day 16: Dinner at El Avion Restaurant 080614

On this, our 2nd to the last day on this amazing journey, Mark took us to a wonderful restaurant for a very nice dinner, called El Avión, in the Manuel Antonio National Park area of the Pacific Coast.  This is a very famous plane from the Iran-Contra Affair back in the 1980s, that was purchased by the owners of the restaurant and converted into a bar and dance area connected to the restaurant.  We all had a great time going in the airplane, seeing the cockpit, and looking it over, inside and out.  The meal and memories will be something we will never forget.  See below for pictures and information about the history of the plane (from website source:

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When the C-123 Provider was shot down over Nicaragua in 1986, it left behind a sister. You might remember that the sole survivor of the C-123, Eugene Hasenfus, was captured by the Sandinista Army and it was his testimony that helped to shed light on what would only later be known as the Iran-Contra Affair, the bizarre arms sales that the Reagan Administration set up with Iran to win the release of some U.S. hostages being held in Lebanon and to raise money to fund the country-revolutionary Nicaraguan guerrilla fighters.

The plane’s sister was the second of two purchased by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and was, after the successful Sandinista strike, abandoned at the International Airport in San Jose. Purchased in 2000 by the proprietors of the El Avion Restaurant and Bar for $3,000, the plane was disassembled and shipped in pieces to where it currently stands. Because the fuselage was too wide for the Chiquita Banana railroad bridges that are placed around Costa Rica, it had to be sent on an ocean ferry.

The retired sister plane will never go through the same situation that the first one went through as it has been converted into a restaurant, bar, and coffee shop.


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