2017 CHANCE Costa Rica Field Course Itinerary*

Itinerary map

Includes: All instruction and guide services; all meals and lodging as stated in the itinerary; all ground, water and air transportation within Costa Rica; all entrance fees to National Parks and other sites; research and conservation activities; round-trip international airfare.

Does Not Include: Passport fees; Penn State mandatory HTH Worldwide Study Abroad insurance (~ $2.00/day); gratuities to guides, drivers, or transfer personnel; transportation to-and-from Newark International Airport, New Jersey; luggage fees; laundry; telephone calls; and, any other expenses of a personal nature.

MEAL CODES: B-breakfast, L-lunch, D-dinner

*Final destinations and events are subject to change.

(Flight Itinerary UPDATED: May 1, 2017)


 

Day 1 - May 19
Trunk of a large rainforest tree

Bienvenidos a Costa Rica!

Flight Itinerary Date Time Location

Flight 1 Depart:

May 19, 2017 9:30 AM

Newark Liberty Intl Airport (EWR), Newark NJ

American Airlines
Flight #1134

Flight 1 Arrival:

May 19, 2017 12:32 PM

Dallas/Fort Worth Intl Airport (DFW), Dallas TX

Flight 2 Depart: May 19, 2017 2:50 PM

Dallas/Fort Worth Intl Airport (DFW), Dallas TX

American Airlines
Flight #986

Flight 2 Arrival: May 19, 2017 5:50 PM Juan Santamaría Intl Airport (SJO), San José, Costa Rica

Following arrival at Juan Santamaría International Airport, outside of San José, our group will be met by OTS staff and transferred to their biological field station in Heredia. There will be introductions and an orientation session to the field course.

For more than five decades, OTS has been the world's leading institution in the study of tropical biology with more than 350 graduate-level courses in the ecology and management of natural resources and over eight thousand students participating in its programs and conducting research annually. Research at the OTS stations has added significantly to what is known about tropical biology and forest ecosystems—more than 300 scientists from 25 countries work at OTS sites each year.

There will be staff introductions and an orientation to the field station.

Lodging: OTS Biological Field Station

Meals: D

STRI Emergency Contact:

Dr. Carlos de la Rosa, Station Director

Telephone: (506) 2766-6565 ext. 124 

Email: carlos.delarosa@tropicalstudies.org

Note: The station is very basic; in every room there are bunk beds.  There is electricity; however, there is no air conditioning, only fans. Mosquito nets for beds are provided. Hot water is available for showers. Long sleeves and waterproof pants (no shorts) and shoes suitable for the rainforest terrain are recommended at all times. Flip-flops, sandals or street shoes are not permitted in the field.

Day 2 - May 20
Students hiking through tropical rainforest

BIODIVERSITY ACTIVITIES AT THE ORGANIZATION FOR TROPICAL STUDIES, LA SELVA

CHANCE ice breaker with instructors.
Welcome to OTS, La Selva presentation by Dr. Amanda Wendt.
Day hike in the La Selva rainforest with expert OTS guides.
Afternoon boat trip through the Puerto Viejo and Sarapiquí Rivers
Night hike in La Selva rainforest with expert OTS guides.
CHANCE evening reflection with instructors.

Lodging: OTS Biological Field Station

Meals: B L D

Day 3 - May 21

BIODIVERSITY ACTIVITIES AT THE BRAULIO CARRILLO NATIONAL PARK AT QUEBRADA GONZALEZ

Hiking path through rainforest

Figure 1: Photo Source http://www.twoweeksincostarica.com

Full day hike in the beautiful old growth and regrowth rainforest teeming with wildlife. (A box lunch will be provided.)

Both large size (108,970 acres) of Braulio Carrillo National Park, and its varied altitude of 3,000 meters (9,800 ft.) between highest and lowest points, make it home to several distinct ecoregion zones. Ranging from high-altitude cloud forests to lowlands tropical rainforest, it has one of the highest levels of biodiversity in Costa Rica. More than 90% of the park is covered in primary forest providing a unique snapshot of ancient ecological conditions.

The park contains landscapes representing the Talamancan montane forests ecoregion at high elevations and the Isthmian-Atlantic moist forests ecoregion at low elevations. It is significant for its biodiversity with 600 identified species of trees, over 530 species of birds, and 135 species of mammals already catalogued. The park is split into sectors. We will visit the Quebrada Gonzalez sector.

Rainforest Trail

Figure 2: This photo is not from the sector we are visiting but gives an example of the park's landscape.

There are great jungle views on all three of the Quebrada Gonzalez sector trails. This area of the Caribbean slope gets a lot of rainfall throughout the year so everything is lush and green. Moss, ferns, orchids, and bromeliads seem to be growing on and out of every surface. Some very large trees are found along the trails with huge canopies towering overhead.

Upon return to the research station, CHANCE participants will be divided into four research groups. Each group will have dinner with their assigned research scientist mentor. See “Meet our Scientists” section.

Evening journaling session with instructors.

Lodging: OTS Biological Field Station

Meals: B L D

Day 4 - May 22

MORNING: Tour of Mi Cafecito coffee plantation

Woman brewing coffee

Photo credit: Mi Cafecito

This morning we will travel by bus to Mi Cafecito coffee plantation, a fair-trade operation. We will learn how coffee is grown here using environmentally-friendly production practices that allow wildlife, especially birds, to coexist with the coffee trees.  The coffee fruits are harvested, processed and some of the “beans” are roasted. Waste products are composted and the water used in processing is discharged into ponds. The ponds are used for aquaculture (fish farming) and nutrient removal from the water before it is discharged into the Sarapiquí River. After the tour and a walk to a scenic waterfall, we will enjoy traditionally-prepared coffee and a Costa Rican lunch. We will have time to purchase coffee at the gift shop. 
http://www.micafecitocoffeetour.com/mi-cafecito-coffee-tour1.html

AFTERNOON: Tour of Banana Plantation

In the afternoon, we will visit a Dole banana plantation. We will learn about the biology of the banana plant and tour the production and handling facility. You will also learn why it is probable that every banana you have ever eaten is genetically identical, just like identical twins. 
http://www.bananatourcostarica.com/tour_description.html

Lodging: OTS Biological Field Station

Meals: B L D

Day 5-9. May 23-27
Image of students performing field research in the rainforest of Costa Rica

RESEARCH ACTIVITIES AT OTS, LA SELVA

Early in the morning for the next 5 days, students will meet their assigned research mentor. Each mentor who will guide his group’s research activities on a daily basis, either in the field or laboratory. All students will return in the late afternoon for data reflection with their mentor and dinner.

Daily evening group reflection or a fun activity will be followed by time to work on group research presentations. These elements will be coordinated and lead by CHANCE faculty (instructors).

A presentation about the Biodiversity of La Selva will be given by Dr. Carlos de la Rosa on May 24.

Following dinner on the last evening, students will present their research projects at the 2017 CHANCE and OTS Field Research Symposium to CHANCE faculty and OTS researchers, visiting scientists, undergraduate REUs and staff.

OTS La Selva Video on Research

Lodging: OTS Biological Field Station

Meals: B L D

Day 10 - May 28
Sunset over water

TRANSFER TO THE AIRPORT - FLIGHT BACK TO USA

After breakfast, we will be transferred to the Juan Santamaría International Airport where the group will have a free time to shop for souvenirs.

Meals: B

Flight Itinerary Date Time Location

Flight 1 Depart:

May 28, 2017 2:35 PM

Juan Santamaría Intl Airport (SJO), San José, Costa Rica

American Airlines
Flight #1706

Flight 1 Arrival:

May 28, 2017 8:56 PM

Charlotte Intl Airport (CLT), Charlotte, NC

 

Flight 1 Depart:

May 28, 2017 10:15 PM

Charlotte Intl Airport (CLT), Charlotte, NC

American Airlines
Flight #1698

Flight 2 Arrival: May 29, 2017 12:08 AM Newark Liberty Intl Aiport (EWR), Newark NJ

 

NOTE: Due to weather conditions and circumstances beyond the control of the field course staff and faculty, certain activities may be changed or altered on different days for the best interest of the group.

MEET OUR SCIENTISTS

After early morning bird-watching and breakfast, the students will meet their assigned research mentor. Each mentor who will guide his group’s research activities on a daily basis, either in the field or laboratory. All students will return in the late afternoon for data reflection with their mentor and dinner.

Daily evening group reflections or a fun activity will be followed by time to work on group research presentations. These elements will be coordinated and lead by CHANCE faculty.

RESEARCH ACTIVITIES AT OTS, LA SELVA

De La Rosa

Field Problem #1: Non-biting Midges (Family Chironomidae) – Carlos de la Rosa

Dierick

Field Problem #2: Leaf-cutting ants – Diego Dierick

Salas

Field Problem #3: Learning in Hummingbirds – Marcelo Araya-Salas

Paul Foster

**Update**

Field Problem #4: Disturbance and Forest Regeneration – Amanda Wendt

 

Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS), La Selva, Costa Rica

The Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS) is a non-profit consortium that has grown to include 63 universities and research institutions from the United States, Latin America and Australia. In the early 1960's, scientists from U.S. universities forged working relationships with colleagues at the Universidad de Costa Rica in the interest of strengthening education and research in tropical biology. Intense interest both in the U.S. and Costa Rica led to the founding of OTS in 1963. OTS was founded to provide leadership in education, research and the responsible use of natural resources in the tropics. To address this mission, OTS conducts graduate and undergraduate education, facilitates research, participates in tropical forest conservation, maintains three biological stations in Costa Rica and conducts environmental education programs.

OTS owns and operates three biological stations in Costa Rica:

  1. La Selva Biological Station is located in the Caribbean lowland at the northern base of Braulio Carrillo National Park and recognized internationally as one of the premier facilities for rain forest research.
  2. Palo Verde Biological Station lies in the heart of Palo Verde National Park in the northwestern Pacific lowlands and known for its deciduous dry forest, freshwater marsh and extensive wetlands.
  3. Las Cruces Biological Station & Wilson Botanical Garden on Costa Rica's southern Pacific slopes, noted for its extensive collection of palms, bromeliads and endangered plants. Las Cruces is part of the Amistad Biosphere Reserve.

All three OTS stations are affiliated with the Organization of Biological Field Stations to promote interchange of professionals for biological research and education. Since its founding in 1963, OTS has offered over 350 graduate-level courses in the natural sciences and can count more than 8,000 graduate students and professionals as alumni. OTS alumni now occupy leading positions in universities, research institutions, government agencies and conservation organizations throughout the world. Of the alumni, nearly 3,000 are from Latin America.

Research at the OTS stations has added significantly to what is known about tropical biology and forest ecosystems - more than 300 scientists from 25 countries work at OTS sites each year. The traditional focus on education and research has broadened to encompass quality-learning options for natural history visitors and local school children who come to the OTS stations just for short visits.

In 1985, OTS was awarded the John and Alice Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement as the first organization to be so honored. OTS was recognized for its pivotal contributions to tropical research, training and conservation. In 1999, The Ecological Society of America recognized OTS with an Award of Special Recognition. OTS was recognized because of its significant and meritorious contribution to the education of scientists.

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