Our school is a rural/suburban community located about 25 miles outside of Cincinnati. Students are from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds.
The participating students have challenged themselves by choosing to take on demanding classes.
The group includes 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students. In addition to their academic pursuits, many are involved in athletics and community service projects both in and out of school. These students have shown a particular interest in science, either as a career option or simply as part of a well-rounded education.
Students are traveling to Costa Rica in June 2018 to participate in ecological conservation projects and experience the ecosystems and culture of a Latin American country. During the ten day expedition, students will be immersed in the following environments: lowland rain forest, cloud forest, intertidal zone, and coral reef. Students will meet with scientists at the Campanario Biological Station and work with the Osa Turtle Project to collect data that will help scientists monitor and study the migration and population dynamics of green and hawksbill sea turtles. Although most activities are focused on ecology, we will also experience local culture in Providencia, an agricultural community in the mountains of the central valley.
To learn and grow as individuals we must get out of our “comfort zone.” When we attempt to do things that are achievable, but outside of what we can accomplish easily we enter what psychologists call the “zone of proximal development”, or more colloquially, the “learning zone.” Few experiences will bring people out of their comfort zone like entering a different environment and culture.
By traveling, students will instantly set themselves up for accelerated learning and personal growth.
We all depend on clean air and water to maintain a healthy standard of living, so an understanding of environmental systems will enrich these students in whatever field they choose to pursue. Whether they are designing their own scientific study or evaluating options for a business, this experience will play a part in establishing the knowledge and values that go into decision making processes. Finally, being a guest in another country and experiencing other cultures expands a student’s worldview. Many aspects of life are interconnected with people all over the world and students who have first hand experience with other cultures will be better equipped to navigate modern education and careers.
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