English teacher Josh Wahl and International Baccalaureate biology teacher Michael Hanson plan to take 15 to 20 students to the island nation to observe nature and Costa Rican culture.
“Science doesn’t just exist in the classroom, but science exists everywhere,” Wahl said.
The trip is scheduled for June 15 through 25, and students can sign up at school.
The group will visit such Costa Rican cities as Monteverde, Arenal, and Palo Verde, but their home base will be the city of Jaco, a nearby surfing community.
The biology portion of the trip will include collecting water and soil samples to study and visiting the Los Pumas Rescue Center to see rescued exotic animals.
The students will also participate in community service projects. They will plant trees, volunteer at centers for children and senior citizens, work on construction projects and prepare vegetables for schools, among other projects.
Wahl said the trip will also include lessons in agriculture, history and politics.
The original idea arose in 2011 when Wahl and Hanson received an email from Susan Schai, of Scotts Valley-based Scholastic Expeditions, who offered to organize the trip.
Since then, Wahl and Hanson have worked with Schai and Scholastic Expeditions to create an itinerary that allows for more interaction with Costa Ricans and a more enriching cultural experience than last year’s trip. The new itinerary also reduces the price by more than $400 to $2,700.
Fundraising ideas are being brainstormed, but nothing has been formalized, according to Wahl.
The primary goal for the trip, Wahl said, is to allow students to experience a culture and a natural environment that are different from their own.
Schai said it helps a person throughout life to have a global perspective.
“Scholastic Expeditions is inspiring the next generation of scientists and future biologists, and creating better global citizens in the process,” she said.
According to Schai, the teachers expect students will return with a sense of place in the greater world, a broadened perspective and a renewed passion for learning.
Rachel Krzeczowski, a senior who traveled with Wahl and Hanson last summer, said she connected during the trip with a girl who she didn’t realize went to her school, and they have remained friends.
Krzeczowski also enjoyed the opportunity to make use of her foreign language lessons.
“It was a really good experience, because I got to use my Spanish,” Krzeczowski said.
Wahl and Hanson want the trips to evolve into an ongoing program that promotes the ideals of the IB program, such gaining a global perspective.
They hope parents and educators will help with fundraising to open the trip to as many students as possible.
For information: Josh Wahl, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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