Sunday, July 15, 2018

I Like Turtles!

Sunday/Today we woke up early, well most of us did, three decided that sleeping was more interesting than the turtles. Not to name names, but they rhyme with "Rana, Ratie and Rlyssa". They got a private car ride with Beth and showed up late to the breakfast place. It was rice + beans with tortillas. Next up was the ride the the beach, where we got a choice, big boat or small boat. "Small boat was the best part of my day"- Christopher. About seven people were on the small boat along with the fishermen and the rest were on the bigger (and nicer) boat too. The boat ride was about 45 minutes long across the bay. When the big boat met up with the small boat, we were greeted by sea shanties led by Mr. Topher himself (aka Christopher). I (Logan) proceeded to immediately jump off the side of the boat to find turtles. The rest of the group, (including Josie) broke up into two, switching off of measuring and cuddling with them (just kidding). We took every measure of the turtle possible, as well as tagging, and taking tissue samples. They are surprising heavy and uncooperative. As we were releasing the turtle, Josie got a great video of it, (pic attached) We later jumped into the water to go snorkeling.

We were boated from our other boat to a great spot, with crazy rock formations, with tons of fish, especially puffer fish, and with Spotted Eels and Spotted Eagle Rays (lots of spots). There was massive currents pushing us towards the sea urchin infested coast. Everyone met back together at the big boat and small boat, to make our final trek across the bay. The people on the small boat got tossed around like chew toys with the massive swells of waves  - which weren't there in the morning. On the big boat some kids sat on the front of the boat, and got absolutely soaked. We took a great group picture with a boat. We traveled back to the hotel and showered as quickly as possible, to go to dinner, which was a BBQ. After a little wait, we got served sausage, chicken, and you guessed it, rice + beans. we came back around 5:30 to goof off for the first time in a long time. Tomorrow we PACK and head home!

💖 from Logan & Josie

Flight DL0356 Departs from Liberia @ 1:34 pm Arrives Atlanta @ 7:37 pm
Departs Atlanta @ 9:06 pm Arrives at MSP @ 10:53 pm
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Saturday, July 14, 2018

Rollercoster Roads and Rays!


   Today started with quite an early morning. This day was “travel to the beach” day and also Nora’s 17th birthday! We piled into the van for our long trek northwest. There were many hills, and turns, and dips, and turns and the VIEWS were incredible.  Unfortunately, some kids did get carsick, like me (Alyssa) but it after some pop and crackers, we felt better.

    Sadly enough, when we stopped at the supermarket, we were NOT able to find our delicious chocolate covered espresso beans. 

     We continued on despite disappointment at the store, and an hour later we arrived at our new location by the beach. 

     We quickly changed into swimwear and were on to the next adventure! Lunch! 

       We ate at a lovely home of some research scientists, where we were served some delicious fish, rice, beans, and most importantly, plantain chips! 

      Our next task was getting fitted for flippers, as we were about to go snorkeling! The scientists were very patient with all 22 of us! We then traveled swiftly to the beach and got ready for takeoff! 

     Our task was not only to enjoy the beautiful sea water but keep a lookout for stingrays, as we would be catching some for local research! We were catching  (sun) rays! And, literally catching (sting) rays! We helped catch, measure, sample, weigh, record, and then release the stingrays. It was a life changing event! We all learned so much.

     All of us had a great time! After our tiring day, we headed home and showered up for dinner. We had a brisk walk down to the local pizza place attached to the motel, and had a delicious and savory meal. This was a great day all around. We look forward to more time on the water tomorrow!

- Katie Brandwick and Alyssa Missling

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Friday, July 13, 2018

Presentations and Science are COMPLETE!

Friday, July 13th

     Today was a big day for the entire group, we finally got to present our projects that we've spent the entire week working on. Everyone really enjoyed seeing all the projects. It was amazing to see the culmination of all the hard work. Gabriel and Ibrahim were amazing teachers, and we made them proud with our work. 

     Presentations took most of the morning and Gabriel and Ibrahim had to leave as soon as we were done. We said our goodbyes and thank yous and then enjoyed some much needed free time before lunch. 

    Our afternoon activities started with a bat exhibit in Monteverde, and it turns out bats are pretty cute! After the tour we all went up to the chocolate shop on the floor above where many of us enjoyed a variety of different delicious chocolates. 

      Our next stop was "downtown" Monteverde, where we spent some time shopping and exploring. A few groups stopped for coffee and some others enjoyed a treehouse cafe. Plenty of souvenirs were bought, fingers crossed they all fit in our suitcases.

     We ended the night with a trip down the road for some amazing local pizza. We also had a cake to celebrate Nora's birthday. We are now spending the rest of our last night at UGA hanging out at our cabins playing Uno. Hopefully we pack at some point.

     Tomorrow is going to be an early morning, but we are all super excited to get to the beach. 

Carter A-L. and Grace E.

Here are the happy students AFTER presentations this morning!

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Practice for Presentations

Hello everyone!

Our apologies that we didn't have a Thursday post, it completely slipped our mind yesterday, so here it is!

Today (Thursday) we had all day science: focusing on practicing for our presentations tomorrow (Friday). Everybody each had to present a five minute practice presentation to Gabriel.

The morning weather was lovely. Students went to Gabriel to have their presentations evaluated by him elsewhere on campus. The morning groups had a beautiful stroll to find him. Later in the day, a thunderstorm rolled through.  It was raining cats and dogs during part of the day, and people had to run through the downpour to present. (I'm extremely glad I went in the morning because I don't know what I would have done if I had to go through the rain that day!)

Fortunately, we had breaks throughout the day from our science: breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a game of soccer!  It was supposed to be the "first activity" students (as in the bird watching and cow milking) group one in LIGHT colors, against the "second group" in DARK colors. There was a lot of shouting, yelling and laughing as the students played on the wet and muddy field! The students were surprised at how skilled Gabriel and Ibrahim were playing soccer!

We did see some other cool things today too. One of the places we were working in had a handful of butterflies inside the main building, and it was fascinating to see and watch. We saw a family of Capuchin monkeys. The babies were riding on the backs of the parents. It was impossible to get a good picture, because they move really fast, and they hide in the leaves.

Many of us try to get a mug of hot chocolate. They serve it every night after dinner, and there is a limited amount. It is homemade and very,very delicious. Not everyone can get some, because they only 2 pitchers each night.

We have also had some interesting animal encounters in our cabins. Last night Kaelyn found a cockroach in her bed. Then, there was LOTS of screaming. Derek tried to kill it with a flip flop. It was hard to kill. Later, Ms. F sprayed Kaelyn's bed with bug spray, but later, Ms. F found a giant spider in her own room. Ah, the wildlife in Costa Rica.


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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Horses and High Views!

Good evening family and friends. We have had a very fun day full of science and horseback riding. The trail was rather terrifying to some people,but was a very fun experience for all. The trail went uphill and downhill, through mud, water, rocks, streams, and the rainforest. This year we were all able to go as a group, so we had a mix of horses and donkeys. Most people were given sticks to keep the horses moving. The views (while on the horses) were incredible! There were some very chaotic moments where we all were running up the hills, and passing each other. Some of the horses didn't exactly like each other so there were some cranky horses. At the end of the horseback ride we got off of the horses and we went to try some liquid sugar cane and fresh bananas. This years horseback ride was definitely more fun and exciting!

Having a great time -  from Kaelyn, Liv, and Derek


Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Clouds, Coffee and Cows!!!

At 6:15 AM, eleven of us woke up to a blustery and cloudy morning to start the day by milking cows! With our naturalist guide, Marissa, we discussed the differences between Costa Rican and American farms. We then tried our hand at milking the University’s cows. Everyone struggled a little bit, but everyone got milk out at some point! We then learned about the bio-degrading system on campus, known as the Biodigester. All of the waste products from the campus are transported into this giant system in which decomposition occurs, helping the University maintain their goal of sustainability. There are three different processes that clean up the waste, and turn it back into safe drinking water and fertilizer. Even the pigs poop goes in there, and ours (the water still passes international standards)! Sadly, half of the cow milking group was 20 minutes late, cutting it very close to missing the experience. (We learned to BE ON TIME!)

After a delicious breakfast, the entirety of the group headed to a classroom to work on their individual experiments. Each group was very on task, and worked diligently to create the figures necessary to display their findings. Everyone completed their third objective today, making great progress.

After the morning science session, the group split into two to go on a tour of a family owned coffee farm - Cafe Organico! We learned about the process through which ripe coffee cherries are dried and cracked open into coffee beans. They grow, harvest, and shuck all of the coffee beans on their own. After a quick tour of the farm and equipment, the owners invited us into their homes for a delicious cup of Costa Rican coffee.
Then we had three hours of freetime to recharge from the morning science session.  Some played UNO, others slept, but all had a good time.

Finally, we had our night class, and everyone is making GREAT progress on their research projects! The college professors are so proud!

We hope to continue this trend of productivity into tomorrow!!!! GO TEAM!

-Lana & Chloe
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Monday, July 9, 2018

Monkeys and Milking!

Today was a wild day for Seeds of Change. Last night, Capuchin monkeys made a small ruckus on the porch, but they're so cute that we forgive them. Early this morning, half of the group went out to milk the cows, while the other cabins snoozed (they'll go tomorrow). The barn seemed very peaceful with the baby calves and the mothers lowing. Though some of us were significantly udder-challenged, some of us were shooting out milk like pros - at least, that's what we thought until we saw an actual dairy farmer blaze through milking the cow at the speed of light.
Besides the milking, we met some friendly piglets and learned about sustainable farming. It was amazing to see such a self-sufficient farm with none of the industrial machinery that we're used to in the US. Every living thing was connected to all the others, from the people, to the pigs, to the fish, to the microbes in the biodigester. The methane produced from the biogester heats our food in the dining hall, our food scraps feed the pigs, and the waste products from pigs and humans are recycled in the biodigester to start part of the cycle over. Back home, it’s easy to feel separate from the environmental consequences of our actions.
Right after our lunch we went ziplining. Ziplining after lunch might have not been the best decision for some people. After the second zipline Carter puked a little in his mouth, because of the height, and also because he had way too much food before he ziplined. Some individuals got scared at the beginning trial zipline because the guide just pushed this girl down the line when she tried to back out of the whole thing. When she left the platform screaming and crying lot of people’s faces looked terrified. Ibrahim screamed on almost every single zipline! We had to tandem with another person, and since we had an odd number I (Shea) got to tandem with the tour guide, and he put me backward for most of the zipline! We were so high up that we were in the clouds. If you looked straight ahead it was just clouds, and if you looked down you could see all of the tops of the trees. At the very end of the ziplining course we had the opportunity to get belayed down, or free-fall. There were some individuals that decided not to free-fall, but most of us plummeted to the ground. When we were at the platform the instructor told us on the count of three to jump, but  I (Camille) leaned back too far and fell off. Afterwards, the instructor yelled to the others not to pull a stunt like that. For me (Shea) the standing on the freefall platform was thrilling because I was playing “what are the odds” with people who were going to belay down instead of free falling. Unfortunately I did not win any, but seeing their face while everyone jumped made the environment more on edge.

After the zipline adventure, the bus dropped us off at a supermarket to buy some snacks. During the bus ride back to the UGA campus, everybody tossed their snacks around to share, so we all had a taste of these odd cookie-donut hybrids, and some highly suspicious blue-green Doritos. Dinner and night class weren’t especially eventful outside of some intense moth activity.
After class at night we had our annual game of Uno. The game was very intense with "scream back and forward," but we were not mad at each other we were just very competitive because it was chaos Uno. Since we when to the market hours before, we all shared some of our snacks and drinks. Everyone except Derek was drinking Costa Rican soda. Derek decided to try some tea instead. He boiled his water (which was actually luke warm) and brought it outside so he could get help with the process of making the tea.
We all stopped the game of Uno and told him to tie the bag around the handle of the coffee mug. Then we told him to just put the bag in the mug and let it seep. He had troubles putting the bag in the mug it took TWO tries, and then he finally made it in the mug. Unfortunately he did not like the tea one bit, but hey that made all of our night!
After this long day we are excited for tomorrow’s coffee tour and whatever adventures await!
Some images
- Being completely swallowed by clouds (a zipline hurtling into a murky fogbank, reminds me how the weeks leading up AP testing feel)
- Coati galloping along the path - looks like a cross between an anteater and a red panda, moves at a weird galumph.
- Arroz y frijoles doused in hot sauce make up approx. 10% of my body mass
- Unending sass from Ibrahim
- You're never more than five feet from a moth (if you think you are, just wait a few seconds). Though last year there were probably more bugs, the ones here are significantly, and uncomfortably, friendlier.
Happy Trails! Shea and Camille

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If you are reading this you are reading our secret message! Have fun reading!
At the beginning of the ziplining tour I (Shea) asked the tour guide if we still spread our legs would you still crotch the zipline. His response was, “Well I have never seen anyone crotch the line if you listen to our directions”. I still had some doubts because the people in front of me were swinging pretty high. Then I turned to Beth, Gabriel, and Ibrahim to see if they have ever hit the line. They all said no, but Gabriel also added, “I would not want to be the individual who hit the cable because that would hurt.” I can’t remember quite what Ibrahim said, but it was along the lines that would never happen I have been on this once already and it did not happen. Little did he know that he would be crotch the line today. He did not just hit the line he slammed into the line! Gabriel asked if I saw that and and I said yes. Then he turned to Ibrahim and asked him something that I will not say, but Ibrahim hesitated  and said yah. It looked like he was in pain.