Costa Rica is home to 5% of the world's biodiversity,
including the vulnerable leatherback sea turtle.
Collaborating for Conservation
The Caribbean beach in Costa Rica is the most important leatherback nesting ground in the world.
And Costa Rican youth are inheriting both the old traditions of turtle egg poaching and the new traditions of conservation and protection of the place they call home. Many Costa Rican teens have never seen a leatherback, nor do they know the importance of their beaches to the leatherback's journey. In 2000, EPI set out to change the education paradigm around conservation. We invited 61 local teens and teachers on course with us, and in a matter of days, we saw the impact firsthand.
Today, our original partnership with Pacuare Nature Reserve has blossomed into the foundation of our work in Costa Rica and all our program sites. Our participants work directly with scientists and researchers at Pacuare to collect data on the leatherbacks who nest there each year. They also help move and protect the leatherback nests, ensuring the protection of the hatchlings within. Pre- and post-course programming provide additional leadership skills, building critical thinking, a personal conservation ethic, and an awareness of environmental issues facing Costa Rica.
"I never knew how important leatherbacks are for the ecosystem. Where I come from, nobody pays attention to them, and it's common to see people selling their eggs. I was shocked to see people working so hard to protect endangered species, and I want to be part of that effort to make a positive impact."
Shanil, a local Costa Rican student, recently joined us on an EPI field course, and her experience at Pacuare had a profound impact.
On course, her instructors described her as an enthusiastic and upbeat student, a great leader, and a positive motivator. Before the course, Shanil admits that she felt she was doing her part to help the environment; but her time volunteering at Pacuare Reserve with EPI opened her eyes. She says it was at Pacuare that she realized she could be more involved in conservation in her own community.
Kincaid Teacher On Her Way To Costa Rica
Originally published in the Galleria Patch
Houston's environment is a lot different than Costa Rica's, a fact that should give Sarah Shea lots of adventure. Shea, a teacher at The Kincaid School, was awarded a fellowship that will take her to the Central American country for eight days to take part in an ecological program.
Shea was chosen by Ecology Project International (EPI), an organization that teams scientists with students and educators for ventures in Costa Rica, Ecuador, the Galapagos, Baja Mexico, Yellowstone, Hawaii, and Belize.
"This was definitely one of the best professional development programs I have... Learn More