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Karla Weidner, a Middle School teacher at Carolina Day School, was selected as one of 16 science teachers from across the United States to participate in Ecology Project International, a unique program in Costa Rica. She spent time in the Tirimbina Rainforest Preserve studying tropical ecology and sharing ideas about how to incorporate this kind of work into the classroom. At Pacuare Reserve, a remote research station on the Caribbean side accessible only by boat, Weidner worked on a leatherback sea turtle conservation project. They patrolled the remote beaches at night and assisted researchers in collecting data on nesting leatherbacks, sometimes even relocating nests to safer locations.
Weidner also had the opportunity to visit a local high school near Limon, Costa Rica. She received a one on one tour of the school with a senior who is working on her English skills, while Weidner practiced she her Spanish.
“I was surprised how much the school felt like Carolina Day. The students had a terrific rapport with their teachers and the school felt very relaxed. It was fun to see them enjoying salsa dancing in music class,” said Weidner.
Weidner says the fellowship program provided her with a unique opportunity to work with researchers in the field as well as exchange ideas about pedagogy with an incredible group of educators.
“I’m excited to incorporate what I’ve learned into the classroom and have returned with an even greater commitment to helping young people understand the importance of sustainability and preservation of the species,” said Weidner.
For more information about Carolina Day School, its Pre-kindergarten through 12 independent day school program, call 828-274-0757 or visit carolinaday.org.