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Global Navigators in Costa Rica - Journey to the Green Mountain

After learning the importance of biodiversity on the Osa Peninsula, sustainable living on Isla Chira, and renewable energy in volcano country, the Global Navigators set off for the town of Monteverde--a best-case-scenario for conservation--to learn about steps they could take to help preserve the wild places that are so vital to our collective survival. After settling in to the beautiful hotel, the explorers set off into the Monteverde Reserve to learn about the history of this protected land and see if they could find any cool critters while they were at it. 

IMG_7733Their local guide was super knowledgable and told them all about the unique cloud forest ecology 

IMG_7714Almost immediately, their guides spotted this green viper from a distance and the exporers got to check it out with the spotting scope. 

IMG_7762Expert guide Andres teaches about epiphytes

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... and points out cool spiders to Aidan  

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The explorers climbed to the continental divide to look at the difference between the protected atlantic slope and the unprotected pacific slope 

IMG_7832Taylor finds these leaves pretty intriguing; you can tell because of her expression

IMG_7843Travelers in wind and fog 

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A visit to the reserve wouldn't be complete without a trip across the bridge 

IMG_7862Katie's setting off into the unknown 

After their visit to the reserve, the global navigators said, "That was really cool, but boy would it be neat to see what the forest is like at night!" In reply, their instructors said, "It's convenient that you think that, because at this very moment we are going on a night hike." That was a great coincidence, wasn't it? So they headed out to Bajo del Tigre, a part of the Children's Eternal Rainforest, to hear about the history of the conservation of this area and go out on a night hike in the cool forest. 

IMG_7891Evening holds all the promise 

IMG_7904Corey might have found himself a little tarantula... 

IMG_7906"Nobody's home!" "Hm... Somebody must be home... because somebody must have said... 'nobody.'"

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Old Mr. Owl was just watching everyone pass by 

 But there was more to do in Monteverde than just wander around in the forests. The students also heard from local conservation initiatives like Nai Conservation (for Tapirs) and from instructor Priscilla's wildlife passages project. The students were super energized to get some ideas about what they could do in their own homestates to work with local conservation projects, and maybe even start a few of their own...

IMG_7958Instructor Priscilla teaches about wildlife passages that help animals avoid becoming roadkill

 On their last morning in Monteverde, the students got to explore some of the trails around their hotel, and they just happened to find a few pretty cool things in their own backyard. The owner of the hotel told them all about the permaculture projects he had running around the property, and the navigators were excited to take some of these lessons back home with them. 

IMG_7960Camden and Katie found a fig tree 

IMG_7962Camden won't come out 

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A little glasswing butterfly 

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Look at that, that's not a bad view 

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Near the end of their hike, the navigators got all sentimental and decided they needed a group hug... 

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... but Aidan thought it looked a little too sweaty in there for him. 

IMG_7981And Chris got distracted posing for the camera 

On their final morning the students calculated their ecological footprint and then compared it to the footprint of local Costa Rican kids by interviewing them about their daily lives and consumption. 

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Professional interviewers 

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 Just to stay energized, the students decided they needed some smoothies while they worked. 

And just like that, it was over. From cultural dancing to polyculture coffee tours, Monteverde had taught the Global navigators a lot. They were sad that they were leaving Costa Rica, but they were excited to take the lessons that they had learned here back home to apply them to the USA. Thanks for an awesome three weeks, Global Navigators!

IMG_8001Adios, Monteverde, adios 

XOXO,

Trevor Ritland. 

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