Marquette High science teacher Dr. Cathy Farrar and eight Marquette students traveled to Costa Rica in June. There they studied ecosystems and learned about the importance of coffee and chocolate farming in the area.
“Costa Rica is a very special country in terms of its conservation goals and biodiversity,” said Farrar. “The country has committed to preserving biodiversity while still meeting the needs of its citizens for energy and raw materials. It is rich in wildlife and has unique ecosystems such as a cloud forest and a variety of rainforest.”
The group began the trip in the Arenal region where they had the opportunity to kayak in the largest man-made lake in Costa Rica. It supplies the largest proportion of electricity and fresh water for the country.
Next they traveled to the Monteverde region, where the cloud forest is located. Farrar said skies there are misty year-round, and it generally rains about 10 months out of the year.
During this portion they had the opportunity to learn about a local indigenous group that is facing cultural extinction. The way of life they had in the past is no longer possible due to the dwindling number of tribal members.
“They shared their history and students were able to paint a carved piece of balsa wood, something this tribe is known for,” Farrar added.
The Marquette students were eager to explore Costa Rica, a country Farrar believes values culture, conservation and sustainability.