Friday, July 29, 2016

Last Day in Costa Rica

This is our last night in Costa Rica, and although we have had the trip of a lifetime, we are all ready to be with our families again! 

Yesterday we spent the day traveling to Horizontes, a place to stay and study sea turtles in the dry forest, which was a huge change from the rainforest in Finca La Anita. We got to Horizontes, unpacked our things, then met with Nathan (one of the leading sea turtle research scientists in the world) who explained what we would be doing and looking for later in the evening out on the beach. We then proceeded to eat dinner then pack a few essentials for a night out on the beach. When we got to the beach, we set up "camp" and laid out towels and blankets for people to rest on when we all were taking turns walking up and down the beach throughout the night. We did this from 7 to around midnight. Although no sea turtles were found, it was definitely a good learning experience. 

Today we finally got to sleep in, something we rarely get to do. Everyone woke up at around 10 to go eat breakfast and we were relieved to hear that today was going to be a beach day. We took our buses down with our amazing drivers to the beach where we were at the night before and everyone set up their towels and automatically jumped into the water. It felt so amazing, all of us were craving a relaxing day and this was the perfect way to do it. After everyone was done swimming we were surprised with a nice barbecue. It was a great last dinner with everyone. We had planned on staying until the sun went down so we could get some amazing pictures, but unfortunately we were pushed out by the rain coming in. After the rain, we came back to Horizontes for some showers and sleep. 

This has been an amazing, unforgettable trip. We all made lifetime friends that we will cherish forever. This has been the most real experience that I'm sure all of us has felt, we've shared laughs, hugs, tears, and memories. (Brooklyn) This trip has been absolutely crazy and I'm glad I could share it with this wonderful group of girls. 

These are your four seniors, Brooklyn, Tristen, Caitie, and Jessie, telling you all to make sure to wash your pants.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Hi friends and family!
We have had a very busy day and will have an even busier night. We traveled to our final destination (Horizonte Research Station) and will be headed to the beach at 7:30 until at least midnight. We are hoping to see a black see turtle nesting and laying eggs. (Cross your fingers! None of the groups have seen one this summer as this is not peak nesting season)
Everyone is doing great!
Students will blog tomorrow on our final night!
Take care,

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


I held a machete guys (take that Mom.) Even though that was the most important part of the entire day we did some other pretty cool stuff too!

This morning after breakfast we presented our officially completed science experiments to the group. We got feedback from Dr. Pinto and got to see what our peers had been doing this whole time. We're super excited for you guys to see our work, everyone did incredibly well and really knew their stuff! As soon as we were done with final presentations, taxis came and brought us straight to a place called Sensoria, where we hiked to waterfalls and hot springs! It started pouring rain on the way to the waterfall and we ended up swimming in the rain which was kinda insane (in a good way.) We also climbed up a suspension ladder thing to get to the top of a really high tree house right in the middle of the rain forest.

After getting back from the hike (all of us soaking wet,) we took the taxis back to Finca La Anita and some of us even got to sit in the back of the pickup truck while it was still pouring rain! Dinner was Costa Rican style nachos with crazy good queso and pulled pork. The best part was the chocolate cake at the end made with all-natural, fresh, homemade cacao. I literally cried when I saw it, it was so pretty and tasted so good. 

Now this is the most important part of the day you better get ready to hear this. I. Got. To. Hold. A. Machete. I was knighted by Mr. Crannell (I'd like to be referred to as Lord Sadie now please and thank you) and took a lot of pictures while maniacally laughing. Everyone got to hold it too but don't worry we were super safe and definitely didn't pretend to decapitate one another. 

Today was our last day at Finca La Anita with the leaf cutter ants and we couldn't have had a better experience! Tomorrow we head off to Horizonte to begin our sea turtle leg of this trip. We're all pumped but a little bummed to leave behind Pablo and his fabulous crew (but not necessarily the ants. They bite.) Hope everybody is having a blast back home, we'll see you all in a few days!

-Sadie (the birthday girl who did I mention got to hold a machete)

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Day 7!

Today was a full day of science, but that doesn't mean we didn't party hard (I was obviously the DJ-Emma) and take many snack breaks (I ate so much chocolate I couldn't move-Caroline). Most groups were finishing up their projects and were working on their final presentations so that gave us plenty of time to have hard core jam sessions (Caroline partied so hard she dislocated her shoulder!). We are presenting our final projects tomorrow and again when we get back to Minnesota. It has been a pretty relax day that most of us needed since we have been working hard... and most people are still sore from horseback riding yesterday! (@ Mrs Oster-- we love when you roast Sadie). Our group also tasted some great Costa Rican fruit! (don't let the outside fool you, it was so good!) We hope everyone is good and well back in Minnesota! We can't wait so see you all on Saturday, we have many stories to tell!
-Emma Larsen and Caroline Pernat

Monday, July 25, 2016

Hello Friends and Family! (Hi Mom- Ali). We're having a wonderful time in Costa Rica. For breakfast we had pancakes, sausage, yogurt, and scrambled eggs. We spent the morning and early afternoon working on our research project, and began our final presentations. For lunch we had burgers, chips, and really good green juice (Yay American food!). During the afternoon, we went horseback riding. (Sadie rode a mule because her legs were too short for the horse.). The horseback ride led us up the side of the Rincon de la Vieja volcano.

After the horseback ride, Ali met a dog and named her Debbie. 

For dinner, we went to a place called Cafe Campesino (which was actually the home of a Costa Rican woman). At Cafe Campesino, we cooked with a woman named Aracelly. We made tortillas, rice and beans, fried plantains, chicken, a cheese called Cuajada, and a vegetable plate that looked like a shark. We also had homemade churros for dessert, and they were phenomenal.  After the meal, Ali found another dog, this time naming it Tina.  She later found out that Tina was a boy and his name was Aphrelito


Overall today was another great day in Costa Rica. We're having a wonderful time, and can't wait for tomorrow!

-Ali and Giana :)
(Bye Mom -Ali)

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Day 5 :)

Hola friends and family! 

Another great day in paradise! Today we woke up bright and early to get a head start on one of our several service projects we complete over the course of this trip. We had a delicious breakfast, as usual, and took a tractor ride to the village. There, we finished painting a bus stop, a project originally started by a previous group of students. The artistic ones painted birds and touched up the outside of the mural, while the less precise ones of us painted the inside blue. 

After the walls and ourselves were completely covered in paint, we took a car ride to the side of a mountain, where we hiked up and took 12 different zip lines down through the rain forest canopy. At one point some of us even hung upside down! Even the people scared of heights had a great time!

For lunch we ate heart of palm rice casserole, which was a nice homage to our meals in Minnesota. :) There was also fajita style chicken and plenty of fried plantains. We all ate about two pounds of those...
After lunch we headed down to the lab to get cracking on our experiments we designed yesterday. We ran trials and worked out the mechanics of our official experiments. 

We had an awesome dinner but honestly that didn't compare to the dessert. We had cake and ice cream to ramp up for another few hours of science, wrapping up what we had started earlier. Tomorrow we'll be riding horses and cooking authentic Costa Rican food! We're already halfway done with our trip and it feels like we've only been here a day. Everyone is loving it!

-Anna and Sadie 

p.s. Sadie is gonna get to hold a machete on her birthday this is the real deal get ready 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Hi family and friends! We're having a great time here in the rainforest of Costa Rica. Today we focused mainly on science; we worked hard in the morning to learn and observe as much as we could about Ants so that we could start the process of picking out our experiments.

We did a lab in the morning along with some book work so that we could get a good basis for our research. We took samples of our Leaf Cutter Ant Colonies' fungus gardens to find out if there is Escovopsis in our samples. Escovopsis is the bad fungus that attacks the good fungus (Leucoagaricus). We also talked about Pseudonocardia which is the antibiotic creating actinobacteria that is on the Ants that fights off the bad bacteria/fungus.

All of the food here is so clean and fresh, but most importantly delicious. Eggs, fruit, and rice and beans is what we've had for breakfast everyday, but we don't think you could ever get sick of it. Lunch and dinner were just as delicious, if not better than breakfast. It's currently past our bedtime here in Costa so here's a food picture of our dinner. . . we're too tired to type.
We're all alive and well, and having a great time, and we definitely haven't forgotten about all of our loved ones at home, we wish you could all be here with us. I'm (Maggie) happy to announce that the cute doctor fixed Kaelyn's thumb after she fell in the river on day one, it's just a sprain and she's feeling much better, we all hope for a quick recovery. 

Miss you all like crazy!
Kaelyn & Maggie
p.s. Shout out to Kaelyn's *amazing* softball team! Good luck at Nationals, also shout out to Marge's fam!