Posted by: untigloballearning | September 8, 2009

2008 Emerald Eagle Video on Youtube!

There is now a wealth of video from the very first Emerald Eagle Study Abroad Program available on Youtube! 

Go visit the UNTThailand Youtube area and enjoy!

Posted by: untigloballearning | July 31, 2009

More Costa Rica group reflections

Franchesca reflects:

Our trip has come full circle. We are back where we started, but we are not the same people who started. Families here in Costa Rica have opened up their homes and minds to feed us with knowledge as well as food. I personally have experienced so many things that I know I would not have otherwise been able to. I have faced situations that were not at ALL what I would choose to do; however each situation taught me a new lesson and opened my eyes in all possible ways. Costa Rica has so much soul and such a beautiful story that two weeks was not NEARLY enough to experience a quarter of it. This was an opportunity of a life time and I’m so very grateful that the Emerald Eagle program provided it for me. Adiós for now, Costa Rica.

Franchesca Burrell


Stinky Shoes! 

The first ten days in Costa Rica it rained every single day.  And things here aren’t like in the states, where if it rains we cancel activities… oh no!! : )  We simply put our ponchos on and off we go to explore these beautiful and well preserved forests and farms!!  Today, it has not rained.  I am certain that in other parts of the county, today it is still pouring for others, but for us, today we have traded rain for sweat.  We arrived a couple of days ago in Liberia which is more on the Pacific side where it is a little more “dry”.  Needless to say, after hiking, walking, sweating through countless rainforests, coffee & cacao farms, my poor Nikes never stood a chance!  Now that we are in Liberia, it’s hotter here and this is day two without rain so finally they are dry.  All is not well though, the SMELL is still here.  We joked that they smell like Doritos mixed with Mexican cheese!  All we gotta say, is “No Bueno”!!


Posted by: untigloballearning | July 31, 2009

Farewell Dinner

Here we are, ready for our Farewell Dinner together in Costa Rica (We clean up nicely but we still might smell a bit!)


Dr. Eliecer Vargas, our wonderful host from CATIE


Marcelo, Lauren, and Eliecer


Many thanks to CATIE!


Posted by: untigloballearning | July 31, 2009

Final Blog post from James

This Costa Rican adventure has finally made a complete circle. I spent my first night and am now spending my last night at Hotel El Sesteo in San Jose. It is 11:07 P.M. Only seven more hours until I depart.  From mosquitoes to ravenous birds, from non-stop rain to beetles that kill you twenty years after biting you, from poisonous snakes to overpriced tourist items, from casado to gallo pinto, from hiking in the clouds to swimming in the ocean, I WILL MISS IT ALL!!! There are so many memories that I will cherish and many valuable lessons I can incorporate into my everyday life. 

Well as you all know, all good things must come to an end and so must my Costa Rican adventure.  As much fun as I’ve had here, there is no place like home.

Here is a cheesy insider quote for everyone who participated in this Costa Rican journey→“As you climb the latter of success to reach for the big apple, do not forget to occasionally step down to feed the horses.”

Posted by: untigloballearning | July 31, 2009

Day 13: Classwork, lectures, and the beach!

While we have evidence of the many species of birds, iguanas, 1 snake, monkeys and Eagles (in our honor!), we also do have some good photos of the students, in class and learning.



After our morning’s work, we took some time to explore the Pacific Ocean beach, so different than the Atlantic side that we visited back on Day 6

Here’s Lauren, walking by the seashore


Here we are – Pacific Ocean scholars! 


Unforgettable sunset:  The perfect end to a great day


Posted by: untigloballearning | July 31, 2009

Day 12: Dry Forest Ecology

As you know, upuntil now we have been in the rainforest, and it has been…wet!  Now we are in Santa Rosa National Park, to study dry forest ecology. 

Santa Rosa National Park protects some of the last remaining tropical dry forest in the world. The small patch of oak forest near the entrance to the Comelco Ranch is probably representative of the original habitat of much of the park. Ranchers burned most of the plateau region, and African pasture grass (Hyparrenia rufa) and the fire resistant Bignoniaceae trees define the current landscape. Nearer the beaches the habitat becomes more native-like.  Source:  Costa Rica Guide

This iguana greeted us at the entrance to the park


Did you know that the US invaded Costa Rica at one time?  From the LonelyPlanet site on Costa Rican history:  In the 19th century, the US was in an expansive mood and Spanish America looked vulnerable. In 1856 the soldier of fortune William Walker (you can read more about him here) landed in Nicaragua intending to conquer Central America, establish slavery, and construct an interoceanic canal. Walker was soon marching on Costa Rica. A volunteer army of 9000 civilians was hastily mobilized. The Yankee mercenaries were stopped at Santa Rosa, and chased back into Nicaragua. During the fight, a drummer boy from Alajuela, Juan Santamaría, was killed while daringly setting fire to Walker’s defenses. The battle became a national legend and Santamaría a national hero (and inspiration for an airport). Walker’s messianic ambitions were soon quenched by a Honduran firing squad. You can see a memorial to this battle in Parque Nacional in San José.

Honoring the stand at the La Casona National Historical Site


EE Scholars learning more about the US invasion of Costa Rica


The Costa Rican flag waves victorious


Plan of the Batalla Por La Libertad, March 20, 1856


Next, we went hiking through the tropical dry forest.  Note:  emphasis on dry and HOT!  Lilyan and Dr. Carranza are still smiling…


Yet another iguana, come to see what we are up to


An endangered species of tree (huge, amazing, beautiful)


Darryl holding part of a beehive!


Posted by: untigloballearning | July 30, 2009

Day 11: Finca La Bella

Finca La Bella means “The Beautiful Farm” in English, and it is truly beautiful. The 49-hectare (122-acre) cooperative farm is located in San Luis de Monteverde, Puntarenas, Costa Rica, on the Pacific slope of the Cordillera de Tilarán. This is a steep, mountainous area, where dairy farming is the principal agricultural activity and coffee is a secondary cash crop. In the 1940s cattle ranchers purchased and deforested large areas of Costa Rica’s northwest, including most of the San Luis Valley. Small farmers and dairy owners were gradually forced to practice agriculture on steep, previously forested areas, as land ownership was put into fewer hands . In the San Luis Valley, this process continued unabated for over forty years, with the majority of arable land eventually falling under the control of one man, Ramón Brenes.  

Great attention has been focused on conserving Costa Rica’s amazing forests and diverse wildlife, and, unfortunately, very little to agrarian land reform. This is why residents of the San Luis Valley, with support from the Monteverde Quaker community, began looking for viable land reform options in their region during the 1980s. Thus, in 1991, they considered buying a farm owned by Brenes, approximately six kilometers south of Monteverde for the Finca La Bella project. Brenes had begun selling some of his land, including a 70-hectare site to developers from the United States, who created what is now the University of Georgia Eco-Lodge (Mann 56). The visionaries asked the local co-op, CoopeSanta Elena R. L. (Co-op), to help finance the project in 1992. The Co-op’s membership has included dairy farmers, coffee growers, artisans and consumers. The Finca La Bella project involved several local institutions in addition to the Co-op, which is currently inactive. These include, the Monteverde Friends Meeting, the Monteverde Institute, a Friends organization, Quaker Earthcare Witness (QEW, formerly Friends Committee on Unity with Nature), and the Asociación de Desarrollo Integral San Luis (San Luis Integrated Development Association), which is currently inactive. Quaker Earthcare Witness created the Ann Kriebel Fund to raise monies for the project and was able to reimburse the Co-op for their costs by 1999. 

(Source:  Quaker Earthcare Witness).

Here are some photos of our time at this beautiful and inspiring place. 

La Bella Tica Cafe (Family owned cafe in the cooperative community)


EE Scholars learning about the history of the community and the cooperative family farm as a way of life


Eric observing the fresh coffee bean


Darryl grinding the coffee beans to help remove the shells


David giving it the “college try” – on a birthday he will always remember!


On a walk in the coffee farm…limónes gigantes!!


Service learning:  Ethan planting a tree


EE Scholars planting one tree at a time (these are Oluchi’s hands)


Lauren’s tree is successfully in the ground!


Posted by: untigloballearning | July 29, 2009

Day 11: In the Cloud Forest

Here’s a local dairy farmer


Overlooking the cloud forest


Cloud forests are a type of evergreen mountain forest found in tropical areas, where local conditions cause cloud and mist to be frequently in contact with the forest vegetation. One of their most obvious features is an abundance of mosses, ferns, orchids and other epiphytic plants on every tree and rock surface.  (Source:  UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.)

View down into the San Luis Valley


Emerald Eagle Scholars on top of the world!

ees on top of the world

Roberto, standing strong in the wind


Lilyan, the Guatemalan Goddess


Posted by: untigloballearning | July 29, 2009

Day 10: Bosque National Cloud Forest in Monteverde

We spent day 10 (Sunday) at the Bosque National Cloud Forest in Monteverde.  It is a 1000-hectare (3000-acre) privately-owned Biological Reserve that, as a natural biological corridor, connects the Poás Volcano National Park with the Juan Castro Blanco National Park. It is a spectacularly rich ecosystem because of its privileged location. It is located on the Continental Divide with altitudes ranging from 1450 to 2450 meters above sea level.

To start the day in a traditional way, Dr. Carranza serenaded Ethan with a wake-up rendition of “Feliz Cumpleaños” (“Happy Birthday”)

feliz cumpleanos

Another forest bridge among the clouds

forest bridge among the clouds

Dr. Carranza, our guide Rodrigo, and Roberto (with Lilyan peeking from the background)

carranza, rodrigo, roberto

Incredible tree-within-a tree with thick roots that cover the ground

tree within a tree

Ethan observing a forest creature

ethan with forest creature

Posted by: untigloballearning | July 29, 2009

More from the Arenal Volcano

We are learning so much about volcanoes!

Volcan Arenal is the youngest Volcano in Costa Rica and the most active. (See other active volcanoes in Costa Rica.) It is a stratovolcano (also known as a composite volcano) like Mt. Fuji in Japan, Mt. Mayon in the Philippines, and Mt. Agua in Guatemala. The 1,657 meter high (5,437 ft) volcano towers above Lake Arenal’s Eastern shores. It was originally formed by successive eruptions of an older volcano, Chato, which still contains a 500-meter wide summit crater and lies just to the northwest (10.463°N (10°27’48″N), 84.703°W (84°42’12″W)). Arenal’s earliest known eruptions took place 7,000 years ago, and the two neighboring volcanoes remained concurrently active until Chato’s activity ended, about 3,500 years ago.  (Source:  Arenal Net).

Check out the steam from the volcano!

Check out the steam

Eric, with the crater to his left!

Eric near the crater

Here’s Oluchi

Oluchi on top of the world

Jonathan’s on top of the world

Jonathan on top of the world

Fernando in reflection

fernando in reflection

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