We were presented with a variety of local issues on field trips such as water and waste management, ecotourism, and forest fragmentation… issues critical for continued sustainable economic and environmental development. Professors encouraged us to come up with our own solutions to these issues… it required me to think not as a student but as an environmentalist.
— Holly Lindberg, The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Summer '12
Students explore and address key features of sustainable development strategies including the most pressing challenges occurring at the intersection of conservation and economic progress. Through coursework, students gain an understanding of the complex interrelations between economic development, land-use, the provision of ecosystem services, and global climate change from socioeconomic, ecological and natural resources management perspectives
Students learn about Costa Rica’s historical and current sustainable development strategies, as well as tropical ecosystem function and connectivity, allowing them to understand the impacts of development on the environment and on society. The course introduces students to models of economic development and biodiversity conservation with field exercises, lectures, and trips in and around Costa Rica’s protected areas. A short field research project gives students a practical introduction to research design and methods for achieving conservation goals.
FIELD RESEARCH, LECTURES, AND EXERCISES
- Explore the biological diversity of the rainforests of Braulio Carrillo National Park in the Volcanic Cordillera Conservation Area
- Compare and contrast biodiversity protection in examples of conventional and organic agriculture
- Study water and waste management approaches on the Tárcoles River
- Evaluate tourism services and park management practices in Poás Volcano National Park
- Apply the fundamentals of the scientific method by designing and conducting a practical field project oriented toward the achievement of conservation goals
- Learn about climate change mitigation and adaptation in Central America, as well as strategies in the context of international policy frameworks
SUMMER COMBINED: SESSIONS I + II
This summer course can be taken individually (4 credits) or in combination with Session II: Applied Research Techniques & Strategies Toward Sustainability (8 credits). The combined summer program provides a thorough introduction to the sustainability of tropical ecosystems, as well as field research techniques for addressing conservation questions. Students participating in both sessions receive a $1,000 discount.