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Field Study & Service-Learning
Sustain. Energy
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Volunteer work with nesting leatherback sea turtles


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Because the focus of Earth Education International is hands-on learning, field study is an essential component of all offerings. These include day-long visits, multiple-day educational tours, and guest speaker presentations in the field. With most offerings, some service-learning volunteer work is often also included. Since the semester program is longer in length, participants
are also provided an opportunity to develop specific case study analyses associated with field site visits. In addition to learning about topics first-hand, this arrangement offers participants an opportunity to visit a variety of locations in the country/region, as well as interact on a personal level with local experts who are eager to share their knowledge and experience.

Top of Page Locations
Field study and volunteer work locations vary somewhat, depending upon the course, as well as from year to year. For a sample of past locations please see the MediaBlog. Many of the sites are located in and around the central valley of Costa Rica. Possible additional locations include (but are not limited to) the following:


Hiking pic

Hiking in Arenal (volcano)
National Park

Northern Costa Rica & Nicaragua
The northern zone includes high elevation rain forest, as well as active volcanoes, hot springs, and waterfalls. In Guanacaste province to the west, dry tropical forests predominate. This region is also where many of the most popular pacific beaches are located. Just over the border to the north is Nicaragua. What the country lacks in economic wealth, it makes up for in culture. With internal strife no longer a concern, this country abounds with unique opportunities to learn more about the history of Central America and the challenges of development. See 'Nicaragua links' to learn more about the country.

The Central Pacific and Southern Zone
The Central Pacific is a transition zone between dry forest to the north and lowland rainforest to the south. African palm plantations dominate much of the landscape in this coastal region. Also located in this area is Manuel Antonio National Park, the most visited in the country, as well as many other popular pacific beaches. Further to the south is the Osa Peninsula. The area is one of the most remote and pristine lowland rainforest areas remaining in the country.

The Caribbean Coast and Northeast Panama

This region includes lowland tropical rain forest, extensive banana plantations, coral reefs, and indigenous communities of the southern Caribbean coast. Over the border into Panama is Bocas del Toro island archipelago and Isla Colón, the most important island. Although the island was formerly a major banana producer, its main sources of income are now fishing and tourism. See the Panama section of the 'Travel Links' page to learn more about the country.

Tour pic

A guided tour in Cahuita
National Park

Top of Page Field Sites
Specific field sites include sustainable businesses; local communities; research programs; and governmental, non-governmental, and private projects. Many of the sites visited demonstrate specific sustainable living practices. Others sites are included as a point of comparison and contrast, as well as to illustrate important aspects of the country or region. Because short courses are limited in duration, field study sites are more directly related to the specific course topic. Sites that reflect regional studies (e.g., history, culture, language) are included in the semester program, as are longer volunteer service-learning work opportunities. Volunteer work can also be arranged individually if so desired. Although the specific sites vary, a sample of past sites visited can be found in the MediaBlog. Possible options include the following:

Agriculture & Land Use Programs
- African palm plantations & oil production plants
- Organic/shade-grown/closed-loop coffee farms
- Organic/hydroponic fruit & vegetable farms
- Rice farms & production facilities
- Reforestation projects (e.g., teak)
- Agroecotourism locations
- Sugar cane plantations
- Native plant nurseries
- Banana plantations
- Herb gardens


Agriculture pic

Touring a banana plantation


Business pic

Manufacturing recycled/ banana-fiber paper
  Environmentally-Conscious Businesses Practices
- Organic/environmentally-friendly product production
- Recycled/alternative fiber paper production facilities
- Organic/low-impact product manufacturing
- Waste processing/management plants
- Waste recycling/composting sites
- Fair-trade coffee farms
- Sugar mills

Environmental Conservation Areas
- Non-governmental conservation projects
- Watershed/mangrove conservation sites
- Wildlife rehabilitation & research centers
- National parks & other protected areas
- Marine conservation/research pro-
grams (e.g., sea turtles, dolphins)
- Indigenous protected areas


Conservation pic

Identifying plant diversity
in a cloud forest

Energy pic


A solar lunch in Managua



Sustainable Energy Projects

- Solar electric (panel) production/installation programs
- Micro-, medium- & large-scale hydroelectric sites
- Small-scale bio-digester sites
- Geothermal energy facilities
- Solar coffee drying facilities
- Wind energy farms
- Solar cooking sites

Community Development & Ecotourism Facilities
- Buffer zone communities (surrounding national parks)
- Rural sustainable development projects
- Women's & community cooperatives
- Ecotourism associations & facilities
- Fish farming projects (e.g., tilapia)
- Organic herb production facilities
- Handicraft production facilities
- Butterfly farms


Communty pic

Walking a community
orchid garden trail


Regional studies pic

Visiting a colonial church in Granada

Regional Studies & Social Services Sites
- Cultural & historical sites
- Rehabilitation centers
- Museums & churches
- Rural communities
- Local schools
- Orphanages
- City tours

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