Ira F. Simmons Middle School/Hoover City Schools  Dana Langford and Susan Ogle

Costa Rica -- Picture was taken as we were in the middle of going from one zipline to another through what was called the 'dry forest'

Costa Rica-The Ultimate Living Classroom --Project Summary:
Visiting Costa Rica was the ultimate immersion into a living classroom for two Earth and Space science teachers from Alabama. Our curriculum includes the study of volcanoes, rain forest, oceanography, and weather patterns. As much as we enjoy our curriculum, we had never seen a volcano nor walked in a rain forest. We longed to experience what we taught! Our agenda included visiting active volcanoes, hot springs, several types of rain forests, and the Pacific Ocean - endless opportunities for learning. We began our journey at Poas volcano, an active, composite volcano in a cloud forest. Observing the crater was emotional. After years of teaching about volcanoes, we actually saw one steaming, with the entire top blown away! Past disaster for a former generation, when ash covered this mountain, was now beauty and profit for the present generation, as coffee plantations and dairy farms thrive in the rich ash soil. From there, we hiked through a tropical forest to the breathtaking La Paz waterfall. We observed butterflies, tropical birds, and sloths. We also saw destruction from a 6.2 magnitude earthquake from eight years ago. The following day we visited Arenal volcano, which looked like a volcano. As we walked across lava rocks ejected from previous eruptions, we were amazed at the sheer force of ejected boulders five miles away. The tropical forest around Arenal challenged us with hanging bridges in the canopy. We saw poison arrow frogs and leaf cutter ants. We next took a boat tour down the Cano Negro River, observing piano birds, basilisk lizards, caiman, Capuchin monkeys, and Howler monkeys. After a winding five hour drive to the province of Guanacaste, we visited the Ricon de la Vieja volcano. It brought surprises of steaming fumaroles, bubbling mud pots, and sulfur lakes, with the strong sulfuric odor pressed into our memory. The dry forest surrounding this volcano offered gigantic Strangler Figs, which were actually strangling other trees for their space. We next zip lined through a dry forest canopy. At one point, we were less than twenty feet from a family of Howler monkeys. Lastly, we were left speechless as we walked to the beach of the Pacific Ocean. It was covered with dark lava flows from millions of years ago. Very fine sand was further inland, but the lava extended so far outward that it was impossible to swim in this area. We measured the tide, observed small life on the lava, and ended our experience by watching a beautiful Pacific sunset.

Blog:  Our Costa Rica Adventure

Article in Over the Mountain Journal about the Lava Ladies


Last modified: Thursday, March 23, 2017, 4:08 PM