This entry was written by Adrian Loaiza of Dublin High
Day 1 in Costa Rica:8/1/14
WE FINALLY ARRIVED! As soon as all of us got off our plane, we collected our bags and met up with our Scholastic Expeditions tour guides, Nacho and Sammy. And just to follow up on our 8 hour plane ride, we got an “amazing” 3-4 hour car ride to Fundacion Nubotropica. But we did get to eat breakfast at least! It was at a Mc. Donalds.
As soon as we finally arrive in Fundacion Nubotropica, we all jump down and unpack all of our bags from the van. Afterwards, the guys and girls are separated into two cabins, while the guides were given their own. Once we all got settled in, we were served our lunch shortly afterwards. We ate steak, salad, rice, and beans. It was actually pretty good! After our meal, we were given some time until we finally got to start our forest plotting project. About an hour later, we had a short meeting about the importance of trees in Costa Rica, and what they try to do to prevent the cutting down of trees. Also, they had a good example of their forest plotting. Nacho explained how its possible to see the growth of their trees by tagging them the width and height of the tree, then going back a couple months later and seeing how much it actually grew. We were then shown the tools that we would be using, measuring tapes for measuring certain areas in the forest, a plastic tape to wrap around the trees that were measured and plotted, two hiking sticks per team, and a notebook for taking down notes and measurements of different trees in the area.
Once we finally hiked into the Secondary Growth region, we split into two teams: Red (Amanda, Nicole, Jackson, Connor, and Evan) and Blue (Bri, James, Maria, Isaac, and me.) The two teams then separated, the red team plotted the upper region, and blue team went down into the lower region. Once we had our positions, we would measure 20 meters of the forest to form one 20-by-20 square. After that first step, we then measured the trees on the line of that box using centimeters, then flagging what was already measured. One of the “perks” of measuring in the Secondary Growth region was that both teams were attacked by all the plants that had either long thorns that cut almost all of us, or the really small ones that just loved to stick to clothes.
After both teams had finished their plotting, we were served our dinner. For dinner, we were served a kind of stew, and on the side was beef, potatoes, carrots, potatoes, corn, plantains, rice, beans, and a squash of some kind. The food ended up coming out pretty good! After dinner, the group got together for a couple games of cards just to tie the first night together! It seems as a great start to our Costa Rican adventure!