The School for Field Studies (SFS) Sustainable Development Studies in Costa Rica

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1 The School for Field Studies (SFS) Sustainable Development Studies in Costa Rica

2 Webinar Outline 1. Introduction to SFS 2. Welcome to the Center 3. Research focus 4. Curriculum and Directed Research 5. Field expedition 6. Community outreach 7. Student life 8. Summer programs 9. Tips for advisors 10. Q & A

3 Who We Are Founded in (c)3 nonprofit School of Record: University of Minnesota (U of M) Academically rigorous study abroad program with permanent faculty at 8 sites across the globe Interdisciplinary, experiential approach

4 SFS Mission Our mission is to create transformative study abroad experiences through field-based learning and research. Education Research Reciprocity field-based learning active inquiry pedagogy place-based scientific process user-driven research community engagement

5 Costa Rica Sustainable Development Studies

6 Where in the World

7 Where We Live Alajuela Province, Central Valley Center overlooks Rio Grande River Neighborhood: La Presa ~200 People Mostly small farmers Atenas Relatively small town Shops, markets, clinic, bank, post office, internet café etc. Easy transportation to San Jose A day s travel to beaches, forests, mountains, volcanoes

8 Field Station Main House, Kitchen, outdoor classroom, outdoor pool, staff cabins Dormitory Rooms with up to 4 students Cold showers! Common area with ping pong, couches, TV, books

9 Field Station Rainforest Alliance Certified Farm Produces mango, banana, and oranges Farm animals: Chickens, ducks, pigs, a cow, and a goat Organic garden project Free Time Activities Soccer field and basketball court Hammocks

10 In the Field

11 Why Costa Rica? Increasing Tourism Conventional Agriculture 26% of Costa Rica = Formally protected areas influenced by nearby land use (agriculture, visitor services, real estate) Priority to redefine development toward sustainability SFS is committed to conducting long term research to provide data that will help inform and develop effective sustainable management strategies, and will help support the local economy.

12 Webinar Outline 1. Introduction to SFS 2. Welcome to the Center 3. Research focus 4. Curriculum and Directed Research 5. Field expedition 6. Community outreach 7. Student life 8. Summer programs 9. Tips for advisors 10. Q & A

13 Stakeholders Communities in the Central Valley Pacific Region Local community leaders in the business, tourism, industry, education, public health, and governance sectors Municipalities and branches of government such as the Ministry of the Environment and Energy and the Ministry of Health Local universities and research institutions NGOs interested in the protection and conservation of the natural resources and ecological health of Costa Rica.

14 Strategic Research Plan Research will be conducted in two thematic areas: Conservation and economic development Ecosystem function, connectivity, and species distribution

15 Strategic Research Plan

16 Curriculum: Courses Tropical Ecology and Sustainable Development 4 credits Economic and Ethical Issues in Sustainable Development 4 credits Principles of Resource Management 4 credits Directed Research 4 credits Language, Culture, and Society of Costa Rica 2 credits 18 credits

17 Tropical Ecology & Sustainable Development SFS 3770: (4 Credits) Learning Objectives Practice basic field techniques and measurements Compare and understand the natural history of Costa Rica and Nicaragua Study the ecological complexity of tropical forests, species diversity, and ecosystem processes Understand present day ecological challenges and tropical forest functions Study the affects of climate change Explore current threats to biodiversity and conservation mechanisms Develop monitoring plans for ecological impact assessment

18 Tropical Ecology & Sustainable Development Hypothesis Development and Testing Field Exercise Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve Orientation hike with faculty Discussion of scientific theory Students develop skills in: field observation data collection report writing

19 Economic and Ethical Issues in Sustainable Development Course: SFS 3030 (4 credits) Learning Objectives: Assess and understand the complexity of integrating different perspectives Grasp fundamental concepts in environmental economics and policy Recognize discrimination and how movements, organizations and governments address injustice. Develop an understanding of the intersection of human rights and development Apply the tools of capacity building to create balanced, sustainable development solutions

20 Economic and Ethical Issues in Sustainable Development Example Field Activities: Evaluating tourism services in Poas Volcano National Park Tourist Surveys and analysis of collected data Socioeconomics of Sustainable Tourism in Nicaragua: Tourist Awareness and Willingness to Pay Gather in-field qualitative data using surveys Practice standard scientific reporting for use by local and national decision makers

21 Principles of Resource Management Course: SFS 3740 (4 credits) Learning Objectives: Study basic principles of natural resources management in the tropics in a globalized world Develop an awareness of the priorities of sustainable use of natural resources in a developing country Understand the importance of balancing biodiversity conservation and natural resource use for human development

22 Principles of Resource Management Example Field Activities: Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Manage an organic/sustainable crop Develop alternative pest management techniques Monitor pest activity Make recommendations for future pest control Mapping a protected area for visitor use Participate in an effort to evaluate a protected site experiencing increased tourism Determine accessibility of the site and attractions Assess possible negative environmental impacts of increased visitation. Ometepe Island, Nicaragua

23 Field Expedition to Nicaragua Mid-semester extended trip to Nicaragua Compare resource management and impacts of tourism to those in Costa Rica Hike the volcanoes of Isla Ometepe Explore cultural history of Granada Impacts of Tourism

24 Field Excursions Travel to: Braulio Carrillo National Park Poas Volcano Carara National Park El Zota Sustainable Farm And the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

25 Directed Research (DR) Course: SFS 4910 (4 credits) Learning Objectives: Responsible conduct of research Design a field research project Conduct field data collection Manage, interpret, and analyze data Communicate research results to diverse audiences

26 Directed Research Examples Ongoing Research at The Center Effects of roads on wildlife in and around protected areas Quantification of ecosystem services in different land use systems Community-based waste management solutions in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica

27 Directed Research Outcomes Prepare and deliver presentations for SFS and community audiences SFS Students have published in peer-reviewed journals and presented at conferences. Results provided to clients/stakeholders

28 Community Outreach SFS-organized outreach: Language exchange with local students Sustainable farm work with an educational group Environmental Education with a local, elementary-aged Scout troop Mural painting in Atenas Day-stay with local family Informal sports with the local community

29 Webinar Outline 1. Introduction to SFS 2. Welcome to the Center 3. Research focus 4. Curriculum and Directed Research 5. Field expedition 6. Community Outreach 7. Student life 8. Summer programs 9. Tips for advisors 10. Q & A

30 Student Life & Free Time Pick-up soccer, basketball Walking, running, hiking Cards, board games, musical instruments bring with you! Relaxing in the hammocks Night hikes and morning bird watching with staff Mid-semester break

31 Summer Programs Session I: Sustaining Tropical Ecosystems: Biodiversity, Conservation, and Development 4 credits Learn about historical and current sustainable development strategies Explore tropical ecosystem function and connectivity and impacts of development Session II: Applied Research Techniques and Strategies toward Sustainability 4 credits Learn about factors impacting protected areas and communities Research intensive program Summer Combined: Sessions I + II 8 credits $1,000 discount

32 Advising Tips Best for students who: Love hiking and the outdoors Can handle life in a rural community, and in accommodations lacking in amenities and entertainment Weather: Moderate temperatures and plenty of sun even in the rainy season Average temperature around 80F with Some field trips to higher elevations can mean temperatures as low as 40F and damp at night Some field trips to lowlands can mean temperatures as high as 100F

33 Advising Tips Semester course prerequisite: One college-level biology, environmental studies/science, or ecology course Rolling admissions: No deadline Apply up to one year in advance For more info:

34 Stay Connected Call (800) Visit Read Watch

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