Huxley College on the Peninsulas Publications


Five Seasons in Ecotopia: Rainforest Immersion and Conservation Action in Costa Rica

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Environmental policy - Costa Rica, Environmental monitoring, Citizen participation, International cooperation


This book is an effort to share our perspectives from five years of experience studying and teaching in Costa Rica through the intersections of geography, ecology, and political science. These reflect the dominant pedigrees of more than one-hundred students who annually spent five weeks in Huxley College of the Environment’s RICA program in Costa Rica. The RICA program was designed to foster global ecological citizenship through practices of democratic ecology that activate learner awareness and efficacy among undergraduate participants, Costa Rican students from local schools, and community members. In the 2011 field season, faculty and twenty-one students conducted observational studies of tree diversity, soil composition, avian bioacoustics, collaborative conservation management, and environmental education. Comparative observations were made at biological stations in Carara and Corcovado National Park in collaboration with Park staff. We hypothesized that significant contrasts will occur between the secondary forests of Carara and primary forests of Corcovado and their neighboring communities. Our results inform Costa Rican conservation and management strategies as well as contribute to the growing field of participatory ecological monitoring. Biodiversity conservation begins inside of Costa Rica’s protected areas but must be complemented by research, education and outreach in the communities outside of National Parks.


First published by Village Books Press