WB 2015 – MSU Ecological Engineering in the Tropics

Costa Rica – MSU / UCR – December 26, 2015 – January 9, 2016

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Back to Alajuela

We’ve had a wonderful few days in Monte Verde and Palo Verde.  My phone has died, so unfortunately I won’t be uploading any photos immediately.

At Monte Verde, we enjoyed a night hike, biodigester tour, and coffee plantation tour.  I learned that many Costa Ricans drink coffee that is prepared differently than we prepare it in the U.S.  Instead of washing off what’s known as the “honey” or musilage that surrounds the bean, “natural” Costa Rica coffee is roasted with the honey layer surrounding the bean.  Some coffee beans are even roasted with the cherry (or fruit) still on the bean, which is known by local brand names like Black Honey.  Check out Connor’s daily blog for more details about our stay at Monte Verde.

On our transfer day, we spend a casual morning at La Cortez waterfall, followed by a leisurely lunch in Liberia.  The students took advantage of this larger town to eat Papa John’s pizza and McDonald’s, while the faculty went to a typical Costa Rican steakhouse.

We’re finishing up our second evening at OTS Palo Verde.  This is my first trip to Palo Verde and I plan to make it a regular part of our trip.  While on the hot side, the biodiversity and scenery is AMAZING.  Also, Davinia, our OTS guide, has a wealth of knowledge about wetland ecology and management that is supplementing the wetland team design project perfectly.  Emily will soon be updating her daily page – check it out for more info and pictures about our stay.

As mentioned above,  my personal cell phone is not working.  Please call the course cell phone for urgent issues.  Wei’s and Ronald’s phones are also still working.



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Cultural experiences and exporting energy

Our official trip started off with an exciting day in San Jose and Alajuela. See Dan’s blog for details. We visited local food suppliers, a grocery store and farmers market, in the morning, followed by an afternoon of learning about Costa Rican culture. We were fortunate to see an art exhibit by 29 artists at the Museo Nacional that focused on waste from Columbian to modern times.

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An early morning start!

For most of us, today started around 3 am. Nothing like an early morning to help you sleep during a 2 hour flight! Despite an alarm that didn’t go off and a not-empty water bottle caught by TSA, Danielle, Dan, Alex, Lauren, Katelyn, and I all caught our 7 am flight to Fort Lauderdale – which was delayed… A lot.  After 3 hours in the airport and 2 hours on the tarmac, we finally were on our way.  Continue reading