From June 13-21, finalists from the 2011 FFA national proficiency awards and American Star awards are participating in a travel seminar to Costa Rica. The seminar allows participants to develop a global perspective and become more culturally aware of the diversity in agriculture around the world. Nearly each day, one team from the group will file a dispatch here about their travel.
June 15, 2012
11:19 PM CST (UTC−6)
After Thursday’s fun filled tours of the EARTH agricultural college and later the Dole banana plantation, the expectations were high for Friday’s pineapple tour followed by the excitement of whitewater rafting.
We began our day at 6:30 a.m. with a bird watching tour on the hotel grounds. Highlights of the event included sightings of several species of Toucans and other tropical birds. We divided into two groups for the day’s activities, and Wilmer’s bus began the day by loading their luggage onto the bus before boarding to go to their whitewater rafting activity at 9:30 a.m. The other bus departed a bit later to head to the Collin’s Street Bakery/Dole Pineapple Farm. All of the students enjoyed the rafting adventure, especially those that were experiencing it for the first time. The water was a bit chilly, yet very refreshing. The Class I-II-III rapids made for a fun adventure. Everyone ate plenty of fresh pineapple during the course of the day and learned a bit about production, packaging, and choosing the best pineapple in the store.
Around noon, both groups met up at the end of the rafting course for a picnic style lunch of tacos, chips, and cookies before switching activities for the afternoon.
With six days remaining of this Costa Rican adventure, both tour buses headed to La Fortuna, where we noticed different forms of agriculture along the way, including rice, papaya, plantain, and sugarcane production. We checked into the Volcano Lodge near La Fortuna, which happens to sit at the base of an active volcano.
From whitewater to pineapple, day four of this journey proved to be a memorable experience. We are looking forward to walking the cable bridges that stretch over the rainforest and experiencing the hot springs at the base of the volcano tomorrow.
Signing off – Team Congo (Howler Monkeys)
June 16, 2012
9:08 PM CST (UTC−6)
After an eventful day at the pineapple plantation and water rafting we were all ready for bed. We traveled to the Volcano Lodge near the town of La Fortuna. Saturday, we woke up to a great view of the Arenal Volcano. With five days remaining we headed for the hanging bridges in the rain forest at 8 a.m.
While walking through the rain forest we were able to see many kinds of species of wild life including howler monkeys, poison dart frogs, an eyelash pit viper snake, leaf cutter and army ants. Our group split into four teams for the journey. The 2.5-mile trail was exhausting for most members but an exciting opportunity to see such a diverse ecosystem rainforest. There were six hanging bridges that ranged in length and height.
Our next stop for the day included a lunch at Don Juan’s agricultural farm where fresh tilapia was served along with freshly grown products from their farm. Members participated in making sugarcane juice. Some of the brave members took the challenge of the rainbow pepper which was followed by coconut ice cream. The members understood his three main concepts production, conservation, and education.
We finished the night off with a splash at some nearby natural hot springs that provided relaxation after a long day. Sunday, we’re getting ready for a long bus ride across the continental divide. Adios
Red Eyed Tree Frogs – Leader – Dan Spellerberg (ND), Members – Elizabeth Johnson (MN), Mark Famuliner (MO), Ross Houston (TN), Jennifer Swart (OK), Analiese Scrivano (CA), Bryan Wendt (WI), Eric Wuebker (OH), Nathan Doss (KS)