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Day 9

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The final day in the grand escapades of our adventurers was one of relative simplicity, though no less exciting than any of our previous days. It began like any other, a simple yet succulent breakfast of eggs, rice and beans, and fried cheese, followed by an excursion to the reforestation nursery of Bienvido, with our world-savers planting a veritable forest of new tree saplings.  Immediately afterwards, we went on a small journey to the other side of the station to study the fascinating qualities of the acacia trees and their ant cohorts, discerning the symbiotic relationship between them. What followed was a brief period of brevity, followed by lunch, and a riotous bus ride to the beach. The beach was beautiful, to put it in simple terms. A small, yet vast stint of sand where our explorers finally unwound after the many trials and tribulations they have undergone (except for the ones that chose to go crocodile hunting and write stuff in the sand for no discernible r
Sorry about missing the blog last night! The group was on the beach patrolling for turtles until midnight last night and went straight to bed when they got back to their new home base, a research station called horizontes. Yesterday we left finca la Anita and arrived at horizontes two hours later. We played soccer and kickball in a nearby field. The field was full of horses and an adorable colt (no horses were injured during the soccer games). Horizontes is breeding deer, which they protect from poachers using an observatory tower. The climb up the slippery rungs was terrifying, but the view was worth it. Then we met with Veronica, who is a marine biologist that works with an organization called the leatherback trust. She taught us about the different turtle species we might see.she also told us how to perform beech patrols. The group discovered an Olive Ridley turtle soon after arriving at the beech, but she was unable to find an ideal nesting place sand soon waddled back toward th

Day 8

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Day Eight was our final day to finish and present our experiments. The day began with a rich breakfast of scrambled eggs and pancakes infused with cocoa nibs, as well as a yogurt and toast bar. We work on experiments in the morning. Some groups, such as the Hebe Jeebies and M.A.R.K., went out in the field to do research, whereas others including Los Caballeros de Hormigas and Coda Rica, waited for bacteria/fungi to incubate and begin writing their final presentations. The Antmen and Ant Eaters stayed to collect their final data. Our research was broken up by a nice lunch of lasagna with a side of plantain chips and a salad. We sampled a new drink of lemonade with mint. During the afternoon, the groups rushed to collect and tabulate their data, run statistics, and finish our final presentations. Our stressful afternoon work was alleviated by a break for churros and hot chocolate. Just before the moment of truth, we ate a filling dinner of pulled chicken and pork, beans,
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Another day of hard work in the Costa Rican rainforest! We started off the day with a good hour of community service at the mariposeria. We planted sangria, plantilla, and lantana, and turned their compost. After that, we rode a tractor to the Rio Cucaracho, which means "cockroach river", then took a refreshing swim in its cold waters. After about an hour, we hopped back in the tractor and drove back to La Anita, with a quick stop at the pulperia for a Coke.  When we arrived back at Finca La Anita, we ate lunch and began working on our projects until late afternoon.

Day 6

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     Our sixth day in Costa Rica began with an early morning scrambling to do laundry, eat another delicious breakfast, and board the bus to go horseback riding. After a quick briefing by Pablo and the horse trainers, Edgar and Hanar, we mounted our horses and departed down the road, though we experienced a short delay due to several horse riders spontaneously vanishing, only to reappear in what looked to be full 12th century plate armor. We entered a large tract of forest where we rode our horses down steep, muddy slopes and several rivers until we reached the crest of a hill where we stopped for photos. No medieval armies were harmed during this trip, allegedly. The view was incredible and we could even gaze upon the Lake of Nicaragua looking north on the horizon, though this view was slightly muddied due to the horses constantly trying to fight and/or smell each other. The ride back to the horse station was smooth and surprisingly rain-free, for the first time ever, allegedly. We th
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Day 5: The Grind Begins Today was the groups first full day of science. They began the day by eating breakfast. Rice and beans again...Delicious as usual. After that was class with Dr. Pinto. The teams split up and practiced particle placing to discover where escovopsis was most abundant in the ant colony. After several hours of focused work, it was time for Emma and Hannah to face the daunting task of laundry. Dun dun DUNNNNNNN. The results of this experiment are yet to come but Emma ended up more wet than her clothes and Hannah was out of breath.  For lunch the group had life-changing, mind boggling spaghetti and garlic toast. Then it was back to the classroom for more science. The groups than worked together to form their own research questions.  This took some time, but their was coffee break to look forward to. Along with coffee and fresh fruit juice, the scientists were served yin-yang cake to celebrate the engagement of Logan Olsen, one of the Chaperones.  Afte

Day Four in Costa Rica!!

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This morning after a delicious breakfast prepared by the Finca La Anita chefs, as the start of our first full day with Dr. Pinto and his team, we were introduced to the intricacies of collecting the fungal gardens and queen ants of Atta Cephalotes and Acromyrmex. Reid and several members of his group from Minnesota begin the collection process of an Atta Cephalotes incipient nest. In the afternoon, we took a bus ride to the "Canopy Tour", a local zipline place which offered us a hike through the rainforest, to begin ziplining at the first of many platforms. From there we went through the canopy, ending in a long final zipline which took us through a field to the blue tower seen in the photo below (Featuring Emma.) After our adventure through the rainforest canopy we were greeted by the rare sight of two sloths hanging near our van, wherein we took the trip back to Finca La Anita. A photo of several of our Texas kids along with a few Minnesotans leaving