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Spring Break in Costa Rica


SBIO Students Study Abroad Costa Rica SBIO 3954 students pose at the crater of Irazu Volcano during their field trip to Costa Rica.

March 13, 2014 – By Henry Quesada

Assistant Professor Henry Quesada from the Department of Sustainable Biomaterials traveled to Costa Rica with a group of 8 students from the College of Natural Resources and Environment (CNRE ). The trip is part of the course SBIO 3954 Global Issues in Sustainability, a 3-hour credit course that is taught every Spring semester at Virginia Tech. The goal of the course is to teach students how natural resources are used in a global context in a sustainable way.

During the field trip, students receive lectures from Costa Rica Tech faculty, tour national parks, and engage in experiential learning activities led by local entrepreneurs, environmentalists,and community leaders. Students ranked the field trip as a meaningful learning activity to reinforce concepts and theory learned in the classroom. The opportunity to get in touch with local leaders in the government, industry, and academic community gave the students a unique chance to learn how humans interact with natural resources to create a sustainable society. For example, the visit to Ecotermales, a hotspring water resort, provided the students with a view of how liquid and solid waste can be transformed into value-added products.

In addition, a visit to a vertically-integrated wood products company helped the students to understand how renewable materials such as timber are grown, harvested, processed, and distributed to consumers in local and international markets.

Other topics include generation of electricity using renewable sources, wildlife management, ecotourism, water management, and education and sustainability.



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