Costing the earth?

Learning doesn’t always take place in a class- room, and that’s what this trip was all about. A rather unusual ecology trip to Costa Rica exploring the applicability of science, opening everyone’s eyes to the beauty of the planet as well as the damage we have inflicted.

Costa Rica was a truly amazing experience, not only did it force me to step up to my fears, but it also taught me a lot of new things.Through the adventures and activities we explored many new terrains.This trip taught me to look through the eyes of someone, or even something else. To always see the good in each catastrophe and to try and keep nature as it was, because in the end, it was planned that way, and that way makes sense. My favourite part about the trip was basically everything. There is nothing that could top the others. From the western riding through a little jungle, ending in an abseil which nearly caused me a heart attack… to swimming alongside a turtle and seeing the untouched underwater world. Each experience was its own little highlight, only getting better from week to week.Truly amazing!

Student, Mimi

Costa Rica is one of my most memorable trav- elling experiences! I was blown away by the friendly people, great food and the incredible scenery along the way. We were lucky to try a range of new and ex- citing activities, such as zip lining in a cloud forest and scuba diving in some of the world’s most beautiful reefs. But overall, I think the most memorable mo- ment was swimming alongside green sea turtles and reef sharks – this is something I will never forget!
Teacher, Ms Beseler 

Costa Rica really threw the brakes on my speed, and forced me to reevaluate not only other people’s, but also my own habits and behaviour. Despite being much more aware than many others of the footprints and irreparable impact we have on our environment, it still left an almost scarring image in my mind that I will be unable to ever delete out of my mind: the stark contrast between the thriving and healthy coral reef habitat that I had witnessed over the last summer at a marine station and the barren and bleached algae-infested marine wasteland that I dove through in Costa Rica. It elicited a growing anger, but more importantly an almost suffocating responsi- bility and the crushing reality that we as humans are unable to look death and destruction in the eye if we knowingly push life into the abyss below us.What this absolutely amazing well-rounded and eye-opening trip taught me was that the problem is not that there is no solution to the environmental problems that we are wrestling with, but that the problem lies with us as we blatantly ignore and glaze over the glaringly obvious destruction – continuing as normal despite knowing that we will soon run off the cliff.
Student, Kami 

As an educator, it is my goal to provide experiences which push students outside of their comfort zones in order to help them realise more of their potential. The expedition to Costa Rica accomplished this aim in many ways, but my personal favourite was seeing each student confront their individual fears of diving, only to grow from the opportunity and experience something truly special. I can remember being in the pool going through the required components of the PADI open water certification. A few of us were so scared, and there was even a moment when one member of the team looked at me with fear in her eyes as she asked if she had to complete the certification. I advised her to think of one thing at a time, and to try again (the same tactic that I was using to calm my own fears). Two days later, it was so fulfilling to see all of us, one big team, swimming together at Cano Island. Each of us had pushed beyond our perceived limits to embrace the tranquility of sharing the ocean environment with hundreds of fish and corals, as well as a few turtles and some white-tipped reef sharks. As we now join the relative few in the world who have ever been underwater with endangered species, we are charged with the responsibility of telling the story, and moving people to action so that we can reverse the negative impact we are causing to our ecosystem. The trip encouraged me to scrutinise my own habits, and I want to encourage each of you to do the same.
Teacher, Mr Patton