21 Apr 2011, Posted by admin in Stories, No Comments.
Walnut Hills High School students wrapped up their 10-day trip to Costa Rica with a boat ride across the Golfo Dulce and other educational experiences March 30 through April 2.
The eighteen students spent four hours on the gulf, where they saw a pod of bottle-nosed and spotted dolphins. But another sight had a big effect on Katie Brown, 15, a freshman a Walnut.
“There was litter in the ocean, and that was really annoying,” Brown said. “I figured out that this stuff actually does happen [if] you don’t make a big deal about it.”
The trip is part of an online course development project at Walnut, led by biology teacher Bill Schnure. The goal of the class is to give students an opportunity to learn about the biodiversity in the rainforest and culture of the Costa Rican people.
“I think the trip went very well,” Schnure said. “I got some work back from some of the kids and it gives me an idea of what modifications I need to make on the project before it goes into full swing next year.”
Students spent 10 days at Morgan’s Jungle Lodge, co-owned by Cincinnati native Gary Morgan and his family. Morgan has hosted other trips from Clark Montessori High School, St. Mary’s Church and the first Walnut Hills excursion in 2010.
“I want it to be more sought after as an educational platform for universities and high schools to come down and live in and adjacent to the rainforest and know what it’s like to appreciate the beauty and instill the feel of pura vida — pure life,” Morgan said.
For the remainder of the trip, students went on a beach hike with Adonis, a native tour guide and visited a local farm before leaving the peninsula Saturday, April 2.
“I think [the students] are surprised by how abundant the wildlife was and how densely populated [the rainforest] is,” Schnure said.
While the wildlife had an impact on the students, the socioeconomic aspect also stood out.
“I definitely didn’t know that people were that poor, but they’re really happy,” Brown said. “When I get home, I’m probably going to get rid of some stuff. Make more room, because it seems like the less stuff you have to burden you down, they happier you’re going to be.”
The concept is something most students picked up on, Schnure said.
“I think they got a lot of out it, [seeing] the socal economics and the standard of living — how simply they live,” Schnure said. “I think a lot of [the students] can’t get over how happy [the natives] are. There are people in the [Cincinnati] neighborhood who have 10 times as much and are still considered poor.”