Associate Professor of Biology Dr. John Niedzwiecki and Professor of Biology Dr. Darlene Panvini recently returned from an 18-day study abroad trip to Costa Rica with 15 Belmont students. While traveling, Niedzwiecki taught tropical biodiversity, while Panvini covered conservation and sustainability.
The group’s trip began at La Selva Biological station in a lowland tropical rainforest where they saw sloths, an anteater, toucanets and impressive trees. From there, they ventured to Arenal National Park to see a volcano and lake and learn about geothermal and hydroelectric energy production. During their 10-day stay at the University of Georgia-Costa Rica campus in San Luis, the group learned about plants and animals of a highland rainforest, went on a night hike, explored Monteverde cloud forest, had a cooking lesson with a local family, learned how to dance the merengue and visited a chocolate factory.
Other highlights of their time abroad include visits to a sustainable coffee farm, a Biodigester and local art co-op. From there, the group traveled to the beach where they learned about a dry tropical forest at Santa Rosa National Park, observed white-faced capuchin and howler monkeys and went snorkeling.