This weekend we were happy to host students from Quito. The 19 students and their teachers arrived on Friday for their exiting weekend in the cloud forest. After the exhausting walk up the hill the group arrived at the big house to begin their adventure.
The purpose of the trip was three-fold:
First, the students would explore scientific themes. By getting outside in the cloud forest the students would able to implement and reinforce the methods learned in the classroom. This practical application would be accomplished several times over by conducting biological surveys of selected plant groups, reforestation along the hedges of working cow pasture, and surveying invertebrates in the lagoon.
Secondly, this would be a time for the group to develop and bond socially. This would be done through team-building activities that allowed the students to trust each other and grow together. Things like trust falls, leading the blind, and simply talking would be effective tools to creating strong interpersonal skills.
Thirdly, the field trip would strengthen the students physically. Long hikes up and down the all too numerous hills at La Hesperia would prove to be very effective at accomplishing this goal!
For the first night the group camped in the cloud forest, fighting off mosquitoes, rain, and a really big spider, while developing their field skills. Saturday morning began early, with the rain holding off and allowing us to conduct a survey along several transepts looking for certain families of flora. This was followed by a hike down to the Rio Tupi, before returning to the big house for lunch. The afternoon continued on with team-building activities and a lesson on making chocolate. At nightfall, the group went on a short hike to look for nocturnal animals (sorry no pumas) and finished with a talk around the fire before turning in for the night.
On Sunday in was time to say goodbye after several morning activities including Eco-construction and searching for invertebrates in the lagoon. We here at La Hesperia certainly enjoyed our weekend with this very special group of 10th graders and hope they enjoyed it as well!