Overview Description Requirements Outline Itinerary Cost Application Faculty Rainforest And Reef Penn State Lehigh Valley

I. Reading and Web "Pre-Trip" Assignments
    1) Download Pre-trip Assignment #1
    2) Download Pre-trip Assignment #2

II. "Trip" Presentations and Programs

    1) Field Presentation Information

III. "Trip" Journal Assignments

IV. "Trip" Species Assignments

V. Field-based Research Assignments

VI. Additional Information

Savegre Hike
I. Reading and Web "Pre-Trip" Assignments
- to be completed before departure

A. Costa Rica - General Information
Costa Rica Bruncas
Costa Rica Handbook
Lonely Planet: Destination Costa Rica
Fodors.com Costa Rica
(U.S.) Consular Information
Cocori: Complete Costa Rica
General Information about Costa Rica
Costa Rica Program - Globe Aware
Interesting Facts About Costa Rica
Amadeus Travel Agency - Costa Rica from A to Z

B. Costa Rican Culture
Costa Rica's Culture
Costa Rica Arts and Culture

C. Costa Rican National Parks
World Headquarters: Costa Rica National Parks
Costa Rica Map's Biodiversity
Costa Rica Travel and Tourism Bureau
Phillip Greenspan's Costa Rica
Costa Rica National Parks

D. Costa Rican Flora and Fauna
Martin Kramer's Animals of Costa Rica
INBio (Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad)
Manual de Plantes de Cosa Rica
Organization for Tropical Studies
La Suerte Biological Field Station and Ometepe Biological Field Station
Skip's Costa Rica Nature Tour
Costa Rica: Environmental Profile

E. Biodiversity Links
Centres of Plant Diversity in South America
World Atlas of Biodiversity
The Tree of Life Web Project
World Wildlife Fund: Factsheets
Animal Diversity Web
Resources for the Future: Biodiversity
Biodiversity and World Map
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Union of Concerned Scientists: Citizens and Scientists for Environmental Solutions
World Conservation Union
UN Chronicle | Costa Rica's Commitment
Could Climate Change Impact Costa Rica? New Study Says Yes
Costa Rica | World Resources Institute
Human Impact

F. Bocas del Toro, Panama
Bocas Del Toro
Institute for Tropical Ecology and Conservation
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
Ecology and Migrations of Marine Turtles in Bocas del Toro Province, Panama


II. "Trip" Presentations* and Programs**
- to be attended by all participants throughout the trip component; reading handouts will be given to you when necessary; presentations will be given by field researchers at conservations sites visited (whose topics may not be listed), Dr. McLaughlin, Dr. Fadigan, and all 497 students and in-service teachers selected to participate in this program.*

Possible presentation topics are listed below. You may choose any of these, or select a topic of your own (the latter must be approved by Drs. McLaughlin and Fadigan). The key here is that you stay within the realms of the fields of ecology, environmental science, and/or conservation biology.

  • Biodiversity of our Earth's Ecosystems: Homage to Water (Dr. McLaughlin)
  • Medicinal Value of Rainforest Plants (Dr. Fadigan)
  • Contribution of Inbreeding to the Extinction Risk in Top Predators
  • Ecological Wreckage: A World Without Predators
  • Over Harvesting: In Costa Rica and Our Own Backyard
  • Biological Hotspots: In Costa Rica and Around the World
  • The Story Behind the Banana: Pesticides
  • Soil as an Endangered Ecosystem
  • Sustainable Agriculture through Soil Conservation
  • Global Amphibian Decline
  • Integrated Pest Management
  • Renewable and Non-Renewable Resources
  • Will Hydrogen End Our Fossil Fuel Addiction?
  • Global Oil Production: What Happens When We Run Out?
  • BioFuel: Pros and Cons
  • Global Fisheries and Costa Rica's Role
  • The Costa Rican Shark Industry
  • Tropical Rainforest Productivity and Deforestation
  • Raptor Ecology and Migration
  • Bats as Keystone Species
  • Leatherback Turtle: Biology, Life Cycle, Threats, and Conservation Efforts
  • Atlantic Green Sea Turtle: Biology, Life Cycle, Threats, and Conservation Efforts
  • Global Warming: Ecosystem Instability and Shift
  • Biodiversity above and below the Surface of Soils
  • Invasive Plants and/or Fungi
  • The Importance of Lichens and Ecological Indicators
  • Climate Change and Forest Disturbances
  • Evolutionary Adaptations in the Rainforest
  • Non-governmental Organizations and their Work to Save Sea Turtles
  • Costa Rica's Tropical Dry Forest and its Sustainability
  • Coral Reef Ecosystem Dynamics and the Cost of Bleaching
  • Sustainable Agriculture
  • Global Warming and Carbon Fluxes
  • Costa Rica's Ecological Challenges of the 21st Century (HIPPO)
  • Plastic: An Environmental Nightmare
  • China and the USA: Impacts and Regulations of Carbon Emissions
  • The State of Pennsylvania's Northeastern Deciduous Forest
  • The World's Most Environmentally Damaging Industries: Petrochemical Plants, Semi-conductor factories, and Strip Mining
* Students in Biology 497 and CHANCE high school in-service teachers must select a topic and lead a 30-45 minute presentation followed by a 15 minute group discussion (order may vary).

III. "Trip" Journal Assignments
- to be completed by all participants throughout the trip component and upon return to the mainland.
You will be given a trip journal
to keep notes on your trip. For
example, you should keep a daily
journal of things you did, things
you saw and things you learned.

You might also want to keep track
of the people you met and anything
else you wish to remember, such
as your first impressions, your
surprises, etc.

Sky Track

After your trip you will be asked to write a short summary for each day of travel. Your entries may also be quoted in various newspaper, magazine, and journal publications given your permission.

After your trip you will be required to answer the following questions. It is suggested to write some of your answers throughout your travels in your journal.

  • In general, what impressed you the most about Costa Rica’s biodiversity?
  • Overall, what were your best and worst experiences in Costa Rica?
  • What was the most challenging (physical and/or emotional) experience that you accomplished in Costa Rica?
  • Any surprises or disappointments throughout the trip?
  • What was the most significant thing that you learned about biodiversity throughout your adventures in Costa Rica or in Panama?
  • How have human activities impacted the natural habitats of Costa Rica? Be specific.
  • What are your opinions on the future of Costa Rica's biodiversity?
  • What are your opinions on the future of biodiversity in the United States?
  • What problems concerning conservation biology on a global scale did you uncover during CHANCE? And are there solutions?
  • From what you have experienced either directly or indirectly in the field, and through your extraneous use of textbooks and other resources to understand basic environmental science and ecology concepts, elaborate on three of the following items being as thorough as possible:
    (a) the affects of abiotic factors on Leatherback hatchling success in Gandoca (you may want to carry out the CHANCE “Plight of the Leatherback” module for guidance here;
    (b) the species diversity (species richness and relative abundance) of the lowland land tropical rainforest vs. the northeastern deciduous forest (re: E. O. Wilson’s Latitude Density Model)
    (c) a summation of a field presentation by any fellow CHANCE participant;
    (d) a summary of your field work at La Selva Biological Field Station
  • You have acquired a substantial amount of knowledge and you have been exposed to a variety of points of view. How has this changed your opinion of conservation efforts, especially those linked to NGO’s (re-read Wilson’s last chapter entitled, The Solution, and reference).

IV. "Trip" Species Assignments
- to be completed throughout the trip component and upon return to the mainland

Students taking the course for Biology 297 credits are required to research one selected Costa Rican native plant or animal species. Students and all CHANCE in-service teachers taking the Biology 497 course for credits are required to research two selected Costa Rican native plant or animal species.

During your trip you should research your selected organism(s) by asking questions, using field guides, etc. Upon your return, you may wish to research your organism(s) in more depth. Please answer the following questions as thoroughly as possible using complete sentences:

  • What is the scientific name of the species? Common name?
  • Where was the organism spotted (if at all; if not spotted, where could we have seen it)?
  • What is the range and habitat of the species?
  • What is its evolutionary history? (origin, relatives etc.)
  • What role does it play in its environment (niche)? Is it a keystone species?
  • Any unique adaptations?
  • Any unique behavioral characteristics?
  • Any unique interspecific interactions like competition, predation, and commensalism?
  • Elaborate on the species food chain.
  • Is it an endemic species to Costa Rica? If not, where else is it found?
  • What are the threats to its survival?
  • What conservation efforts, if any, are presently being undertaken to protect this organism's survival?

V. Field-based Research for Biology 497 Students and CHANCE High School Teachers
- to be completed during the trip component and upon your return to the mainland

Based on actual field based research activities in Costa Rica, you are required to complete two research summaries as part of your scientific inquiry-based training in environmental science and ecology. Each summary will document your research objectives, methods, data analysis, data itself, data interpretation, conclusions, and summary. Each summary must be approved and signed by the field scientist you are assigned to work with. A scientific report will be due as part of your post-trip assignment and will include objectives, methods, data analysis and interpretation, conclusions, and literature review.

VI. Additional Information for In-Service and Pre-Service Teachers: CHANCE has filled a void in the standards-driven environment of public science education, by offering authentic research embedded into multimedia learning materials that students and teachers can use easily and efficiently. Indeed, CHANCE has grown to impact hundreds of teachers and thousands of students and, by design, an exponential number of science teachers via the Internet where these modules are readily available and continually supplemented. After you complete the CHANCE trip component, Dr. McLaughlin will be in touch to share information with you on how you can join her at a National Association of Biology Teacher’s (NABT) or Pennsylvania Science Teachers Association (PSTA) professional development workshop in the spring of 2010 for training in the use of CHANCE “research modules.”



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