This program will not be running in 2020. For more information about 2021, please contact the program director.
UGA - Ecology - Tropical Ecology in Costa Rica
Program Location: Monteverde, Costa Rica
Literally up in the clouds of the Costa Rican continental divide, Monteverde is a tropical mountain home to tens of thousands of species. Big cats like pumas live here, as do monkeys, 420 species of orchids, and the endangered three-wattled bellbird. Monteverde is a small, international community, nestled along the edge of the cloud forest in the Tilarán mountain range of northwest Costa Rica. It is perhaps best known for the famed Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve, which offers some 200,000-plus yearly visitors a portal to a lush haven for biodiversity. The region, comprised of numerous small towns (Monteverde, Cerro Plano, Santa Elena), is home to about 5,000 people of diverse backgrounds. Drawn to the area’s spectacular beauty and opportunities to see quetzals and monkeys, tourists now contribute the principal revenues, although coffee plantations and dairy farms still dot the landscape. The region, comprising of numerous small towns (Monteverde, Cerro Plano, Santa Elena) is home to about 5,000 people of diverse backgrounds. These include Costa Ricans, who can trace their local roots back for several generations, North American Quakers, who colonized the upper elevations alongside Costa Rican pioneers some 60 years ago, and many international artists and biologists. Although highly diverse, the local community leans toward values favoring family, environmentalism, and pacifism. However, recent opportunities for economic development at the expense of nature, quality of life, and peacefulness have ignited debates about whether and how sustainable development is possible. This dynamic makes the perfect venue for students of sustainability and environmental conservation.
ECOL 3100 (4 hours), Tropical Field Ecology
An interdisciplinary field program in tropical habitats, exploring and comparing tropical environments, their natural history, their biological wealth, and the ecological patterns, processes, and interactions that characterize tropical systems. Students will develop competence in recognition and observation of tropical organisms in the wild. Analysis of the interplay of tropical nature and human society, the threats to tropical biodiversity, and current conservation approaches in the tropics.
ECOL 3510 (3 hours), Ecology Laboratory
Techniques and methodologies to assess organismal, population, community, or ecosystem interactions.
This is a working itinerary and subject to change.
|Monday, April 13
|Wednesday, May 13
||Fly to Costa Rica
Introduction to CR organismal taxonomy
|Thursday, May 14
||La Selva, natural history hike
|Friday, May 15
||La Selva, ornithology, taxonomy
|Saturday, May 16
||La Selva, ornithology, taxonomy
|Sunday, May 17
||La Selva, old growth ecology, land use change, insect taxonomy
|Monday, May 18
||La Selva, steam ecology and research expectations
|Tuesday, May 19
||La Selva, research design and troubleshooting
|Wednesday, May 20
||La Selva, research
|Thursday, May 21
||Playa Grande, Marine ecology and safety
|Friday, May 22
||Playa Grande, Mangrove Ecology
|Saturday, May 23
||Playa Grande, research writing
|Sunday, May 24
||Playa Grande, primary literature
|Monday, May 25
|Tuesday, May 26
||San Luis, plant taxonomy
|Wednesday, May 27
||San Luis, Monteverde Reserve activity
|Thursday, May 28
||San Luis, natural history hike
|Friday, May 29
||San Luis, nutrient cycling, organic farming, sustainability
|Saturday, May 30
||San Luis, statistics and analysis lecture
|Sunday, May 31
||San Luis, horseback tour of divide, research projects and feedback
|Monday, June 1
||San Luis, practical exams, research writing/ editing
|Tuesday, June 2
||San Luis, symposium prep
|Wednesday, June 3
||San Luis, Research symposium
|Thursday, June 4
||Depart for airport
Students will be spending 7 nights at the CIEE Global Institute Campus and 3 nights in homestay accommodations. One or two students will be assigned to each home with a private bedroom and shared family bathroom.
The $3,060 tentative program fee includes accommodations, ground transportation, admission fees, group meals and 24/7 emergency support.
Speak with a UGA Financial Aid Advisor about how to apply the HOPE scholarship and other financial aid to study abroad expenses.
- Additional costs include roundtrip airfare to Costa Rica, passport and visa (if necessary)
- UGA tuition and fees for at least six hours of credit.
- General living expenses
- Timely completion of the application in the StudyAway Portal
- Satisfactory academic and disciplinary records
- Enrollment is limited (Likewise, minimum enrollment must be met to confirm program)
Admissions are rolling after the Oct. 15 decision date, and only applications marked "complete" by that time will receive a decision. Admission decisions will be sent via the studyaway.uga.edu application portal. Students will have a limited time to accept or decline an admission offer before the spot passes to another candidate. Students who accept the offer of admission must pay a non-refundable $300 deposit to confirm their place in the program and register for courses.
Dr. Scott Connelly, Program Director
Ecology building, Rm. 20