Sustainable communities promoting biodiversity, culture, and food security in Costa Rica
This course explores the environmental, social, and economic aspects of sustainable communities and their efforts to promote conservation of biodiversity and culture as well as food security. The course visits and analyses select examples of eco-tourism, rural tourism, community organizations, ecological restoration, sustainable food production, and protected areas. Our travels take us throughout Costa Rica for three weeks exploring different sites that represent different ecosystems, cultures, and conservation strategies. Among these sites, we often visit the subalpine paramo, cloud forests, and lowland rainforests. The course is completely based on experiential learning, designed to stimulate inquiry and active learning. Faculty provides students with an interdisciplinary and holistic framework to help students understand the background, context, and relevance of local issues. The course dynamic involves immersing ourselves into the local cultures, places and ecosystems, interacting with local peoples, sharing in and supporting their daily livelihoods, and learning from authentic and inspirationally local innovators.