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Colvin Run Elementary Students Visit Costa Rica

Students planting trees in Santa Elena Cloud Forest. Top from left- Caroline Simone, Greta Beggs, Susan Suh, Anna Grace Hopkins, Morgan Billingslea, Claire Bonadio, Kate Van Meter, CRES Principal Ken Junge. Bottom from left- Carter Lewis, Emma Frank, Alex Braswell, Rocco Bognet, and Kimiya Afsharnia

Students planting trees in Santa Elena Cloud Forest. Top from left- Caroline Simone, Greta Beggs, Susan Suh, Anna Grace Hopkins, Morgan Billingslea, Claire Bonadio, Kate Van Meter, CRES Principal Ken Junge. Bottom from left- Carter Lewis, Emma Frank, Alex Braswell, Rocco Bognet, and Kimiya Afsharnia Photo Contributed

Thanks to the leadership of fifth grade teacher Allison Hutchins and EF Educational Tours, a group of Colvin Run Elementary School students went on an incredible adventure to Costa Rica during the week of Jan. 25-31.

Costa Rica is one of the world’s most progressive countries in its efforts to save the earth’s endangered rain forests. The trip was designed to give students an appreciation for the planet’s varied ecosystems, a new cultural experience and a chance to practice Spanish which is offered to all students at Colvin Run. The trip included twelve current and former Colvin Run students with parent chaperones, Colvin Run teachers Allison Hutchins and Joan Andrade, former Principal Stephen Hockett and current Principal Ken Junge.

Highlights of the trip included: a visit to San Jose, the country’s bustling capital and cultural center; hikes to learn about the ecosystems and wildlife of Costa Rica including INBIOparque, a research station created by the National Institute of Biodiversity where the group saw sloths and iguanas, the Butterfly Garden at Monteverde which showcased 40 species of local butterflies, and the Ecological Sanctuary where the group found a playful group of capuchin monkeys; scenic views of the Poas Volcano, a still-active volcano that is part of Costa Rica’s most developed national park and the Arenal Volcano which continues to spew great clouds of ash and occasional lava. In Arenal, students visited La Fortuna waterfall and enjoyed one of the area’s many natural hot springs heated by the nearby volcano and channeled into pools. Students made a visit to an orphanage in the Arenal region where students played soccer and shared smiles with children from the ages of 2 through 8.

They also planted trees to encourage reforestation in the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve near the Continental Divide. Winds from the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean cool and condense to bathe the forest in a constant soft mist. Thanks to Colvin Run students, future generations will benefit from new trees that produce oxygen to renew our air supply. Thrilling views of the forest canopy flying through the treetops on ziplines in both the Arenal region and Monteverde. The ziplines unveil Costa Rica’s ecological systems from a unique perspective.

The students returned to Virginia with a renewed appreciation for our planet and as enthusiastic ambassadors for future international programs sponsored by Colvin Run.