Saint Martin's College class exploring the biology of Costa Rica
Thursday, June 24, 2004
Lacey - A group of six students and a
professor from Saint Martin’s College are in the midst of a field
biology project in Costa Rica. The project, a year in the planning, is
taking them to several sites in the country to conduct research and
learn more about Costa Rica’s diverse biological resources and efforts
to conserve them.
The group, which will study primarily
through Costa Rica’s Monteverde Institute, arrived in San Jose, Costa
Rica, June 17 and will return July 8. Prior to leaving, they established
a website, where they are uploading field notes, photographs and video
as technical resources allow. The web site also includes a discussion
board, enabling them to share what they’re learning with fellow
students, family and friends.
The group began its tour by studying
Costa Rica’s history and biodiversity at the Instituto Nacional de
Biodiversidad. The Instituto is a non-government organization that is
cataloguing all living species of plant and animal life in the country
to gain knowledge necessary to help preserve their rich diversity.
The group also will make field visits to
the Sarapiqui region, where they will learn more about the impact of
hydroelectric projects on the Sarapiqui River; the La Selva biological
Station managed by the Organization of Tropical Studies; the Monteverde
Cloud Forest Reserve; Finca La Bella, a cooperative farm, where they
will learn about economically and environmentally sustainable farm
production; the San Gerardo biological station where they will learn
more about Atlantic slope rainforests and the Arenal volcano; and two
national parks. Their studies will include data collection at several
natural sites, interpretive hikes, visits to wildlife refuges and
endangered species conservation centers, and lectures on subjects
ranging from reforestation and Costa Rican history to the social costs
Leading the field study is assistant
professor of biology Alfredo Gomez-Beloz, an ethnobotonist with an
expertise in the area of native plants and their uses. He also has an
expertise in complementary and alternative medicine.
Students taking the field course are:
- Amanda Albert, Olympia, a freshman majoring in psychology.
- Angela Darling, Tacoma, a senior majoring in biology.
- Elissa “E.J.” Johnson, Lacey, a senior majoring in biology/pre-med.
- Nicole Oberg, Renton, a May biology graduate who will begin work on
her doctor of physical therapy degree this fall.
- Charles “Chas” Leyster, Lacey, a senior majoring in biology/pre-med
- Tyler Tebay, Pasco, a senior majoring in biology/pre-med.
Website support for the group is being
provided by Saint Martin’s librarian Scot Harrison. To view the group’s
activities online, go to
For more information:
Assistant professor, biology
Office of communication