Pitzer College

Firestone Center for Restoration Ecology

Reserve and Field Station in Costa Rica

The Firestone Center for Restoration Ecology reserve and field station is a 60 hectare (150 acre) property located on the southwest coast of Costa Rica, adjacent to the well-known Hacienda Baru Reserve, near the town of Dominical.

The property, originally lowland rainforest, was progressively cleared for cattle farming in the 1950's and 1960's. Since 1993, the property has been the subject of restoration and sustainable forestry efforts. Management of the property was transferred to Pitzer College in 2005, which manages the site as a biological reserve and logistical base for undergraduate ecological research and education.

Pitzer College runs a Study Abroad Semester Program (Fall and Spring semesters) focusing on restoration ecology. Students spend approximately one month in a home-stay environment while studying Spanish at a language institute in Alajuela, at the foot of Poas Volcano. They then move to rural home-stays while studying tropical ecology and human ecology at the Firestone Center, finishing with an independent study project. The program also includes a short study visit to Panama.


Four hours southwest of San Jose and just two kilometers from the Pacific Ocean, the program is located in the tropical rainforest on land owned by Pitzer College. The reserve, known as the Firestone Center for Restoration Ecology, provides an ongoing setting for the study of both tropical and human ecology in one of Costa Rica's most beautiful mountainous areas. With Hacienda Baru Reserve, a nature reserve of 800 acres to the west, the ecologically significant Osa Peninsula to the south, and Manuel Antonio National Park to the north, you have ready access to a variety of tropical ecosystems and rich biodiversity.