|Tropical Restoration Ecology
|Environment, People, and Restoration
|Independent Study Project
During the first five weeks of the program, students will participate in the first half of the Pitzer Core Course: a seminar offered through ICADS entitled Latin American Perspectives on Justice and Sustainable Development. The course includes lectures, study trips in and around San José, discussion sessions, a variety of oral, interactive and written assignments, and a longer study trip. Students typically have class every day during their time in San Jose.
The second half of the course focuses on developing oral proficiency in Spanish while deepening students’ understanding of Costa Rican culture through interviews, ethnographic work with local host families, and community organizations. Click here to view a sample syllabus for the class. For *Pitzer students, the core course will satisfy Pitzer’s Social Responsibility Praxis (SRX) requirement.
Intensive Spanish Language Class
This 80-hour Spanish language course is taught in San José at the Institute for Central American Development Studies (ICADS), where students will stay for the first month of the program. As part of an integrated approach to the teaching of language and culture, students receive lectures on Costa Rican culture and take study trips in San José. Spanish classes will continue when students transfer to the Firestone Center for Restoration Ecology (FCRE).
Tropical Restoration and Ecology
Using the Firestone Center as a biological field station, the course provides a field-intensive exploration of the terrestrial and marine ecology of the neotropical region, with an emphasis on tropical restoration ecology. The course covers physical geography, biodiversity theory, and practical methods of data collection and analysis. Field and laboratory work focuses on the terrestrial, estuarine and marine ecosystems of southwestern Costa Rica and Panama. Special emphasis is given to the theory of restoration and its practice on the property of the Firestone Center. This course satisfies the natural science graduation requirement at Pitzer College. For students who have completed an introductory biology sequence, the course can be counted as an upper division Keck Biology and EA-Science elective by arrangement with the instructor. Click here to view a sample syllabus for the class.
Environment, People, and Restoration
This course is designed to explore special topics in relation to the rich cultural and ecological resources available at the Firestone Center, its neighboring communities, and local protected areas. Topics change from year to year but may include conservation policy and governance, agroecology, and protected areas. Each course segment is taught as an intensive seminar that combines theoretical considerations, case studies, methodologies, and fieldwork. Click here to view a sample syllabus.
Independent Study Project
Students may focus on one aspect of human or tropical restoration ecology to study in greater depth through an independent research project or internship. Students may also participate in one of the longitudinal research projects set up by scholars from the U.S. and Costa Rica that contribute to the biological baseline assessment for the property. Some topics may have prerequisites. All projects require a final written report with a significant analytical component as well as other appropriate documentation of learning. Click here to learn more about research opportunities.