Eighth Grade Service Learning Trip

Eighth Grade Service Learning Trip
Tanya Spishak

Woodland's core virtues of stewardship, integrity, curiosity, resilience, equity, and respect were displayed throughout the trip.

This spring, the eighth grade students and chaperones traveled to Costa Rica to complete an eight day service learning trip. Upon their arrival in Costa Rica, students partnered with a government organization to build a trail system that will help protect the biodiversity found in these wetlands. The trails will promote ecotourism and contribute to the conservation of wildlife. While Costa Rica represents just .03% of the world's surface, it has 6% of the world's biodiversity, which is threatened by human activity. Each student group constructed between 40 and 85 meters of trail. In addition, students cleaned up a field in preparation for an upcoming festival, cleared terrain and built platforms that researchers will use, and created educational materials for the local community.

Students also had the opportunity to learn from and interact with members of the local community. Isabel taught the group how to make and cook tortillas. The Class of 2023 interacted with the local community, practicing Spanish, hooping, playing soccer (football), tug- of- war, limbo, and mascara de la felicidad, a game similar to musical chairs.

There was also some time for sightseeing, participating in new experiences, and learning about local wildlife. During the trip students saw caiman, marshlands, spider monkeys, bats, roosters, cockroaches, a pit viper, sloths, scorpions, tarantulas, and a lot of mosquitos. They learned about the ecosystem and the impact of climate change on the local area, toured a coffee plantation, and hiked through the rain forest, including walking on hanging bridges.

Favorite memories from the students include, interacting with the locals, zip-lining, and the bonfire! Students commented that the food was terrific and better than expected. Departing Costa Rica, students reflected on global citizenship and how they can individually and collectively impact the world.

Building Trail
coffee tour
Costa Rica Clean up
zip lining
hanging bridge
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