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Swinging in the trees: students zip line and learn about biodiversity

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Dale Thompson Of the Record staff

The rainforest may be disappearing and students in the Park City School District have an opportunity to see it before it’s gone.

Michelle Breinholt, a teacher at Treasure Mountain International School, is organizing a biodiversity trip for eighth-and ninth-graders to Costa Rica June 14 – 25.

"What I really like to emphasize about the trip is that we are an international school. This is like the heart of International Baccalaureate," Breinholt said.

The trip includes many educational components as well as recreational opportunities.

"We do a community service project, we take science field equipment down there so they can study the rain forest. We do a lot of hiking and we horseback ride and swim in waterfalls, we zip line," Breinholt said.

Last year’s participants brought science equipment to the secondary school in Tortuguero. Some of the IB students sold pillows and Christmas candy around the holidays to help raise money for the supplies including compasses, devices to help measure rain and Spanish/English dictionaries.

"I was amazed at how hard they were trying to teach them English," Brian Stanley, a student in last year’s program, said about the school.

Another element of service learning during the trip was cleaning moss off GPS tags and signs in La Selva, a well-known biological station where scientists study plants.

"We got to do a service project in La Selva, which was a preserve and we went and cleaned off the signs along the trails. We had to wear big rain boots in case of bullet ants and snakes. It was fun to be off the trail," said Emily Loughlin, one of last year’s participants.

The upcoming trip will have a different service project. According to Breinholt, "This year we will be creating new trails at a brand new bio diversity reserve."

Stanley said he is a nature lover, "We stayed on an island, that was my favorite part because we were right next to the water."

Loughlin highly recommends the trip to anyone wanting to go. Last year she saw sloths, insects, monkeys, crocodiles and a rare Quetzal bird.

"It’s definitely a good chance to learn a lot about a country that is in poverty and their environment," she said.

A guide accompanies them for much of the trip. Humberto Hernandes Urena, a Costa Rican, "Highlights their conservation system and talks about all the national parks and how they were founded. He points out the local history and that sort of thing," Breinholt said.

Anyone interested in going on this years trip should contact Michelle Breinholt at 645-5640 or mbreinho.


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