McCormack Middle School (in the Boston Public Schools) is sending 14 students to the rain forest in Costa Rica! We are spending the year studying the rainforest, its ecosystem, and the adaptations of the creatures who live there. We'll stay in cabins hosted by O2 for Life Rainforest Foundation, and each day we'll hike through the rain forest, learning all about it. One day, we'll visit a local school there and spend the day doing community service.
From January until our departure, our group will meet weekly after school to preview the trip, learn the Spanish language, and create a field guide of animals in the rain forest. We'll print out a copy for each student, and when we arrive at our destination, we'll use the field guide to learn about the animals as we see them. What do the leaf-cutter ants do with their leaves? Why do the howler monkeys howl? Students will research and present these questions and many more!
Each morning, the howler monkeys will wake us up with their calls. We're staying next to a mangrove forest as well, which we can hike through at low tide. Because we're surrounded by wildlife, our week in Costa Rica will be electronics-free, and our students will learn how to survive a week without Facebook! Each evening, after we help clean the dishes, we'll reflect on the day, participating in a community circle with story telling and rounds of apologies and thank yous. Our student group will start to feel like a family. We will keep a nightly journal to record our experiences so that we can present them when we return.
Our students come mostly from low-income families in Boston, and they are leaders in the school both in effort and character. Throughout the school year, these students continue to earn this opportunity by pushing themselves to work hard and make good decisions. This experience serves as the ultimate incentive for students, and in some cases it is life-changing. Many of our students have never been on an airplane or even a boat before! Traveling to a rainforest and visiting students nearby can really open our eyes. Students from prior trips have gone on to intern at Franklin Park Zoo or work to help the environment with the Emerald Necklace Conservancy. Our trip is already subsidized through O2 for Life Rainforest Foundation, who host us in Costa Rica for free! We only pay for airfare and food at each end of the trip, but our students' families are not able to afford even this amount. Including airfare, our budget is $8,000 for a nine-day trip for 14 students and two chaperones. Please considering chipping in what you can. Every little bit helps, and we are grateful for your donation!