After arriving in Costa Rica yesterday, I got off to an early start today, beginning an adventure through the Costa Rican rainforest and arriving at the prestigious Earth University. Arriving at Earth in the morning, I knew we had a full day of activities set in front of us, yet I did not know just how exciting it would be to tour around this beautiful and amazing University.
We started off meeting our wonderful tour guide David, listening about what Earth University does for its students and the community. Unlike most University’s, Earth focuses on agricultural sciences and emphasizes sustainability. Being an Environmertal Science major I take pride in learning more about sustainability and all of the interesting facets of soil sciences and agriculture. Promptly after showing us a video about Earth, David asked us a round of questions and got to know us well before heading out and touring the facilities. Earth’s campus has a vast amount of land spread out in the remarkable Guacimo, Limon Provence, totaling in 8,340 acres.
Among the the many lessons and practices we learned today, my class and I got to see some breathtaking places, such as Earth’s banana plantations. We walked through one area of the rainforest on Earth’s campus to see several different facilities that were dedicated to recycling and waste management. At Earth they prioritize producing as little waste as possible and making use out of everything. One of the most interesting places we came across was their landfill area. They had a small area in their forest for landfill, which they use as a last alternative for non-recyclable plastics and materials. I found it really interesting how that system worked, they would fill the landfill up with soil and eventually plant trees over each pit making it carbon positive. Among their other great facilities we got got to see a really interesting method for bio-hazardous waste. Sadly, in many countries, bio-hazardous waste is dumped into rivers, lakes, and landfill areas among other things. Here at Earth, they created these really unique pits in the forest which they could store the bio-hazardous waste in and compress it to fit waste for many years. When that pit becomes full, they just make a new pit.
Shortly after eating our delicious traditional Costa Rican lunches, we took off again to see some other areas of the campus. Along with having their own banana plantations, Earth had a facility for Cacau beans where they would dry the beans in a greenhouse that traps heat, we got quite toasty in there, as the heat was reaching temperatures of 37 degrees Celsius (98 degrees Fahrenheit). Among all of the awesome things we saw on our first days visit, the tour of the last garden was fantastic. We learned about the numerous ways they garden vegetables and plants, using such smart yet different techniques compared to what I have seen before. David showed us this really interesting contraption called a “punching bag” which was a planters box if you will, but designed to hang from the ceiling in a bag that holds the soil. This was a really cool and efficient way to grow vegetables and other plants that I found fascinating. In their gardens, they also used old recyclable materials such as bicycle wheels and soda bottles to hold their planter boxes, another neat technique.
Once we finished our tour for the day, we headed off to dinner where I enjoyed some fabulous chicken soup and tamarine juice to compliment it. After dinner, our class formed a round table discussion where we first talked about ourselves for a little bit, then discussing how our guides (who are students at Earth) learn to take the skills they are learning to apply them to their own communities back home; specifically talking about agriculture and how vital it is in so many different aspects of our world. Done with our long and exhausting (and fun!) day at Earth University, I can say that my Costa Rica adventure is already shaping up to be great. I’m really happy I chose this course and I can’t wait for the days ahead of us.