Costa Rica, Leatherbacks, and Global Citizenship

My students have the wonderful opportunity to spend a week in Costa Rica, learning about its ecosystems, its renewable resources, and its sea turtles. We start in San Jose, traveling to Arenal, and then end up on the coast at the small Pacific coast community of Playa Grande.

During this trip, the students are surrounded by experts– Dr. Mario Bozo, one of the men responsible for Costa Rica’s vast National Park system accompanies us on our trip to Carara National Park and tells students about the importance of National Parks as well as about the flora and fauna in the park.


Once we reach Playa Grande, students interact on a daily basis with graduate students and biologists at the Goldring-Gund Marine Biology Station, including Dr. Nathan Robinson. The not-for-profit, The Leatherback Trust, is based out of the station as well as being a research station (and an Earthwatch location). Students learn about leatherback sea turtles, black turtles, and hatchlings from the biologists who are studying them.


Students help with leatherback sea turtle nest excavations, learn about aggressive snails, and have the opportunity to release hatchings and watch female turtles nest on the beach. While this year, we didn’t get to see a leatherback female nest (which is a truly magical and majestic experience), we did get to see an olive Ridley lay her eggs.

Pacific leatherback sea turtles are critically endangered and the nesting beach at Playa Grande IMG_8450is one of the few remaining beaches (leatherbacks come back to the same beach where they were born). The students were lucky enough to interact Dr. George Shillinger, the Executive Director of the Leatherback Trust and Skyped with Dr. Jim Spotila, founder of the Leatherback Trust.

This trip is truly a once in a life time opportunity for the students–between the experiences, the opportunities to learn directly from experts, and the chance to help a critically endangered species, the students will remember this trip forever.

About Jessica Lura

I am the director of teaching and learning at public K-8 charter school in Northern California. I work to integrate technology and hands-on learning into the classroom. I develop and lead professional development for my school, helping teachers develop project-based learning and design thinking units, integrate technology and digital citizenship in the classroom, and create opportunities for real world interactions and projects. For my efforts, I was named Santa Clara County's Office of Education Charter School Teacher of Year for 2013 and a 2014 Comcast All-Star Teacher. I am also a Google Certified Innovator
This entry was posted in Global Citizenship and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s