Gilpin High School students to visit Costa Rica
by Patty Unruh
A small group of Gilpin County high school students and their adult chaperones will be visiting Costa Rica March 21 through March 31.
The purpose of the trip is for the young people to have real-life experiences in using a foreign language and to learn about the cultural geography of Central America, the biology and ecology of the rain forest and a variety of other zones, the geology of volcanic parks, and budgeting and foreign currency.
The group will start in the capital city, San Jose, and travel to an area known as Tortuguero on the Caribbean coast. Tortuguero is quite remote, and the group will only be able to get there by boat, through a canal system. They will visit a banana plantation, as well as one of the national rainforest parks in the area. Tortuguero is also a famous breeding ground for sea turtles; however, the Gilpin students won’t be there during that season.
After the Caribbean coast, they will travel across the central lowlands region. They plan to go zip-lining and enjoy sitting in the hot springs. Highlights of the trip will be kayaking on Lake Arenal, at the foot of the mildly active Arenal volcano, and visiting the La Fortuna waterfall.
Finally, they will travel across to the Pacific coast to the Guanacaste area. They will see tropical white sand beaches, wildlife in the national parks, such as monkeys and sloths, and more volcanoes in the Rincon de la Vieja National Park. They will return to the U.S. from the northern city of Liberia, in the Guanacaste region.
Group leader Barb Bedwell says, “I feel that kids really learn about their world by being in it—not just by reading about it in a book. Plus, it’s a great opportunity for our students to develop independence and self-reliance and to exhibit some decision-making skills.” She notes that youth who have had the opportunity for foreign travel feel that the world comes alive for them and makes them more aware of our own culture and the privilege of being an American citizen.
Students participating are Adria Banks, Grace Diekman, Ashlen Cortez, Faith Trombley, Kenny Larson, Mike Yerkman, and Shawn Wacker. Staff members participating are Barb Bedwell, Su Henry, Carol Murray, and Kellie Bayne. Eighth grader Sierra Bedwell will accompany her mother on the trip.
Anyone wishing to donate to the trip may send their donation to Bedwell at the school, and she will have it deposited into the group’s account. Or, a donation may be sent to Terry Scharg at the school with a note to place it in the International Travel account. All donations will be split evenly among the student members of the trip. The school’s address is 10595 Highway 119, Black Hawk, CO 80422.