Sunday 11 April 2021

Students study in a Costa Rica rainforest

High School students conducted an experiment to test ant repellent at a cacao farm in Costa Rica.

While most students were sitting in classrooms counting down the last days of the school year, a group of teens from Trinity High School and Mercy Academy were sitting on the floor of a Costa Rican rainforest counting leaf-cutter ants — a particularly destructive type of ant.

Kentucky students, from left, Jake Claypool, a Trinity High School student, Chloe Newton, a Mercy Academy student, and Graham Castle, a Lexington Catholic High School student, conducted an experiment to test ant repellent at a cacao farm in Costa Rica.

The students traveled to the Central American nation May 26 to June 5 to study the ants, butterflies, toads, frogs and lizards.

- Advertisement -

Patrick Heintz, a science teacher from Trinity High School, led the group of 33 students — including a dozen from Lexington Catholic High School in the Diocese of Lexington, Ky. They stayed at Finca La Anita, an organic farm that produces chocolate, in the small town of Colonia Libertad, said Heintz. They conducted their research in the rainforest and at a butterfly garden located in the town.

While in Costa Rica — a country known for its beaches and diversity of plant and wildlife — students had the opportunity to do college and graduate-level work, said Heintz.

“They designed their own experiments, conducted research and statistically analyzed data,” said Heintz. “Whether they were on the rainforest floor counting ants or digging up colonies, it’s college-level work. It’s something they don’t usually get to do in high school.”

Ryan Groza, a freshman at Trinity, said his research consisted of studying Blue Morpho butterflies to determine how bacteria differ from one stage of metamorphosis to the next.

- Advertisement -

“I learned to sterilize equipment, dissect butterflies and compare bacteria,” said Gorza. “There are many bacteria found in each stage and they are what make each organism unique.”

Much of the research the students conducted, however, involved the resilient leaf-cutter ants — capable of destroying entire crops, the students explained during an interview at Trinity June 7.

Ella Teeley and Chloe Newton, freshmen at Mercy, and Cole Nichols, a junior at Trinity, conducted experiments to find natural ant pesticides, they said. Teeley discovered that eucalyptus oil repelled the ants, she said.

Chloe Newton, a Mercy Academy student, left, and Ryan Groza, a Trinity High School freshman, foreground right, tested a soil sample during a research trip to Costa Rica. The students visited the Central American country May 26 to June 5.

The students woke early in the mornings and worked late into the nights, often using flashlights in the forest when they ran out of daylight said Teeley.

They took their research seriously, they said, because it has serious consequences.
Research on leaf-cutter ants is important “especially in that region,” said Nichols, a student from Trinity. “Exports to other countries and even the economy would be disrupted” if farmers don’t find ways to control the ants.

- Advertisement -

The students knew how important their work was, said Marilyn Bowman, a science teacher from Mercy Academy who accompanied the group.

She said the students quickly became fond of the owners of Finca la Anita and were motivated to help find ways to protect the owners’ cacao crop from ants.

Bowman said the program is “tremendous” in what it accomplishes for the high school students. “It helps them to think like scientists and engineers and that will open doors for their future, she said.

The trip was made possible through Seeds of Change, Inc., a Minnesota-based non-profit organization. Its mission is to enhance STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education for high school students through tropical field research, according to the group’s website.

The students said this eight-day trip will have an impact on their lives.
“Everything I learned will give me a headstart,” said Newton, a student from Mercy. “Most (high school students) don’t get this experience.”

The education he received in Costa Rica “sets the bar pretty high,” said Groza. “It was very hands-on and immersive. It’s an experience you wouldn’t get anywhere else.”
Teeley, a student from Mercy, said “working efficiently with people you just met,” is a challenge she believes will be helpful later in life.

While in Costa Rica the students also did service work. Their last two days were spent planting trees in the Horizontes forest and they spent a night on the beach helping researchers find nesting sea turtles.

The students presented their findings to professors from the University of Costa Rica before heading home and offered a similar presentation on June 7 at Trinity.

Article by Ruby Thomas was first published in Therecordnewspaper.org. Read the original.

- Advertisement -

FACT CHECK:
We strive for accuracy in its reports. But if you see something that doesn’t look right, send us an email. The Q reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it’s accuracy.

Q Costa Rica
Reports by QCR staff

Related Articles

Will the dollar exchange rate be volatile at the end of the year?

If you have been following the dollar exchange rate, you will...

Where and when is Costa Rica going to build its new airport?

The government of Costa Rica lacks a roadmap for its plan...

MOST READ

Order and tranquility, this is how voluntary vaccination against Covid-19 is developed in Nicaragua

TODAY NICARAGUA – From the early hours of this Friday, seniors with chronic conditions came out voluntarily for the Covishield vaccine against Covid-19. At the...

Ruta 27: No one hurt after car falls off bridge lands on road below

QCOSTARICA - "It felt like an earthquake," described Eduardo Retana, the driver of the pickup truck that had the unfortunate luck shortly after noon...

Costa Rica to sign up “Influencers” to promote tourism

QCOSTARICA - Best Place to Travel in 2021 (Costa Rica) was the title chosen by influencer Rob Strok when he released an eight-minute video...

Differio Men’s Swimwear Brings Latin Beach Flavor to USA

TRENDS - Latin America is a tropical hotspot for not only the most beautiful beaches, but also some of the boldest swimwear for men....

Avianca to fly direct San José and Miami starting July 1

QCOSTARICA - Avianca airlines announced that starting next July 1, 2021, it will fly daily non-stop between San José (SJO) and Miami (MIA). The Colombia...

Pharmacies could sell any Covid-19 vaccine authorized by regulatory agencies

QCOSTARICA  - Any vaccine against Covid-19 that has authorization from a regulatory agency recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) could be sold in...

More airlines and flights predict a rebound in tourism for the second semester

QCOSTARICA - The arrival of more airlines to Costa Rica, the opening of new routes and frequencies and the reactivation of airlines that paralyzed...

10 Healthy Habits To Boost Your Brain Health

A healthy mind resides in a healthy body, therefore we must keep our surroundings clean and positive which would keep us lively and it...

Costa Rica approves use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine

QCOSTARICA - The National Vaccination and Epidemiology Commission (CNVE) on Thursday approved the use of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. This will be applied to...

WANT TO STAY UP TO DATE WITH THE LATEST!

Get our daily newsletter with the latest posts directly in your mailbox. Click on the subscribe and fill out the form. It's that simple!

Log In

Forgot password?

Forgot password?

Enter your account data and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Your password reset link appears to be invalid or expired.

Log in

Privacy Policy

Add to Collection

No Collections

Here you'll find all collections you've created before.