Throughout each student’s stay at New Summit Academy, the Integrated Aventuras serve as a means to connect with therapists, Experiential Education mentors, and teachers while working on personal growth goals, and enjoying total immersion in the natural wonders of Costa Rica. Students recently returned from three different Aventuras, and have brought their stories back to campus with them.
Students took to the trails of Corcovado National Park ready to explore the most biologically intense place on earth. The group's student documentarian recorded footage for a short film, while other students took turns in the role of Student Naturalist, spotting and identifying Baird's tapirs, anteaters, and caimans in the wild.
Biologists from the University of Costa Rica shared the results of a ten-year study about the diverse species of fungi endemic to the park, enhancing class discussions about the symbiotic relationships of rainforest organisms.
The highlight of this once-in-a-lifetime paddle around the protected waters of southern Costa Rica was the cohesion of the group, and the good vibes and energy that arose from the interactions between students and staff during the trip. Student feedback for staff was all positive, and they expressed how much they appreciated sharing the experience.
Students battled rough seas at times, but sightings of sea turtles, studying the mangroves in an estuary, and watching our Science teacher JD fall out of his kayak made the trip worth it!
This Aventura begins with a 3-day backpacking journey into the chilly cloud forest of Tapanti National Park. On the very first day, after arriving at the park station, the group happened to see a wounded resplendent quetzal being transported to the Zoo Ave sanctuary in Alajuela. Renowned for its vibrant plumage and long streamer tail, the quetzal inhabits the humid highlands of Costa Rica, where protected lands offer this threatened species safe haven.
The experience was the perfect springboard for that day's class on the interconnectedness of cloud forest biomes and human interactions with local species. The class discussion focused on human impacts and important efforts to help rare species like the quetzal.
The trip ended on a high note with two days of adrenaline-pumping rafting on the Class III and IV rapids of the mighty Pacuare River.
Students on the Kayak Aventura found a true sense of cohesion and authenticity as they paddled their way across the glassy waters of the Golfo Dulce.
When they weren't chest-deep in mangrove estuaries for hands-on classes, the guys were catching their dinner (fresh snapper and mackeral!) on handlines as they kayaked through this amazing ecosystem.
Crowning moments included:
Corcovado National Park, one of the planet's most biodiverse locations, was the backdrop for this physically challenging 5-day camping and trekking adventure. Students study lowland rainforest ecology, symbiosis and forest succession on this extreme journey that entails some exciting river crossings, including one high tide crossing where waters were nearly chest level!
Wildlife sightings are one of the best parts of exploring Corcovado. During their week-long adventure, the guys saw Tapir, sea turtles, four species of monkey, wild pigs, coatimundi, caimans, crocodiles and a skunk! The group also got to experience the wonders of the Snow Moon Eclipse, watching the sun rise as the moon lit up the night sky.
Community Service marks the first of NSA's Integrated Aventuras, and with more than half of the student body participating in this initial adventure, this group was amazingly cohesive. Students showed great initiative and cooperation on both an individual and group basis during their week on the Osa Peninsula, where service was aimed at monitoring endangered sea turtle nesting sites and local reforestation efforts.
According to Aventura staff, the guys were consistently engaged in academic lessons, resulting in dynamic conversations.
Aventura highlights included:
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