Enhancing Water Resources in Costa Rica – A Volunteer Experience

Costa Rica continues to be ranked as a leader in sustainability which not only makes it a great location to study abroad if you’re interested in the environment, climate change, and sustainability, but also means that you’ll have a variety of interesting volunteer opportunities when you study in Costa Rica.

In particular, recent students that studied abroad in Heredia, Costa Rica had the opportunity to participate in a volunteer activity with the intention to enhance water resources in Costa Rica for the Braulio Carrillo National Park, also located in the Heredia province.

Braulio Carillo National Park is one of the largest parks in Costa Rica that contains a variety of hiking trails, more than 500 species of birds and 150 species of mammals. USAC students often partner with the Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica (UNA), which is the host university for the USAC program, to provide a variety of volunteering opportunities to assist in conservation throughout Costa Rica.

For the Brualio Carrillo National Park activity, USAC students alongside UNA students volunteered more than 300 hours towards improving water resources. Some of the tasks performed included digging out, setting hoses and tubes, and carrying a full-sized water tank.

A group of students stand in front of the Parque National Braulio Carrillo sign during a study abroad in Heredia, Costa Rica. Students volunteered to help enhance water resources in the park

We spoke with several students who participated in the activity about their experience:

Racine Robinson, Pace University

“I got involved in this volunteer activity through the flyers in the USAC Office. My part of the activity included lifting a water tank and carrying it towards a smaller pond near the volcano. It’s shown in the photo! We spent all day moving it and had to stop just a little ways before the end. It was a lot of work but I was really happy with what we accomplished and the people I got to meet! The photo they published is something I show to my friends and family when i’m talking about going abroad. My favorite part was getting to know students and volunteers that I wouldn’t have originally met if I hadn’t been part of the project. It enhanced my experience by helping me gain experience in my field for trail maintenance and working with the national parks services.”

Students carry a water tank through Parque National Braulio Carrillo sign during a study abroad in Heredia, Costa Rica. Students volunteered to help enhance water resources in the park

James Kostick, University of Massachusetts Amherts

“Volunteering at Braulio Carrillo was a nice activity. Mostly, I worked with a water tank, carrying it along with the other volunteers to the top of the volcano fountain. We got really dirty walking through the forest and, at some point it turned into such a difficult labor, which actually I loved! As a city student, I took the chance to get to know the National Park, while meeting new people, and spending my weekend surrounded by nature. It was a pleasure to help the National Park workers in order for them to have accessible water along the year. They also gave us a delicious lunch, and all the participants in this project were very kind. I’m so thankful for this experience. Thank you!”

Students carry a water tank through Parque National Braulio Carrillo sign during a study abroad in Heredia, Costa Rica. Students volunteered to help enhance water resources in the park

Such activities are a constant reminder not only for students but for all of us, who understand the importance of taking care of our eco-systems, and the impact that this will have within the years, regarding the protected areas.
Big shout out to our students, who are aware of these small changes in order to make the world better place!

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