Today, we primarily learned about Costa Rica’s conservation policies and their historical significance from our wonderful guest speaker, Karla. Karla runs a dairy farm in Santa Cruz known as La Florita. She also works as a tour guide, in addition to volunteering at Comités de Vigilancia de los Recursos Naturales (COVIRENA) as a conservationist specializing in environmental education for youth.

We think it was especially interesting to listen to Karla’s perspective on humanity and our impact on the environment. She essentially told us that all creatures on this Earth serve to maintain the balance of our ecosystems. The example she provided us involved mosquitoes. She asked us, “What is the purpose of mosquitoes?” Naturally, none of us knew what to say because they are blood-sucking “beasts”. However, Karla had a good point. She explained that although we think mosquitoes are not keystone species (like wolves who control deer populations), they serve to control human populations by carrying the malaria parasite and killing a lot of people worldwide. This broadened our perspective on the world. For the first time, we began to think of ourselves as pests and understand the need to evaluate ourselves and our actions. We ask the following questions for ourselves and for everyone to ponder: “What can we do better? How can we serve this planet the way it serves us?”

PS: A few of us also went on a super fun hike up the mountain by our base house this morning! Some of us may or may not have stopped halfway and sat down… on Daniel’s poncho. 🙂