The 2014 class, comprised of 23 students, ventured into the pristine depths of the Osa Peninsula for the Natural Resource Management Field Course.
Professors Jan Breitling and Rob Fletcher led the students on the research-driven adventure, that offered a unique opportunity to explore in-depth how different land-uses and conservation approaches intermingle in one particular region: the South of Costa Rica.
The annual field course offers students in the Environment and Development programme critical direct experience and knowledge of important natural resources management issues in a developing country .The southern Costa Rica case sheds light on many of the political, economic and environmental reasons that produce resource scarcities, which in turn have critical impacts on both rural and urban livelihoods. The course – apart from three classroom sessions - was taught entirely in the field and served as a perfect laboratory in which students can come to get a clearer and real picture of the lack of governance, competing land use categories, influences of international markets and globalization on local initiatives for rural development.
Students were able to engage with many actors and organizations along the way: the owner of a private conservation and wildlife refuge, Hacienda Barú; a hunter-turned-park ranger in the Corcovado National Park; the director of Fundación Neotrópica, a non-profit organization that supports economic development through conservation; the first membership organization for conservation in Costa Rica, ASCONA; government officials from SINAC, part of the Costa Rican Ministry of Environment; managers from the Lapa Rios Eco-Lodge; a guided tour with Osa Conservation; and leaders from La Asociación de Productores la Amistad (ASO PROLA), an agricultural cooperative based outside of Amistad National Park.
Beyond the waterfalls, bird watching, animal sightings and forest hikes, the course left students with a clear understanding of the relationship between resource scarcities, resource abundance and the production of conflict in Costa Rica. Spencer Schecht, Natural Resource and Sustainable Development Masters student described the field course as “an invaluable opportunity to explore some of the most bio-diverse parts of Central America.” He continues, “It was fascinating, eye-opening, and enlivening."
Fore more information about the programme visit