The Association for the Conservation of the Tropics (DANTA) is pleased to announce field courses in Primate Behavior and Conservation.
DANTA courses are intended for undergraduates or early graduate level students who have a keen interest in tropical biology and conservation, but have little or no experience of working in a tropical environment. Participants may enroll on either a credit or non-credit basis.
All courses are held at Osa Conservation’s Piro Research Station in Costa Rica’s spectacular Osa Peninsula. As one of the largest tracts of rain forest north of the Amazon, this area is renowned for high animal and plant diversity. It is one of only a few places in Costa Rica that has jaguar, puma, sea turtles and four species of monkey (mantled howler monkey, black-handed spider monkey, white-faced capuchin and squirrel monkey). It is also home to nearly 4,000 plant species. All students participating in DANTA programs will have opportunity to be involved in applied conservation (i.e., sea turtle monitoring and reforestation) and community service. Every course includes a 2 night/3 day homestay. During the homestay, students will be involved in the daily activities of the host family with the purpose being to gain a greater understanding of Costa Rican culture. The homestays additionally provide support for the local communities and lead to greater community inclusion in our conservation efforts.
The courses include a 4 day field trip which includes a visit to a chocolate plantation and 2 night stay in Drake Bay with a snorkeling tour of Cano Island, one of Costa Rica’s premier dive spots. Here there is a good chance you will see white-tipped reef sharks, manta rays, sea turtles, dolphins and humpback whales. On the return trip from the island, we will explore the Terraba Sierpe Mangroves, which are accessible only by boat and consists of over 100,000 acres of the largest mangrove forest in Central America. The final day of the field trip we will visit the Boruca Indigenous Reserve where we will learn about their community and traditional lifeways. The field trip is in cooperation with Planet Conservation, DANTA’s sustainable travel partner. Every effort is made to implement eco-friendly and socially responsible practices into day-to-day operations, field courses and overall mission.
DANTA believes that education must be the cornerstone of any long-lasting conservation policy. Through classes, the program aims to raise the level of understanding of tropical fauna and flora, with an emphasis on both the complexity and vulnerability of these hugely important ecosystems. DANTA has a strong belief that global conservation can only work with a wide support base at the local, grass-roots level. It is vital that people living in and around the tropical forests must see value in sustaining these natural resources. To this end, as the organization grows, DANTA will increase the number of Latin American students attending the association’s courses through the provision of scholarships. Secondly, wherever possible, classes will utilize field stations, such as the one at La Gamba in Costa Rica, and other facilities that are owned and run by local people. Thirdly, DANTA will always encourage students to support local store owners, craft-makers, and artisans, so that student visits have a positive impact throughout the communities.