Rincon De La Vieja Parque Nacional
Today, we explored Rincon De La Vieja Parque Nacional. During this hike, each chaperone team was responsible for researching, identifying and presenting about a plant, sight, or area of the park. During this hike, we also encountered and learned about Rhino Beatles, Spider monkeys, Leafcutter ants and Howler monkeys! Below captures information that students learned on this adventure.
Ms. Schuld's group was assigned geysers. There are two different types of geysers, fountain geysers like old Faithful in Yellowstone witch erupts with water. There are no fountain geysers in the park we went to. The type of geysers that were in the park are cone geysers which don’t erupt with water but have a constant stream of steam coming out of them. The geysers could reach 280 degrees Farenheit and are heated by magma that was flowing underneath the geysers. They geysers would lift minerals like sulfur from underground and if you smell it than that’s how you know you are near a geyser.
Today at the national park we did research on dry forests. As a group, Mr. Molfino's team found out that there are usually less trees and more rocks in these locations. The reason for this is because the rocks will stay if tree roots don’t break them down and there is a lack of trees so the rocks stay. We also discovered that some of the trees have the ability to store water in their trunks. When trees store water in their trunks they are more likely to survive the dry season every dry forest has.
Mr. Walker's group was in charge of looking and learning about the Bromelia plant. Bromelia is a family that includes things such as pineapples. They're native to Central America and have a red flower on a long stem. The plant has little hairs that help catch and hold moisture. They also make perfect places for poison dart frogs to lay their eggs. Fossils as old as 30 million years have been found of these flowers. Also, the Aztecs and Mayans used every part of the plant for various things.
Mr. Koester's team searched for Ficus parasites, which are a parasitic plant that feeds from its host tree until that tree eventually dies. The tree rots while the ficus, acting as a sheath, remains in the same position as the tree Although it is a parasitic plant types of ficus, such as the strangler fig, are a main food source for the eco system. They form from the top growing down since the seeds are spread by animals and weather while the water is in the ground. This is relevant to Costa Rica because they can be seen everywhere and play a role in the eco system.
Many people view orchids as a simplistic house flower. Ms. Sato's group discovered that there is much more to the delicate flower after a long search for one in the Ricón de la Vieja (the Old Woman's Corner). We also had a solid research session that helped us grow a larger understanding. In Costa Rica alone, there are over 1200 different species that are spread throughout the jungles and 80% of them are epiphytes, meaning they are a plant that thrives and grows by attaching itself to another. The orchid's seeds are so small that the dust-like particles struggle to thrive and grow into a true flower. But when they do, they grow to be different colors and different shapes. This is because the difference in color attracts different pollinators. The different shapes of orchids are for when the bugs, in this case a bee, comes to collect it's seeds the flower pollinates different parts of the bee. This is so when it goes to the same type of orchid with the same flower shape, the bee can then do its job. There are a lot of charqcteristics people still overlook, though this is an unique and beautiful plant.
We all had such a fun time snorkeling! We drove over to the beach after eating a delicious lunch of some veggies, rice, and some sort of meat (it was a cafeteria style restaurant). We got to the beach and walked over to where the snorkeling instructors where waiting with boats. We took the boats to the other side of the U-shaped strip of beach. The instructors went through the safety stuff, and how to use the equipment correctly when we go to the other side. We used flippers when swimming and to walk with them on you have to walk backwards as to not damage the fins, my friends and I all looked really funny going into the water and we could barely even walk because we were laughing so hard. We all got into the water with all of our equipment on and waited for the guide to get in. While we where waiting we got used to the snorkel and were goofing around, splashing, racing that sort of stuff. The little strip of beach and ocean was full of laughter. The water was clear and warm, the perfect little multicolored shells and palm trees made it feel like a dream. When we started to look under more at first we saw lots of Pufferfish, some huge females and some little males. The pufferfish had to be one of the fish we saw the most, they were white with brown spots or fully brown. As we were swimming along with the guide and making less noise more fish started to come out. We saw a school of what I think where some blue and yellow butterfly fish. They where definitely used to humans and came very close to us, one even pecked my hand! There was also a school of these little striped fish, about three inches and skinny, and grey, blue, and yellow. Most of the other fish were by themselves or in small groups of three to five. Some of the fish we saw were; Pennant Bannerfish, Humbugs, lots of sea urchins, three spot Dascyllus, bluebanded surgeonfish, and I heard that some people saw an eel! That lasted about an hour. After that we played in the shallower water, some relaxed and some played a hardcore game of 500 with a soccer ball. I personally played 500, I only got the ball once because there were so many people playing but came close about three other times. It was fun though and would definitely play another round again. We had to stop and go home early because of a storm but we had a lot of fun anyways.