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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Proficiency and Stars finalists travel to Costa Rica

Each year, national finalists in the proficiency awards and the American Star Awards programs are offered the opportunity to travel to Costa Rica, where they experience different agricultural practices first-hand and learn about the rich history and culture of a country different from their own.

This year, fifty students are traveling on the Costa Rica trip, and have divided into five groups: chupacabra, funky monkeys, shark bait, tree frogs and half sliced pineapples. Each day one of the groups will share the experiences and thoughts from their journey.

Our journey to Costa Rica began at 5:15 this morning with breakfast at the Double Tree Hotel in Houston, Texas. After making it through customs here in Costa Rica, our exciting adventure began.

The first impression we had was the beautiful scenery and different culture, especially in the design of homes, structures, and highways. Upon arrival at the hotel, we were welcomed with a Costa Rican lunch of chicken, beef, an interesting salad with some of the local fruits, Tameran juice, and tiramisu cake for dessert. Then we began our tour of the capital, San Jose. We walked from our hotel to the National Museum, where we learned about the native people of Costa Rica and how traditions and production agriculture in the country have changed over time.

The protection of the environment is extremely important to Costa Ricans. This became more apparent after our evening presentation by Laura Patino, who founded a climate educational program that makes others aware of their carbon footprint. We really enjoyed her "The Power of 1%" theory, which emphasized the power of taking 1 percent of your income, time, or effort in making a difference in environmental preservation.

As young agriculturists, we appreciate the concept of taking care of the land, as it takes care of us. This presentation was very eye opening and should hit home for many tourists and locals alike.

We ended the night with another traditional meal at the Gran Hotel, and then took a couple of hours to explore the local shops, hang out in the hotel, or simply catch up on some much needed sleep for another early morning tomorrow!

Pura Vida,

The Half Sliced Pineapples


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