Author Archives: ahscostarica


Today we went on a hike to a waterfall. It was about 2.5 kilometers away from where we’re staying. We went with our tour guide, Freddie,  and he showed us a lot of different things in the forest. At the waterfall, there were a bunch of butterflies that we could sit in the middle of and watch them fly around. Also, we went to the beach, and we were able to ride the waves and get thrown around by them (which was fun, by the way). We also had a barbecue on the beach while we watched the sunset. 

– Kaeli, Dejah, and Courtney ❤

Horizontes Day 1

Today after yet another lovely meal prepared at Finca La Anita, we hopped on a bus and took a two hour ride to Liberia, a small commercial town. We were given 15 minutes to shop our little hearts out, and that we did. Once we loaded back up, we resumed our journey to our new home at the Horizontes Research Station. After our lunch we played a big game of soccer against the staff and took some time to rest up from our journey. When we finished with dinner we enjoyed a little bonding time before bussing out to the beach to search for turtles by moonlight. Although we didn’t see any, we did see a lot of crabs and even got to see the effects of bioluminescent bacteria in the water. We look forward to heading back to the beach tomorrow, but for now we’re off to get a good night’s sleep.

Jada Dawson & Emma Reeve

Day 8

Yesterday, on day eight of our adventure, most groups collected the last bit of data for thier experiments and spentthe next two hours putting thier presentations together. We presented at noon to the Finca La Anita community, and all ofour presentations proved to be successful. After a lunch of chicken and rice we spent our afternoon at a hot spring. As soon as we got back a huge storm hit and knocked the power out (which is why our blog is delayed.) Everyone is sad we have to leave, but we’re looking forward to the beach and dry forest.


Día de Ciencias

Hola from Costa Rica! Today was jam packed full of science. Everyone was focused on making progress on their experiments, and despite whether or not the experiment was a success, the experiments were carried out to the fullest. At lunch today, we also had the first taste of American food since we left, hamburgers! After lunch, it was back to work as we continued learning from how to fill out a lab notebook to preparing a real life lab report. Luckily no one was bitten/stung by a bullet ant as their sting is as painful as a gunshot wound and today they had a nuptial flight. As we are still here continuing to work on our experiments, we are still hanging out together, listening to music, and getting more work done. Tomorrow is our last day on the ranch, so everyone is trying to make the most of it!


First real day of science, full of field work, and on our own. After lunch went to the village to help out with a community service job; half of us weeded the garden with the village people while the rest shoveled a pile of dirt and wheeled it to a new location away from the construction zone where a -soon to be errected- gift shop will go. After, the boys and girls engaged in a heated soccer game, with costa rican boys helping both teams. The match concluded in a draw, even though the girls think it ended in a win for them (If you ask me, they cheated). Following the grudge match, we all took a short walk to a nice little secluded home, where a well known local carribean cook fixed us up an extravagent dinner. Plates upon plates of salad and rice and beans and delicious carribean chicken filled our stomachs up to the brim, and the crispy honey glazed tortillas for dessert had many of us falling into a food induced coma. After dinner some of us ate the locally grown chili peppers, with a few people consuming as much as 3 whole peppers. Needless to say, faces were glowing red and beads of sweat ran down our faces. A calm walk back to our cabins let the food settle, and now many campers have fallen asleep early as a result of the exhausting day. Now as the day comes to a close, so too does this blog post. Goodnight, and happy fathers day!

Daniel Zaiss and Jamison Spohn



Pablo, the owner of Finca, took us ziplining!  We hiked up into the canopy then took 11 zip lines down. For the last 4, we did it upside down, so we were only hanging by our hips. We got Jamison to scream like Tarzan and his cattle. 

Earlier today our science groups presented our experiment setups to each other, Adrian, and pablo. We got a LOT of feedback and it helped us make our experiments better. Some groups did their experiments on trying to find a physical barrier or a type of spray repellent to move or repel the ants. Also one groupwent at it in a different way by attacking the fungus garden and killing the ants that way.


Kaeli: Hola Daddy! Hola Momma! Jack, I love you darling! I miss you babycakes. Miss you SO MUCH.

Dejah: que pasa mi familia I miss you guys so much. Mostly my siblings and my nephew kehi. I miss you mommy, and I miss my babe isaac too.. 

Courtney: ayyye everyone.  I’m not sure who’s reading this but you’re nice because you’re reading this. Huge thank you to my parents; this experience is amazing! 

By the way,  we didn’t feel the earthquake that happened earlier today.

I like my coffee black! No milk, no sugar, no CUTTLEFISH!

-Cabin 7


Rainforest adventures day 4

Today we had a hearty breakfast with our cabin mates before heading to our science session. There we cultured fungus, began designing our ant experiments and each got a queen ant of our choice. Next we went on a 3 hour excursion through the forest, where we hiked through the hills and swam in a waterhole. Once we returned, the majority of our group ventured to the village for locally made ice cream and a soccer game with the villagers. Although it downpoured throughout the duration of the game, it still was a great bonding experience. Before our dinner, we took a night hike through the sheets of rain and we were able to see snakes, ants and a giant termite nest. We also played a rousing game of Mafia with our entire group, and continued to get to know each other. Afterwards we had a lovely steak dinner complete with tres leches. Stay tuned for more of our excursion to Central America!
-Jada Dawson, Emma Reeve, Ashley Ritten

Dia Tres en Costa Rica

The day started with sunny skies and a wonderfully prepared organic breakfast accompanied by rice and beans. After breakfast we met with Adrian Pinto and learned the correct way to remove fungus from the colony. Thirty minutes later we were in the field collecting our own colonies, we collected five colonies each with their own queen. Anna, Corbin, Jada, Nick, and Daniel all became “Ant Men/ Women” for extracting a colony with the queen. Next to the honeymoon suite we were led to a large colony containing about two million worker ants. The queen can live up to twenty years producing up to two hundred million offspring. After lunch we were going to go on a horse back ride up the mountain but was delayed by 2 in. of rain in a timespan of 45 minutes. We then rode the horse up a trail to the destination of a new research lab. All the horses were tamed and well-mannered considering Pablo cleared the trail with a machete as we rode. We then returned and the majority of us went to go play soccer with the local villagers. When we arrived we tried two new foods: the waterapple, and homemade ice cream. We played soccer for an hour and a half with the villagers and had fun trying to communicated with the little Spanish we knew. At the end we all tried to take a picture but only two understood/ wanted to be in it. At around six we concluded our experiments from yesterday and learned about statistics behind understanding if your results are conclusive. We also transferred the fungus gardens from earlier into larger containers suitable for the continuation of their growth. After we ate dinner and topped it off with a dessert called flan, we watched another video about the bacteria on leaf cutter ants. This was the start of our busy week of ant research, and we look forward to more delicious meals.

Sarah, Anna, Corbin 

Awesome Costa Rica Trip Day II

Awoken by the soft pitter-patter of rain on the rooftop, we quickly realized that we were running late for desyuno and sprinted down to the mess hall, just another day at the office, or in this case, Costa Rica. After enjoying a delicious breakfast from our hosts, we trekked out into the Costa Rican jungle on a tour of the ranch. After viewing the magnificent property and having a close encounter with our specimens, the Atta Cepholates, we returned to the mess hall for another delicious meal. During free time, we took a relaxing dip in the jungle river. Not long after, the group took a walk down to the village where we met some of the amiable Costa Rican locals and visited the shopping mall, which is a 5×5 shack with everything you could imagine inside (seriously). Indulging in another delectable meal, we watched a video on real life zombies (ants get attacked by a cerebral targeting fungus). Finally, our day culminated in making new friends with giant, football sized Cane Toads. Having a great time in Costa Rica, see you all soon! Keep it real Westonka!

Nick Battis and Matt Dufault #TheStuds