806 McCulloch Street, Suite 102 Raleigh, NC 27603 United States
Costa Rica: Quepos, San Jose; Panama: Bocas del Toro
Typical Duration of Program
June 28 - July 18 and July 22 - August 11
Don’t feed the monkeys. Do, however, feed your need to learn all about monkeys and how to help protect them from extinction. Hurry, the rainforest beckons.
98% primate field research. 2% Curious George. This adventure mixes serious primatology study with plenty of laughs and monkey bonding. Raft down the thrilling Rio Pacuare in Costa Rica, flanked by stunning and lush lowland tropical rainforests. Track and study white-faced capuchins, mantled howler monkeys and the threatened black-handed spider monkeys in their natural habitats. Snorkel by day in what’s considered the Galapagos of Panama. Then, head out on a nighttime quest to spot the elusive owl monkey. Finally, help sick, injured or young monkeys get well at an animal rehabilitation center.
A two-day rafting trip down Costa Rica's thrilling Rio Pacuare gives our group a chance to get to know each other. Our adventure takes us through stunning canyons and lush lowland tropical rainforest, giving us our first glimpses of the monkeys and ecosystems we've come to study and help protect, as well as ocelots, sloths and an astounding variety of birds.
El Zota Biological Field Station in northeast Costa Rica is the perfect place to embark on our study of the rainforest and its primate inhabitants. The 2,500 acre reserve is home to white-faced capuchins, mantled howler monkeys and threatened black-handed spider monkeys that share their habitat with peccaries, armadillos, otters, parrots, toucans and poison dart frogs. We begin with discussions on rainforest ecology and primate natural history, biology and behavior. Learn field research techniques, then head out with naturalist guides to observe spider monkeys as they clamber through the canopy or listen to the guttural howls of howler monkeys defending their turf. Explore a variety of habitats including lowland rainforest, lowland swamp forest, reforested areas, a small river and several freshwater lagoons. After completing your daily monkey observation logs, take a break to play soccer with the villagers or paddle a canoe on one of the field station's small lakes.
A short flight takes us to the tropical Isla Colon in Panama's Caribbean archipelago. Before resuming our studies and field work, we explore the nearby Zapatilla Keys on an overnight sailing adventure. Visit Dolphin Bay where bottlenose dolphins play in the crystal clear water, then head out to the Bastimentos National Marine Park for an afternoon of snorkeling and beach exploration. Returning to Isla Colon, we settle into our beachfront cabins at the Institute for Tropical Ecology and Conservation. With beautiful white Caribbean beaches on one side, mangroves on the other, and a lush tropical rainforest in between, Isla Colon is one of the most breathtaking islands in Central America. Here we examine threats to Central America's primates. Habitat destruction and fragmentation, development, domestication and poaching all contribute to the decline of healthy monkey populations in the region. We focus our discussions around ongoing efforts and potential strategies to counter and alleviate these impacts. As our academic understanding of these amazing creatures progresses, we expand our field studies... Search for monkeys and sloths on a mangrove boat tour, and look for the world's only nocturnal monkeys on night hikes in the rainforest.
Travel to Manuel Antonio National Park on Costa Rica's Pacific coast to observe the only New World monkey found in Costa Rica that we have yet to encounter, the squirrel monkey. Working alongside local educational and conservation organizations in one of the most beautiful and biodiverse areas in the world, we put our newfound expertise and experience to use... Help sustain the resident monkey population by assisting with reforestation projects and habitat renewal or surveying monkey bridges built to protect monkeys from encroaching roads and power lines. Help care for sick, injured or young monkeys, sloths and other animals at the animal rehabilitation center. Design and distribute educational materials about monkey and rainforest conservation to park visitors. As the trip comes to an end, we reflect on the fact that man holds the future of so many species in his hands. We are simultaneously their biggest enemy and the key to their survival. You leave amazed at the knowledge you've gained, the friendships made, the experiences shared and the small but meaningful impact you've made together to protect New World monkeys and their habitats for the future.
* Hands-on Studies of Primate and Rainforest Ecology
* Field Research in Costa Rica and Panama
* Reforestation, Habitat Conservation and Rehabilitation Projects
* Whitewater Rafting, Overnight Sailing Adventure, Hiking
* High School/College Credit; 25+ Hours Community Service
* Prerequisite: No Experience Necessary
Participants are high school students completing grades 9-12.
Call for details
Independently or in Groups
in Groups of 10-12
Applications for next summer are due May 1. Scholarship awards will be made May 15th.