School Life


8th Graders Explore Costa Rica

Posted On: 4/20/2017 3:10 PM

Each year, our 8th graders enjoy a culminating trip to inspire lifelong service learning, expand their world view, immerse themselves in the Spanish language, and further bond with their peers and teachers as they complete their journey at MPFS. This year, students traveled to Costa Rica with T. Karen and T. Lisa for nine adventure-filled days. Below is a sample of the blog students kept daily to track their trip and share what they've learned with their families back home: 

For breakfast we had eggs, bread, rice, and beans. Then we went to the coffee plantation. It was extremely interesting in the way they make coffee and the way they package it. Then we hopped back on to the bus and drove to Poas Volcano. The volcano was amazing as we hiked through very beautiful, lush country. –Jay

We went to a dance class. We learned four types of traditional Costa Rican dances. It was really fun. We are now staying in La Fortuna. Today we went shopping in La Fortuna. We also went kayaking and saw some cool birds, colorful flowers and vegetation.  Here in La Fortuna we are staying in cabins that are small but cozy. The weather has mood swings. First, it's raining, then sunny. All in all, it's very tropical. –Margot

 Today, we went kayaking in a manmade lake. The lake is over top of two abandoned villages, and we were told you could see the remnants of the villages during the dry season, when the tide is low. Though it was hard, it was really fun. Next, we're headed off to the waterfall and hot springs. We are having a lot of fun. –Julia 

We drove about 30 minutes to a waterfall. This waterfall flows from a small river but man is it tall. The name of this waterfall is La Fortuna, which means The Fortune and the name is right. Unlike a usual waterfall which hugs the side of a cliff, this one hugs the cliff side for the first hundred feet and for the next hundred or so goes off falling without support as the cliff goes inward, splashing into a pool. The end of the fall ends about thirty feet from the wall. This waterfall is about 225-250 feet tall. –Aiden 

We also saw howler monkeys on the way to Monteverde. After coming to the hotel we departed to horse ranch for horse riding. The trail was rough and it was very hot. Also, being on a horse did not help. Towards the end of riding the horses we went on a road for a little bit. A car came and the lady leading us told us to go right, then, Jake's horse as well as Jack's horse went into a full sprint to the right. After a moment all the horses at the front were running incredibly fast. After that predicament it went smoothly until the end. I hope we have as much fun tomorrow as we did today. –Casper

Today we went zip lining at Monte Verde Extremo Park. There were 9 different levels/sections of the zip line course, and everyone in the class tried at least some of them. The views were spectacular; on some of the longer zip line sections we flew above the canopy of the forest and got to see the beautiful landscape of Monte Verde. 

After zip lining, we did a service project where we planted tree saplings to symbolize our stewardship of the earth. We all got to either help dig, put the sapling in the hole, or fill the hole with dirt. It felt nice to give back to the earth and know that (hopefully) our trees would grow to be part of the Costa Rican rain forests. After our lunch break at the restaurant, we went on a hike in Santa Elena Reserve Cloud Forest. This cloud forest is a secondary forest because it began 40 years ago. It is still fairly young, but in another 20 years it will be a primary rainforest. We learned that when a tree falls, other plants and vegetation begin to grow there and begin to compete for sunlight. The cloud forest wasn't anything like Pennsylvania.  –Sherisse & Casper 

Our next stop was the Jungle Crocodile Safari where we took a ride on a pontoon boat and saw crocodiles, birds, and other cool animals. One crocodile was missing his mandible from getting into a fight. Some of the birds we saw were the magnificent fragata, the little blue heron, and the black necked stilt, among others. –Jake 

During the second half of the day we went to a jungle gondola that would carry us up and through and the treetops. The Gondola took us thought a humid tropical forest, not to be confused with a rain forest which needs to get at least 165 inches of rain a year for over a 40 years period.  We learned many things about the animals and the ecosystem that depend on one another to survive, including humans. We saw animals such as sloths and wild toucans in their natural habitat. After that, we made our way through a butterfly garden in which we learned about the native butterflies of Costa Rica. –Jack

Today was not as busy as the other days, because we spent most of the day at the beach in Manuel Antonio National Park. We saw lots of wildlife, such as squirrel and white-faced monkeys, three-toed sloths, raccoon, and a deer.  Some people saw a red eyed tree frog, which is the national frog of Costa Rica. The water was quite warm, turquoise colored, and refreshing. The white-faced monkeys tried to steal our food, so did a raccoon, and Lucas helped another man on tour defend against him. We found a wall with thousands of snails, and Natalie got some to come out of their shells. –Tom & Natalie











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