Blog from the Terrascope Mission 2015 trip to Costa Rica

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Terrascope Student on Bridge in Costa RicaThis blog records the experiences of Terrascope students during their spring break field trip to Costa Rica. This year’s trip has been developed in partnership with the Earthwatch Institute, who specialize in field-based scientific learning programs. During our week away from MIT, we will visit La Selva, a biological reserve in Costa Rica’s lowlands, where we’ll work in the field with a team of scientists whose research focuses on the diversity of caterpillars in hopes of better understanding their impact on the rain forest’s ecosystem. In addition to fieldwork, we’ll be exploring Costa Rica’s tourism, agriculture, and energy production sectors.

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Terrascope is a learning program for MIT freshman that begins each year with a subject devoted to understanding and proposing a solution to a complex problem (12.000 or Mission 20XX).This year in Mission 2015 freshmen were tasked with designing a plan to significantly reduce the rate at which global biodiversity is decreasing. Students researched the problem throughout the semester and presented a comprehensive solution in the form of a website and defended their plan during a public presentation, which was followed by interrogation by a panel of experts. The field excursion to Costa Rica enables students to extend their learning in Mission by gaining first hand experience in a diverse ecoystem facing many of the issues they identified during the semester as critical to biodiversity conservation.