Written by Andrea Cass (Northeastern University), Internship in Environmental Education.
For my internship, I worked on crafting three main projects as an environmental educator at Bosque Eterno de los Niños (BEN). The Monteverde Conservation League is a non-profit organization that manages Costa Rica's largest private reserve: Bosque Eterno de los Niños. Founded by a group of school children that wished to conserve the rainforest, environmental education serves as one of the focal activities to achieve their mission.
I knew I wanted to participate in this internship when my mind started buzzing with ideas. In the past, I gained experience working with kids at a summer camp. However, I wanted to apply those skills in a professional setting. If you asked me what I would be doing at the beginning of my internship, I would have said something very different than now. I learned how to be flexible, work under time constraints, and be self-driven.
My first project stemmed from my initial excitement for the internship. I came up with the idea for a “compost kitchen.” I wrote a bilingual “recipe” on how to make a successful compost. The recipe became the foundation for designing a play-pretend kitchen. With the help of José, I learned how to use power tools to turn a sketch into something tangible. From sanding to gluing to hammering to painting to printing, the exhibit came to life. My goal was to engage children through an interactive activity that could then be shared with family members at home.
For my second project, I developed a lesson plan for the 9th and 10th graders from the Monteverde Friends School. I learned how to utilize Bloom’s Taxonomy of Measurable Verbs to formulate learning objectives. I worked with the science teacher, Laura, to find topics that would pair well with her curriculum. We decided to focus on soil horizons and ecological succession.
During the 1.5-hour field trip, students obtained soil samples and examined differences between primary and secondary succession. As we walked along the trail, I pointed out primary/secondary forests and specific species within the BEN. Also, I developed a worksheet to enhance engagement. I enjoyed taking the lead and sharing my enthusiasm for the environment!
Finally, my last project was spontaneous and oriented within video production. During the first week, I went to the Monteverde Friends School to film a video inviting Greta Thunberg to Monteverde. The week before, the students had led the largest climate strike on that day in Costa Rica. The video now has close to 1.5k views
While I thought that would be the end of that project, two weeks later, filmmakers from Colorado reached out to ask if I wanted to contribute to a documentary about Monteverde. I was humbled. My internship became bigger than itself. We brainstormed interview questions, focusing on illuminating themes around the environment, climate change, language, peace, and Quakerism.
I returned to the school to film for a few days. The documentary is set to be released in late 2019. Here is a link to the trailer