Internship in Rural Community-Based Tourism (ADISL)

Authored by:
Vanessa Correa

Vanessa Correa

Written by Sarah Seeman (Pacific Lutheran University), Internship in Sustainability and the Environment.


The focus of my internship was to help develop the user experience of the newly opened Estacion de Campo for visitors. This field station is near the emerging Sendero Pacifico, so visitors might include hikers, students or rural tourists. The organization who built La Estacion de Campo and who are working on the Sendero Pacifico as well as the San Luis Development Association (ADISL).

Estación de campo San Luis

This community ran an organization’s goals are to support rural tourism since it drives the economy in San Luis. Therefore, my internship was ultimately to aid rural tourism. Specific tasks included creating an inventory of what exists at the station, and developing a plan for necessary signs that should be created, collecting and organizing information on looking attractions to make visitors’ experience easier. The organization required these responsibilities. Finally, the last goal, which I purposed, was to replant a native flower garden at the front of the station to attract birds and insects to support the ecosystem and bring an aesthetic appeal for visitors.

Working hard!

I chose this internship primarily because I am an avid hiker, runner, and love being near trails. The area surrounding the station is incredibly beautiful and I wanted to work there as much as possible. I was not as interested in the design of indicator signs, but I now have the knowledge and skills to create them. In terms of my professional goals, I hope to be a mountain guide so I wanted to relate collecting material on attractions to that. Hence, I developed a map of the locations of hot spots and their information and mapped some local runs and trails. I learned to use MyMaps through Google Maps. The final map product is one of my proudest accomplishments of this internship.

I have always been interested in gardening, to create more green spaces and sustainable food production. Before my internship, I had a little experience working in gardens but had never created one. I originally wanted to create a vegetable garden at the station; however, I am here during the rainy season, which is not a time to plant vegetables. Instead of vegetables, I decided to create a native plant garden. At this point, only two weeks were left in my internship for this project, so I worked on a small piece of land. I planted many native flowers including light Sage, White lantana, Stachytarpheta, Hamelia, and more. This garden is my other main accomplishment, I left my mark on San Luis and cannot wait for people to send me pictures of my thriving garden. While it is small now, in a few months it will be blooming and busy with hummingbirds and butterflies. I hope the San Luis organization takes my records of plant information and creates signs to put in the garden. I learned so much about plant identification and the entire process of creating a garden. I cannot wait to take these skills home to my university and to help my mom in her garden.

Garden in progress

I worked with my supervisor Orlando Calvo and another student, Morgan Oliva on some projects, including the signs and map of San Luis.

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