During their stay at the CIEE Global Institute in Monteverde, Costa Rica, High School Away participants get to engage actively on an optional local research project. The CIEE Academic Director has set up camera traps throughout forest trails on campus with the main purpose of surveying the local wildlife. The use of this technology has allowed researchers around the world to “spy” on mammals and other animals. This information is used to learn more about many of these secretive animals and to then make important conservation decisions.
The participants of the High School Away program get to help in this project by learning to identify tropical mammals and build a database. This soon-to-be online database will inform the CIEE staff, future campus visitors, and international researchers on many aspects of mammal presence and movement within the region. This information will be a pilar on which to build valuable research on many mammals of which little data has been gathered locally.
By getting involved in this project the participants learn about mammal ecology and natural history, and tropical conservation from experts in the field. They also get to develop important skills like data entry and management, and data analysis. These skills are invaluable in many professional settings, not only in STEM careers.