With more than two weeks under our belts here in Monteverde, the girls have had the opportunity to reflect on all they have accomplished, learned, and experienced. Using this knowledge and these opportunities, the Women in STEM have begun their work on Action Plans to improve the CIEE campus and Monteverde in general. Each group of girls will create an Action Plan on a topic of their choosing to detail a process to be implemented in support of environmental sustainability biodiversity. Some of the projects so far focus on increasing education to local children, creating cosmetic products from natural and safe ingredients, and building mushroom sheds to increase campus crops. The girls jumped right in to their work, first outlining goals for their work, then creating supply lists, and even drawing blue prints for their plans!
The WIS split into six different groups and are exploring a variety of topics and concerns.
Our first group of girls (Zora, Elsa, and Ruby) want to support the local bee population on campus. After preliminary research, the learned bees could be an integral part of the cyclical function of the campus farm. They connected our early learning this session to their bee research. If bees are added to the cycle, they could help pollinate the farm while providing honey to be used in kitchen. Ruby said she loved how this was an amazing learning experience that could be continued in future sessions of Women in STEM.
The next group of girls (Lauren, Shiely, Alyssa, Fairy, and Cyri) are working to repurpose previously used space on campus. They are creating a plan to turn an old green house into a mushroom shed. They chose this due to the ease of growth and because Monteverde has ideal environment and temperature to grow mushrooms. Fairy said she is most excited to explore the architectural aspect of this project! As architecture is her favorite component of STEM, she wants to further explore how to utilize the remaining aspects of the greenhouse and continue building on it, while maintaining environmental and sustainable practices.
The third group of girls (Val, Vicky, Ania, Aylin, and Bethany) have a plan to create natural cosmetics. Originally focusing on a deodorant, they switched focus to creating an all natural body scrub. They wanted to create a product beneficial to the body while still not negatively impacting the environment. Val said she wanted to create this because of our visit to the cosmetic farm. She was able to try a coffee scrub and was inspired to create something similar with slightly different ingredients!
Our fourth group of students (Lily, Lucy, Bayan, and Grace) wants to educate trail users by introducing common species on campus to new CIEE students as they explore the campus in future sessions! They included plants, animals, and insects they have learned about in our time here. Lily says she is excited to create something that will benefit future students. They are making something that can further connect people to Monteverde and our campus!
The fifth group (Gosephine, Sadie, Audrey, Kitty) is trying to create an organic pesticide from local, organic, and easily accessible ingredients! They are focusing this pesticide on different types of bananas. Their research shows Costa Rica is one of the top exporters of bananas while also being one of the top users of pesticides. Currently, they are looking into local plants that are natural pesticides like marigolds, mint, and garlic. Gosephine says she is excited to create something that could potentially make a difference in the local environment, especially because of how agricultural runoff stems from the use of pesticides. She is ready to be part of the solution for harmful pesticides!
Our final group (Tinique, Nance, and Kika) are combining multiple types of media for different audiences. They are creating educational baskets for children to teach them about soil microbiomes through activities. They are also making a corresponding infographic to be used by educators or college students to be used to support student learning. Their project aligns with two of the Sustainable Development Goals of quality education and climate change. Tinique says she is excited to create something children will interact with and enjoy while still teaching them. She is hopeful this can be used in classrooms around Monteverde someday!