In a collaboration with the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, the San Vito Bird Club (SVBC) began sponsoring the Lab’s innovative education program, ‘Detectives de Aves’, in local Coto Brus county schools. The 10-session class program and Field Trip to the Organization for Tropical Studies’ Wilson Botanical Garden is engaging over 500 students in 16 schools. Unique from local standards, the course employs ornithology and biology, of course, but also art, mathematics, sociology, creative thinking, role-playing, outdoor physical activity, and imagination. The overarching goals are to build science skills and inspire students to appreciate and understand local habitats, explore biodiversity and engage in citizen science by using the Cornell Lab’s extensive database eBird.
Naturalist guide, birder and tour leader Eugenio Garcia works as the Club’s current headteacher. In May 2016, he visited the Cornell Lab, participated in an educational workshop and presented a powerpoint of the work in San Vito. Tireless and charismatic, he taught the program in eight schools during the academic year 2016 with classroom assistance from club member volunteers. Additionally, he worked to train other interested teachers who might lead classes in 2017.
In 2016, volunteers acted as classroom assistants training students to properly care for and use binoculars, familiarizing them with field guides of local birds and generally supporting teachers with experiential learning sessions. Through an agreement with the non-profit organization, Costa Rican Bird Observatories (CRBO), the SVBC hopes to bring the Detectives de Aves program to schools in the Selva Madre area in another part of Costa Rica and beyond.