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Students and faculty from Virginia Tech and Purdue University travel to Costa Rica

April 18, 2013 – Assistant professor Henry Quesada from Virginia Tech and associate professor Eva Haviarova from Purdue University joined efforts to organize a student field trip to Costa Rica and to collaborate with the Costa Rican Forestry Office in delivering educational activities during the Spring break. 


Students study abroad Costa Rica (2013) Students listen to biologists Jose Rojas and Oliver Castro from Costa Rica Tech during their lecture on the importance of tropical forest

Students from both institutions signed for the course Global Issues in Sustainability. This 3 credit-hour class has as a goal to study issues impacting the sustainability of natural resources such as the forest, water, and wild life in a global context. The course includes a one-week field trip to Costa Rica where students participate in a series of experiential learning activities to understand and gain knowledge on how private businesses, government institutions and local universities work together to promote and educate current and future generations in the sustainable use of natural resources. In this opportunity, nine students from Virginia Tech and five from Purdue University signed up for the class. The itinerary included visits to Costa Rica Tech where students had lectures and experienced first-hand a variety of ecofriendly projects such as crocodile and butterfly farming, impact of tropical forests on climate change, and best practices for wild life management. Students also learned from practitioners about waste management during their visit to Ecotermales, a hot-spring water resort, that manages 100% of its waste (solid and liquid). During the last three days of the field trip, students were exposed to the use of wood as a renewable material and how a large corporation working under forest stewardship council (FSC) certification develop and manage plantations, process plantation timbers, and export finished-wood products to green markets in western Europe. Other activities included visits to: a turtle hatchery, zip-lining, volcanoes, hydro- and wind-power energy projects, and a wild-life refugee.


VT students show their Hokie spirit at Irazu Volcano, Costa Rica. VT students show their Hokie spirit at Irazu Volcano.

During the second week, professors Haviarova and Quesada participated in various educational activities in cooperation with the Costa Rican Forestry Office and Costa Rica Tech. In March 19, Dr. Quesada delivered an 8-hour workshop in cost allocation for furniture makers in Sarchi, a region where more than 600 small-furniture shops produce high-quality furniture for the local and export market. On March 22, Drs. Haviarova and Quesada along with Dr. Rado Gazo, also a faculty at Purdue University, delivered a seminar entitled Sustainability and Wood in celebration of the International Day of Forests where more than 75 people attended. Dr. Quesada also delivered a graduate seminar on principles of life cycle analysis (LCA) in March 21 to students of the Modern Manufacturing Systems master program at Costa Rica Tech.


Sustainability and Wood Seminar Participants listen to speakers from Virginia Tech and Purdue University during the celebration of the International Day of Forests in San Jose, Costa Rica.

Should you have any questions or comments, please contact Dr. Quesada at



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