summer session II

Costa Rica

Environmental Justice from the Ground Up

Costa Rica Map Summer II


This academically rigorous program follows a five-day/week schedule. Most weekends are open to explore Costa Rica or relax at the Center. The interdisciplinary curriculum is designed to help students actively discover and understand the complexities of environmental, social, and economic issues in Costa Rica.

Major academic themes include:

  • Climate change and tropical ecosystems
  • Agroforestry
  • Sustainable ecotourism
  • Food security, seed sovereignty, and women´s entrepreneurship in agriculture
  • Water access rights; water management and protection
  • Biodiversity analysis
  • Ecological Resilience


On the Environmental Justice from the Ground Up program, you will take one 4-credit course. This course is participatory in nature and is designed to foster inquiry and active learning combining lectures, field exercises, assignments, and tests. This course is taught in English.

Check back soon to view a course description and download the syllabus

SFS 3232 Environmental Justice from the Ground Up 4 Credits

Core Skills

You will gain practical skills in the field such as: identification of organisms (including birds and frogs), biodiversity evaluation, conducting social surveys (including household interviews, focus group discussions, and key informant interviews), data synthesis, data analysis and interpretation, scientific writing, and tourism impact assessment methods.

Field Sites

You will visit different ecosystems and communities which may include lowland tropical rainforest, tropical cloud forests in Monteverde, communities surrounding national parks, agroecosystems, and organic farms.

A summer with SFS!

Take back-to-back summer sessions and get the hands-on learning and skill-building experiences of an internship, while also going off the beaten path and exploring the world. Each summer session focuses on a different topic, and you’ll have time to travel independently between sessions. Receive a $1,000 discount on your second session (effective for Summer 2020).

Biodiversity and Sustainable Food Systems (Costa Rica Session I)

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All program components are subject to change.

Where You'll Be Living

The Center is an active organic farm overlooking the vibrant Central Valley, where green is the predominant color as far as the eye can see. Dorms and classrooms intermingle with orchards and gardens, while Center dog Hera keeps watch over it all. The friendly town of Atenas is a 10-minute cab ride away, offering restaurants, shops, parks, and cultural events.

  • Dorm living with 4-person bunkrooms
  • Classroom, library, computer lab, and laundry room
  • Open-air porch with hammocks and chairs
  • Dining hall with scenic valley views, and on-site cooking staff
  • Swimming pool, soccer field, basketball court, and pizza oven
  • Outdoor classroom and hiking trails