The town of Santa Teresa is a small yet bustling tourist town full of sun, surf, and scenic beauty. In spite of its beauty, the quality of life there is challenged by a lack of municipal involvement in recycling and water quality issues. In continuation of the Directed Research on waste management that previous SFS students have conducted with the guidance of Professor Mary Little, a group of students surveyed residents and local businesses for information on topics related to waste management and composting.

Residents of Santa Teresa were surveyed to gauge involvement in the monthly recycling program in the town started by the Waterkeepers, and what could be done to increase their involvement or improve the efficiency of the program itself. Businesses were surveyed to see how willing restaurants would be to participate in a composting program, while residents were also surveyed for compost practices or knowledge of it. Restaurants were surveyed for information on how willing they would be to incorporate biodegradable “take-out” containers, or use as few disposable products as possible.

The students allied with the Nicoya Peninsula Waterkeepers, an organization that is pivotal to recycling and other sustainable practices in Santa Teresa. With a need to inspire initiative and involvement in recycling in the community, the organization members meet the challenge with enthusiasm and inspiring dedication. Our experience in Santa Teresa inspired many of us; some even asked about work and further research opportunities with the Nicoya Peninsula Waterkeepers. We met an incredibly diverse array of people who all brought something different to the community. Despite the differences and the challenges Santa Teresa is faced with as it continues to grow, great potential exists in bringing the community together to make the city cleaner and the water clearer.

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