For most students, spring break is a time to kick back, chill, and hang with friends or catch up on Netflix. For others, flying to a foreign country and helping protect the nesting habitat of endangered turtles is more their speed. It was a true pleasure to spend a week with such hearts and minds in Parismina, Costa Rica. Students arrived with a mix of excitement, curiosity, and anxiety. Students left knowing their perspectives of the environment, of other cultures, and of themselves were forever changed.
There will always be a selfish element to the night patrols – seeing a turtle would be such a great experience. But the actual reward in walking in the dark in heavy sand for hours on three nights was knowing that our presence might help keep the beach safe for the turtles to come and nest, thus giving the species a chance to increase in number. It’s a strange thing to work for something that isn’t entirely tangible, but we learned that often success isn’t measurable. It’s a feeling – satisfaction and fulfillment in the effort.