Contribution starting at $1,895
Exported from Streamline App (https://app.streamlineicons.com)
7+ days (avg. $271 a day) Includes accommodations, food, and all related research costs
Wildlife & Ecosystems

Conserving Wild Bees and Other Pollinators of Costa Rica

Location
San Luis de Monteverde and Las Cruces in Coto Brus, Costa Rica Map it
Lead Scientist
Activity Level
Moderate
Accommodations
Single Rooms possible
Couples Rooms possible
Research Station
Food
Chef-prepared meals
A butterfly pollinates a flower
An Earthwatch volunteer collects a plant sample (C) Dana Salomon
Earthwatch volunteers measure sample plots (C) Dana Salomon
Teen Earthwatch volunteers head to a research site
Pollinators on a flower (C) Ben Caraballo
Earthwatch volunteers collect data (C) Blanca Gonzalez
A volunteer plants seedlings (C) Dana Salomon
A butterfly pollinates a flower
An Earthwatch volunteer collects a plant sample (C) Dana Salomon
Earthwatch volunteers measure sample plots (C) Dana Salomon
Teen Earthwatch volunteers head to a research site
Pollinators on a flower (C) Ben Caraballo
Earthwatch volunteers collect data (C) Blanca Gonzalez
A volunteer plants seedlings (C) Dana Salomon

Costa Rica is home to over 400 species of native wild bees and about 50 species of hummingbirds. But habitat loss, pesticide use, and climate change threaten the health and survival of pollinators around the world. How can we better protect these important species?


Earthwatch volunteers observe plant species

More than three-quarters of the world’s crops depend on pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. These animals provide essential ecosystem services and play a crucial role in the production of many fruits and vegetables. But a changing climate, pesticide use, and habitat loss or degradation threaten pollinator communities, although the full impact of these threats is not well understood. For example, warming temperatures could force pollinator species to shift their ranges to higher elevations, which could impact agricultural production, or it could be that a changing climate will cause these species to disappear altogether.

One way to mitigate the effects of climate change is by planting “agroforests”—or forests that grow in pastures around or among crops—that could benefit pollinator communities. As part of this expedition, you will work with local communities to plant trees to create agroforests, which could not only help pollinator communities, but could provide livelihoods for low-income families in the region.

From the rugged tropical wet forest of Las Cruces in Coto Brus to a mountainous region in the south of Costa Rica called Coto Brus, you will join the research team to investigate how threats to bees and butterflies will affect the critical pollination services they provide.

 

A Typical Itinerary

  • Day 1: Arrival, introductions, travel to field station
  • Days 2-4: Collecting, surveying, and observing pollinators
  • Days 5-6: Planting shrubs and trees in agroforests
  • Day 7: Team departs (volunteers on second week arrive, itinerary repeats)

                     You have the option to join the expedition for two weeks.

HOW YOU WILL HELP

When you arrive, the researchers will provide you with information on working with pollinator species. Depending on your team’s location, field work includes the following tasks:
Collect and observe bees
Collect and observe bees

Hike up the mountain to set out bee traps (small bowls filled with soapy water that attract the bees). You will then return to the sites to collect the pollinators to be sorted and observed back in the lab.

Volunteers work in a tree nursery (C) Dana Salomon
Plant trees

Create a tree nursery. Plant trees in pastures to begin the process of reforestation.

Observe and count pollinator visits (C) Blanca Gonzalez
Plant squash or pumpkin plants

Observe and count pollinator visits to these and nearby plants at the different stations where they are set up.

Field conditions and research needs can lead to changes in the itinerary and activities. We appreciate your cooperation and understanding.

FEEDBACK & QUESTIONS

6 Reviews on this Expedition

If you have been on this expedition, others considering attending would love to hear about your experience.
Nerys Nicholls | April 7, 2019
Before I arrived in Monteverde, I had no idea that bees didn't just come in black and yellow stripes. Since I left the team, I now know so much more about our winged friends and can't walk past a bush without taking a look at the visitors within its foliage. Valerie and Chelsea were great team leaders, providing practical know-how for us to take on the research tasks and also delivering engaging and interesting theories behind the project and the relevant science. The campus setting was stunning, with great accommodation and facilities.
Rebecca Turner | January 21, 2019
This trip allowed me to support basic research and interact with Costa Rican farmers in a spectacular area. Every day brought another unbelievable view. I was able to experience the cloud forest at Monteverde on a day off, and it was thrilling to see all the birds with the help of Oscar, the super-naturalist!
Cynthia Moulton | December 9, 2018
Valerie and her team were exceptional - I learned so much. The research was really well organized, it was in a truly beautiful setting and I loved that we had educational activities about the local region as well. There was just enough rigor and relaxation time!

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