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The Gap Year Blog

Project Blogs - Costa Rica


Mental health. It’s becoming an increasing prevalent problem, with over 300 million people worldwide suffering from depression alone according to the World Health Organisation. And unfortunately, it’s often tough to combat. Although its stigma has weakened in recent years (and for good reason), there aren’t really any definitive cures, and with some UK patients waiting up to 13 years for required NHS treatment as shown by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, it can sometimes be up to ourselves to find something, however small, that helps.

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Last week I had the most amazing experience; I was on my way back from leading an amphibian and reptile survey at night with some volunteers when we saw some eyeshine on the airstrip.

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Coming to Costa Rica to volunteer with Frontier is a huge commitment, so it’s pretty understandable that you’ll probably want to know every little detail about it. Don’t get me wrong, the field brief you’ll receive prior to your departure is pretty exhaustive. But it could never have the answer to everything. It’s not your mum.

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Here in Costa Rica the majority of our day is spent on wildlife and conservation surveys. But it’s not all reptile ranking, puma pursuing or turtle tracking. Here are a few ways we like to keep ourselves busy when there’s a moment to spare…

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Once arriving at the festival, the first thing I stumble upon was some rather interesting talks of what was happening in the community and the different projects that were running. After a very sparse audience materialised it was decided that the talks should be moved closer to the other festivities prompting a migration down the trail.

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Hiya, I’m Lila, I’m here for 3 months and I am hoping to do a project on the crocodiles and caimans in the lagoon. The lagoon is only 5 minutes from the camp and connects to the sea during the wet season. I’m here in the dry season but I am still hoping to look at the abundance of crocodiles and caimans in the lagoon.

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I’m going to come clean - I don’t really have a clue about nature. Or science. Or travel. Or anything you’d likely associate with Frontier’s work in Costa Rica.

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It’s been another busy week at camp Osita. The schedule included usual turtle patrols and surveys as well as some trailblazing to see if we can extend some of our current trails we use for surveys. However, this week was particularly eventful as I celebrated my 19th birthday ...jungle style!

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It has been all out this week on the bird front. Every week we conduct at least 2-morning bird surveys where we listen to the calls of birds and hopefully identify some of our four key study species. After being here for 4 months, I have seen most of our study species and this week I finally saw the black-cheeked ant tanager!

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On the first morning here, I was on a habitat survey by Laguna Vista. We were lucky enough to have a lot of bird activity, including one of the subject birds (Cherrie’s Tanager) as well as the Yellow-crowned Night Heron, several Boat-billed Herons and a Bare-throated Tiger Heron.

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