Thank you to all the incredible students and staff of the Verto Education Costa Rica program who helped us plant 1,500 trees on December 6 to reforest the Pacuare River Basin. We are very grateful to the Costa Rican electrical company ICE for donating the native species trees.
The project is the second reforestation by the U.S. organization Verto Education, which offers first-year university students study abroad programs. In Costa Rica, the students were based at CATIE (Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center) in Turrialba.
“Tree planting was genuinely the most rewarding experience I’ve had here in Costa Rica. To know I’ve contributed to something so amazing to our Earth is heartwarming. To see everyone scattered across the field, laughing, planting, and enjoying themselves filled me with an overwhelming feeling of love and gratitude,” commented one student.
In 2022, Verto Education environmental history professor Dylan Stiegemeier initiated and led the first reforestation project on November 11 with 142 Verto students and faculty. He had been inspired by an overnight rafting trip on the Pacuare River in 2021 and wanted to create an environmental education activity for the students to give back to where they were studying. In that first event, the group planted 1,000 trees to reclaim pastureland at the Terciopelo Farm in Bajos del Tigre.
The tradition continued this year at the San Martin Farm in Tres Equis, where the 1,500 native species of trees will renew the habitat for endangered wildlife, generate oxygen, and offset the carbon footprint of the students’ travel to Costa Rica.
“This event impacted me by wanting to continue to do services like these everywhere I visit, even in my hometown … to advocate and promote sustainable methods and spread awareness of their importance. I’m grateful to have been a part of helping the environment and its endangered species. This is what traveling is about, having an impact,” said another student.
The day would not have succeeded without our magnificent RAFA team volunteers from the Barbilla-Destierro Biological Subcorridor Committee, the JACANA youth organization, and Emergency Care Costa Rica.
“I’ve realized how much of an impact a large group of people truly have when they work hard together for something they care about,” summed up a Verto student.
Together, we are planting hope for our future!