Quick Contact

Ronald Porter
Acting Director of Service-Learning

Eckerd College
Office of Service-Learning
4200 54th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33711


toll-free: 800-456-9009
local: 727-864-7512


Service Learning

Costa Rica: Spring Break 11

Costa Rica

View photos from Costa Rica

Pura Vida: visitors to the beautiful coasts and mountains of Costa Rica quickly understand this phrase, the national slogan, lifestyle and culture. With its great surf destinations, exotic opportunities for eco-tourism and famously friendly people, Costa Rica offers a whole new world to visitors who've been trapped in cubicles or classrooms, bound by time constraints and distracted by social media. But it takes more than credit cards and passports to exchange your alarm clock for the calls of howler monkeys at dawn; it takes a desire to be immersed in a strange culture, to take risks. For a dozen Eckerd students and their staff advisor, the wish to be a part of the experience in Costa Rica meant they would not only explore the natural beauty but would take part in preserving it.

Starting in San Jose, the group made their way across the countryside to the Nicoya Peninsula to the small town of Cabuya, the home of the Rainsong Wildlife Sanctuary. For the next few days, the group of volunteers helped clean animal cages, prepared animals' meals, helped clear brush for future habitats, helped move large amounts of dirt to combat erosion, and learned about some of the wildlife and wildlife protection issues in Costa Rica. While there are many national parks and preserves in Costa Rica, the animals' natural habitats suffer encroachment from growing populations and development. One of the most common dangers to animals in Costa Rica is un-insulated power lines. The student volunteers observed several howler monkeys that had been injured by un-insulated power lines; then offered their assistance by signing petitions, sponsored by Rainsong, calling on the government to complete a project to reduce the hazards to wildlife. Each night, the students reflected on their service work and impressions of the organization they were assisting. By the end of the week, the volunteer group had learned about various issues facing the Costa Rican wildlife as well as some difficulties of running a wildlife sanctuary.

View photos from Costa Rica

Reflective Service-Learning Portfolio

Triton Track

Calls for Participation

Academy Prep

Volunteer with Academy Prep

Academy Prep is a unique private middle school program serving 5th through 8th grade students in a low-income area. Students must qualify for need-based scholarships to attend and must have a desire to succeed in a rigorous academic environment. Academy Prep works with students to prepare them for higher education, maintaining relationships with graduates through high school, college, and into their adult lives.

YMCA Reads

Volunteer Mentors Needed

YMCA Reads! is an after-school reading assistance and mentoring program providing opportunities for at-risk and low-income children in kindergarten through third grade to develop the reading skills they need to succeed in school.

Notes from the Field

Servant Leaders blog
Service-Learning Interns blog
The service-learning student interns are increasing service involvement at Eckerd, becoming successful service leaders and helping students create a community around the values and challenges of servant-leadership.

Service Learning Profiles

Alumni Profiles

Read individual profiles of how involvement with Eckerd Service-Learning changed the lives of current students and alumni.  Learn more.