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Ronald Porter
Acting Director of Service Learning

Eckerd College
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Service Learning

Service Learning

Puerto Rico: Spring Break 09

Puerto Rico

From March 14-23, 2009, 13 Eckerd students traveled to Patillas, Puerto Rico to work with Tropic Ventures at Las Casas de la Selva, a 1000 acre rainforest preserve and research site for sustainable forestry. The week began with digging irrigation ditches to slow erosion in the mountain and the group worked in the pouring rain. One day was spent carrying hundreds of rocks from a river at the bottom of the mountain all the way up to prevent the ditches from filling in with dirt. Later in the week, the group constructed a greenhouse for Las Casas de la Selva. Several members of our group went into an overgrown area of the forest to cut down dead shrubbery to give the greenhouse nursery some light and space. Another afternoon, the group was able to work with a herpetologist to track the species of lizards living in different areas of the forest. We were able to learn about the different species and the differences between the genders.

We spent most of our time working hard and getting exceptionally dirty, but we still made time to play music, have s'mores over a fire, take local dance lessons, participate in jewelry-making, have dance parties, and hike all around Patillas. The group was adventurous and we spent much of our down time hiking to rivers and waterfalls or just exploring the rainforest. The first and the last day of the trip were devoted to site-seeing in San Juan. We had a terrific group and recommend Las Casas de la Selva for anyone who wants to experience the beautiful rainforests of Puerto Rico!

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