Experiential Learning

Teenagers in the Ecosystems

Hiking in the rainforest, walking the midnight beaches, snorkeling in the oceans. Working hands-on with wildlife, learning about ecology, conservation and sustainable development with old friends and new friends.   

Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica
2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2022 (pending)

A uniquely designed five day program in the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica which contains 2.5% of the entire biodiversity of the planet on less than 1% of the earth's total surface area. Over a five-day period, students from California and the local Osa city of Puerto Jimenez socialize and work together to help protect the ecosystems in one of the world's most biodiverse and beautiful places on Earth.


Students develop skills in field research while contributing to scientific monitoring efforts on the nesting beaches and in the oceans to protect endangered sea turtles and to help retrieve data from video camera monitors to study the bio-diversity of terrestrial mammals deep in the rainforest. Students make their dent in the Osa by helping the local farmers and naturalists to plant tropical flora in the rain and mangrove forest, habitats and ecosystems to the fauna with which they monitor.


By interacting closely with the local friends and naturalists in the coastal and rainforest community, students learn firsthand the many challenges- cultural, political, social, logistical, economic and ethical -- of conservation efforts.

Partners: SINAC-MINAE (Ministry of the Environment), Osa Conservation, Corcovado Foundation, ACOSA, Lapa Rios, Latin American Sea Turtles, Stanford University Woods Institute/ INOGO, Saratoga High School

Students from Costa Rica & California talk about their experiences on NNI field programs:

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Collecting biometric data during in-water study 

Mangrove Reforestation

Tortuguero, Costa Rica

High School students participated in sea turtle morning and night patrols. They assisted field assistants in collecting biometric data, tagging turtles, analyzing turtle tracks, marking nests with triangular coordinates and conducting nest excavations. 

Learning how to measure a sea turtle 


Mural painted by students at a local school


Sea Turtle Excavation 

Partners: Sea Turtle Conservancy & Saratoga High School


Participants: Advanced Placement Class of Environmental Studies, Saratoga High School, Saratoga, California. 

Saratoga High School students with Ms. Thomson and Mr. Orre  

Thank you to our amazing teachers! 

Mr. Orre

Ms. Thomson

Mr. Welander

Thank you to Guido Saborío