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Immersion Program

Tropical Field Research

During the Seeds of Change Tropical Rainforest Research Program, students are immersed in a hands-on field research program that takes advantage of the immense biodiversity of the tropical rainforest. They learn how to apply the scientific method while collaborating with team members to establish their original research question as well as the experimental design for their project. Students work together to implement the steps effectively and learn how to work as a team to overcome challenges and rebound from failures within resource and time constraints, just as in any real-world project. They use statistics to validate the results of their experiments and give presentations showing the results of their work, just like any research scientist would!

The Tropical Field Research program prepares students for university-level science. 

  • Learn how to work as a team, handle differences, and take advantage of the ways others communicate best.

    • students use TypeCoach to help navigate team-member differences.

  • Learn and apply the most appropriate experimental designs:

    • randomized block design? matched pair design? blind selection?

  • Learn and apply key statistical analysis techniques:

    • null and alternate hypothesis testing

    • positive and negative controls

    • Chi squared? ANOVA? Student-test?

teacher/student training manual

(50+ pages of guidance)


Students learn directly from world-renowned experts who guide and mentor students throughout the research process.

SOC Research Students collaborate and brainstorm, scientific process in action!
SOC leafcutter ant student research, hands on field work!
In the Field
science room_sm.jpg
In the Lab
SOC Student Research, analyzing results - team work!
Analyzing Results
Dr. Adrian Pinto SOC Chief Scientist - giving feedback on high school research project.
Getting Feedback
SOC High School Research Final Presentations - Scientific Method
Final Presentation

Overall Itinerary:


Students arrive at Liberia or San Jose airport. They travel as a group by van to our research station location deep in the tropical rain/cloud forest, nestled between Rincon de la Vieja, Miravalles, and Santa Maria volcanoes. There they conceive of, develop, and implement their original research project (8 days).


Interspersed with the science they are introduced to the amazing biodiversity of Costa Rica and take part in many excursions. They hike to waterfalls, take a Costa Rican cooking class, go on guided night hikes, and horseback ride to the cloud forest.

Students spend the final 2 days of the trip on the Pacific coast where they visit a sea turtle hatchery and conduct sea turtle nesting patrols. 

Off-site Adventures:


Participants get a healthy break from science to do nearby breathtaking activities like: 

  • Hiking the Rincon de la Vieja National Park with a naturalist to waterfalls and thermal pools

  • Horseback riding in rainforest

  • Cacao plantation tour: chocolate from harvest to taste-tests

  • Night hike

  • Turtle nesting sweeps

  • Costa Rican cooking class: students learn how to prepare their own traditional meal!

  • Sea Turtle hatchery and beach patrols for nesting sea turtles.

Host Amenities:


Our hosts run an eco-tourism lodge and cacao plantation located in a remote, rural town about 1.5 hours from the city of Liberia


The owners and staff are incredibly hospitable and responsive to all our needs. The food is delicious and is grown on site or is locally sourced. The kitchen staff routinely adapt to diet preferences (gluten free, vegan, and vegetarian to name a few) and allergy-related requirements. 


Students stay in various size cabins (2-8 students) within earshot of teacher chaperones. Laundry services are available for a fee.



Seeds of Change Research typically works with schools to identify two teacher chaperones for a group of 16 students. We also work with regional home-school groups and individuals that are willing to join with others to participate in the program.​

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