The Biological Station Las Cruces and the Wilson Botanical Garden are part of the Organization for Tropical Studies and one of three biological stations in Costa Rica. This protected area is located in premontane tropical rain forest in the Southwest of the country, close to the border with Panama.
In summer 2018 I spent six weeks at the Wilson Botanical Garden and biological station las Cruces, where I mainly worked on planning, researching and implementing a new environmental education room/ visitor center for the station. The idea was to fill a then empty room with different interactive exhibits, to give visitors the chance to learn, not only by reading, but by trying out and experimenting themselves. With the help of local staff and researchers I was able to produce a well-rounded exhibit. Another project I worked on involved researching and creating interpretive signage for different points of interest in the botanical garden.
During the internship I was housed on station grounds. The fees include full board but make sure to factor in personal expenses in your budget. A ten minutes foot walk from las Cruces is a nice little bar where you will find researchers, other interns, students and locals at the end of the day.
How to arrange
Where do you get started arranging an internship like this? On the OTS website you can get a first idea of the currently running research projects and available internships. You can then get in touch with the station director via email or phone and send in your application. You will then be contacted to arrange your internship or voluntary work as well as your stay either at the station or with a host family.
When travelling to Costa Rica make sure you have all the necessary vaccines and if you travel via the USA, a visa (ESTA). Further make sure to present a return ticket, when immigrating to Costa Rica.