Environmental Education, Science and Research

The Osa Peninsula: A unique place for research and education

Located in southwestern Costa Rica, the Osa is hailed by many as Costa Rica’s “last frontier” as it remains a largely untouched, remote wilderness. The Osa’s high level of biological diversity coupled with its unique combination of 13 distinct tropical ecosystems have made it a high global conservation priority. With a total area of only 300,000 acres, the Osa is home to 50% of species found in Costa Rica, including many endemic species. When one considers the small size of the Osa, there are few places left on earth that rival its intense biological diversity. It is here one can find the largest intact mangrove ecosystem in Pacific Mesoamerica, the most significant remaining areas of lowland Pacific tropical rainforest, and one of only four tropical fjords on the planet, the Golfo Dulce. These ecosystems, and numerous others, provide habitat that is essential for the Osa’s plentiful wildlife.

Piro Research Center

Tree samples waiting to be process by Greg Asner´s working team, January 2010.

Piro Research Center is our Costa Rican biological field station and has:

  • Three cabins, each with three rooms and a bathroom (total capacity 36)
  • Laboratory/classroom area
  • Reference library
  • Dining hall/common area

Staying here will give you quick access to mature rainforest as well as to the coastal habitat along the Pacific, making this campus ideal for researchers, field biology student groups, and sea turtle volunteers.

Greg Gund Conservation Center

The Greg Gund Conservation Center is an educational campus located on the Cerro Osa property. Here you have the option to stay in the bunk house or on a camping platform; no matter which you choose, you won’t regret the breathtaking view looking west to Corcovado National Park and the Pacific Ocean.

  • Bunkhouse with two bathrooms (total capacity 12-16)

    View for the GGCC

  • Three screened-in platforms (total capacity 12)
  • Dining area
  • Education Center (under construction)

The Cerro Osa property where this campus is located, is a 1,500 acre tract of land that is contiguous with the Piro Research Center property. You can get here either by walking the Cerro Osa trail or by car on the access road. While the Greg Gund Conservation Center isn’t as close to pristine rainforest as the Piro Research Center, the land use history of Cerro Osa makes it an ideal location to study tropical forest regeneration since the forest directly surrounding the campus is recovering plantation.

If you’d like to book a stay with us, or if you have questions about accommodating a group, please visit www.osaconservation.org or email our Station Manager: carlosmonge@osaconservation.org

Environmental Education, Volunteers and Visitors

An Unforgettable Educational Adventure: Enamored with the Osa

By: Vickie Buisset

Volunteering with the FOO Sea Turtle Research Program was a wonderful experience.  My observations and field notes taken while on the Osa Peninsula were used to complete the final independent study project of my Master of Environmental Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU).  The topic of my independent study project was Global Threats of Sea Turtles.  I graduated from VCU in December of 2010 and feel very lucky to have had this volunteer/research opportunity on the beautiful Osa Peninsula.  The personnel at the FOO Sea Turtle Research Center were very helpful in my data collection and field studies, even after I returned home to finish my independent study.  I couldn’t have asked for a more hospitable and professional research program.

Jesus Christ Lizard

Getting from San Jose to the research center was quite an adventure.  Visiting the Osa during the height of the rainy season made it a bit tricky, but it was well worth the effort.  I spent nine thrilling days and nights at the Osa Biodiversity Center from the end of October through early November of 2010.  I participated in four night beach patrols and two day beach patrols with the sea turtle research program.  Watching the sea turtles nest at night was a magical experience that I’ll remember for the rest of my life.

With several FOO conservation projects underway, I had the opportunity to learn a lot about the local biodiversity of the peninsula.   I stayed busy, practiced Spanish a bit, received plenty of rest, and filled my belly with wonderful home-cooked meals served onsite at the research center.  The people of FOO were a lot of fun and I enjoyed working with them.   I’d do it all over again! Thanks for everything FOO. I’ll be forever grateful.

Sincerely,

Vickie Buisset Jones