Costa Rica, while comprising just 0.03% of the planet’s land surface, is home to more than 500,000 species, making it one of the 20 countries with the greatest biodiversity in the world.
For nearly 20 years, Sonia Hernandez has been taking groups of UGA students down to the Central American country as part of her course “Conservation Medicine/Conservation Biology.” Including students from both the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources and the College of Veterinary Medicine, the trip gives them a tropical, in-country opportunity to learn about the connected health of ecosystems—land, fauna and flora.
“The intent is to provide them with an understanding of One Health, the fact that environmental health impacts the health of animals and people,” said Hernandez, a professor with appointments in both Warnell and CVM. “What does it mean for that environment to be healthy? What kinds of things are humans doing to make environments not healthy, and how does that trickle down?”