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Costa Rica 2023 ~ Nature Journaling & Art

'Nature Journaling and Art' was one of our commitments during this trip and we had deep moments of stillness to capture certain themes. We prepared for this before the trip and some resources stood out, especially the work of John Muir Laws. His book on 'How to Teach Nature Journaling' gave us some themes to work with and we approached it readily. The call to nature by Claire Walker Leslie was another source of enjoyment.


"Love of nature is the spring from which stewardship flows. In contrast, disconnection from nature leads to apathy in the face of all environmental problems. A useful way to define love is sustained, compassionate attention." - John Muir Laws


- Pranati Patnam, Cornell University ‘26

Chachagua Rainforest, Alajuela Province, La Fortuna, Aug 11, 2023


I notice a copper vessel collecting water from a pipe imposed into a nook on the forest path. I wonder where the water is coming from, if it is fresh, and what function the apparatus serves. It reminds me of the vessels we use in pujas and makes me think of the various ways in which humans have always relied on water from the earth.

- Saniya Gaitonde, Barnard College ‘25

Poás Volcano National Park, Alajuela Province, Sarchí, Aug 10, 2023


- Rathi Raja, GVLP Chief Dreamer in Residence

Poás Volcano National Park, Alajuela Province, Sarchí, Aug 10, 2023


- Riya Gupta, New York University ‘25

Rio Balsa, Alajuela Province, San Carlos, Aug 13, 2023


- Pranati Patnam, Cornell University ‘26

Chachagua Rainforest, Alajuela Province, La Fortuna, Aug 12, 2023


This colorful patch immediately caught my attention in the garden, with all of its different hues of pink and purple. Upon taking a closer look, I noticed that the spots on the leaves were pale pink in color, which I found to be so cute and fascinating!

- Saniya Gaitonde, Barnard College ‘25

Hotel Poco a Poco, Puntarenas Province, Monteverde, Aug 16, 2023


- Rathi Raja, GVLP Chief Dreamer in Residence

Chachagua Rainforest, Alajuela Province, La Fortuna, Aug 11, 2023


- Riya Gupta, New York University ‘25

Curi-Cancha Reserve, Puntarenas Province, Monteverde, Aug 15, 2023


An unexpected reward for waking up at 5am for our early morning activities was this breathtaking view of the Arenal Volcano from the balcony of our hotel room. Although I was amazed by its closeness and the mountain view immediately upon our arrival to the hotel, with the volcano’s peak being obscured by clouds for most of the day, it’s magnitude did not strike me fully until this moment. It was truly a surreal and humbling moment which reminded me of the relative smallness, fragility, and impermanence of human life compared to such great natural wonders.

- Saniya Gaitonde, Barnard College ‘25

Arenal Springs Resort, Alajuela Province, Palma, Aug 14, 2023


- Rathi Raja, GVLP Chief Dreamer in Residence

Chachagua Rainforest, Alajuela Province, La Fortuna, Aug 12, 2023


- Riya Gupta, New York University ‘25

Arenal Springs Resort, Alajuela Province, Palma, Aug 13, 2023

This bamboo immediately caught my attention because it looked completely out of place amidst the foliage of the rainforest. Why it was growing there was a mystery to me, as we hadn’t seen it in any other part of the forest and I didn’t think that bamboo was native to the region. Our tour guide explained that this type of bamboo was ideal for supporting the growth of bananas, and was brought over from Asia by the Chiquita banana company. This made me wonder about how native species are affected by the introduction of foreign crops into their ecosystem for profit.

- Saniya Gaitonde, Barnard College ‘25

Manuel Antonio National Park, Puntarenas Province, Quepos, Aug 17, 2023


- Rathi Raja, GVLP Chief Dreamer in Residence

Curi-Cancha Reserve, Puntarenas Province, Monteverde, Aug 18, 2023

Who: A capuchin monkey What: sitting on a balcony railing Where: our hotel room in Manuel Antonio When: while we were relaxing after a long hike in the national park How: by climbing from the nearby trees Why: our hotel was immersed in the forest where the monkeys live, and they love to visit the guests in search of food and shiny objects!

- Saniya Gaitonde, Barnard College ‘25

Shana by the Beach Resort, Puntarenas Province, Quepos, Aug 17, 2023


- Rathi Raja, GVLP Chief Dreamer in Residence

Arenal Springs Resort, Alajuela Province, Palma, Aug 13, 2023


- Rathi Raja, GVLP Chief Dreamer in Residence

Curi-Cancha Reserve, Puntarenas Province, Monteverde, Aug 16, 2023


- Rathi Raja, GVLP Chief Dreamer in Residence

Hotel La Mariposa, Puntarenas Province, Quepos, Aug 16, 2023

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John Muir Laws Resource Links


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