Bodhi Surf School is officially closed after a very busy summer. For the first year in a row, we worked simultaneously with student groups from Global Leadership Adventures as well as our own surf and yoga guests at the Bodhi Surf Lodge — needless to say, it was crazy at times, but also wonderful to host such a multitude of people from all age groups, cultures, and backgrounds. We also started preparing for the addition of our next Bodhi team member, the second daughter of owners Pilar and Travis. We are now resting, regrouping, and preparing for what will be another busy season starting in November.
We will be accepting submissions for our 2015 My Ocean Guardian Journey Contest starting October 1st, 2015. This year, the contest will run for the entire month of October, but it will be open to public voting on both Facebook and our website. So as you may have gathered, the earlier you enter, the more votes you will have the chance to accrue! Which means you should be getting your submission ready and perfecting during the month of September so you can enter early and share with your friends and family to get the most votes! In case you need reminding, the stakes are high: we are giving away a free yoga and surf camp for two — our signature Bodhi Sessions week-long vacation. All you need to do is show us what you’re doing to protect and preserve the world’s oceans!
Another successful season “Protecting the Pacific”
This year’s Protecting the Pacific was a great success. Between early June and late August, roughly one hundred students from all corners of the world, separated into five groups, made Bahia Ballena their home for two weeks. They participated in a variety of activities, service projects, and coursework related to the conservation of not just the Pacific Ocean, but all of the world’s oceans.
We want to thank those who students who signed our Ocean Guardian Pledge (this year, it was the majority!), making the commitment to being positive stewards of the oceans and of our blue planet. We also want to give special kudos to everyone who helped make this summer such a success. Here are a few words from Pilar, who was the program’s community director for the third year in a row:
We want to thank everyone who was involved, both from the community and from elsewhere, from the bottom of our hearts. For their support, excellent attitudes, and most of all, hard work. Of course there were challenges — nothing good in life comes easy, after all — yet everyone crossed each bridge in the best way possible and put their whole heart into their work. It was reflected in this year’s success!
We’re so very proud to be a part of something we feel so strongly about, which we hope [and believe from the bottom of our hearts] is making a difference and creating positive, lasting change. After all, these young people are the future, the hope, and the have the power to change this world for the better. We look forward to next year’s program; if trends maintain, it will be the best one yet, as they have only been getting better!
Study of nature-based tourism on pro-environmental behavior is now underway!
We mentioned in a past monthly roundup that there was an opportunity to participate in a study that investigates the long-term effects of nature-based tourism and to see if there is any behavior change when it comes to pro-environmental tendencies. Specifically, studying Bodhi Surf’s past guests and their experiences with our week-long surf and yoga vacations. Last week, researcher Dr. Carter A. Hunt of the Recreation, Park and Tourism Management at Penn State University, got official approval from CATS IRB (Penn State’s Centralized Application Tracking System for Institutional Review Board)! Here is an excerpt from the study’s official abstract:
In collaboration with Bodhi Surf School, researchers from Penn State’s Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Management will study the pro-environmental behavior of travelers following their nature-based tourism experience in Uvita-Bahia Ballena, Osa, Costa Rica.
This study will take two approaches to assessing the ways that new behaviors, advocacy, and activism in favor of environmental conservation result from week-long instructional surf and yoga experiences inside a national marine park.
This research will be of equal interest to practitioners operating activity-based forms of nature-based tourism enterprises and researchers interested in pro-environmental outcomes of tourism.
That means, if you are a past Bodhi guest, you may be receiving an email to set up a 30 minute interview. We look forward to your participation in this study!
Central States Water Environmental Association visits Bahia Ballena
Through Stanford University’s INOGO Project, the Central States Water Environmental Association (CSWEA) has been working in several sites in the Southern Pacific Zone of Costa Rica, helping tackle a number of water and sanitation issues that face the region. They visited Bahia Ballena in August to take a look at our drain and stormwater situation. Currently, much of Bahia Ballena has paved roads, yet many of the homes along them are actually lower than said roads. When it rains heavily, the stormwater flows through the open ditches, into the local estuary, and eventually makes its way into the ocean — a very negative occurrence indeed for environment, as well as the community, which depends so greatly on marine-based tourism.
As commented by Mohammed Haque:
The community is still growing with several larger developments currently planned to be built. The community consists of a mixture of homes and businesses, with the businesses being located in a denser area closer to the marine park. The homes and businesses all vary in size and setup, with some having individual septic tanks for greywater and sanitary, while some only have a sanitary septic tank. Most businesses do have both. Additionally, when it rains heavily, the stormwater flows through the open ditches, into the local estuary, and eventually makes its way into the ocean — a very negative occurrence indeed for environment, as well as the community, which depends so greatly on marine-based tourism.
Bodhi Surf School is excited to be helping to facilitate the project, connecting community based organizations, community leaders, the private sector and national government. We are also committed to helping build awareness within the community, developing an educational campaign, and doing some fundraising in 2016.
Shoutout to “The Squids”
We had two wonderful ladies stay with us and intern this summer, both of whom were either current or past students of Skidmore College, yet interestingly enough, they did not know one another before — small world, or what? Even crazier was that they were both taught by Environmental Studies professor, Dr. AJ Schneller, the man behind the study of this year’s GLA students and the effects that voluntourism has on their longterm behavior. We affectionately called them “The Squids” (the official nickname of Skidmore students).
During her time at Bodhi Surf, Sarah Coburn was assisting Dr. Schneller in the voluntourism study, and spent 6 weeks surveying the students as well as community members to see how the Protecting the Pacific program is affecting longterm behavior change. Additionally, she helped us develop our Ocean Guardian Program which aims to promote environmental impact reduction amongst our guests. Our other “squid” Riley Johnson was actually interning with the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment on the project Travis works for, INOGO, working on the Caminos de Osa project — a very valuable sustainable tourism initiative in the Southern Pacific Zone of Costa Rica. She also ended up working alongside Bodhi Surf, Geoporter, and other Bahia Ballena organizations.
It was a pleasure to have these two stay with us. While they both had their respective projects that they were working on, they were also extremely generous with their time, efforts, and energy during their stay at Bodhi Surf School. Whether it was assisting us at community service days, helping entertain our guests, working with the student groups, or doing dishes, it was a delight to have them around. These two young women have wonderful futures ahead of them, and we’re gratified to have gotten to know them and will be excited to see where their paths take them!