UPDATED INFO ABOUT 2008 TRIPS
Hilton Pond Center Offers
To Costa Rica
WEEK #1: 26 December 2004-2 January 2005
WEEK #2: 2-9 Jan 2005
(Updated 8 March 2005)
For a complete report on the success of the
two excursions described below, please visit
"This Week at Hilton Pond" for 1-14 January 2005.
New trips are being planned for November-December 2005
and/or February 2006; for details about the upcoming
trips, please see Costa Rica Trip Announcement 2005.
All text & photos © Hilton Pond Center
Adult male Ruby-throated Hummingbird (above),
captured for banding
In conjunction with Holbrook Travel, Hilton Pond Center for Piedmont Natural History is offering exciting and educational end-of-year field trips in December 2004 and January 2005 to study Ruby-throated Hummingbirds on their wintering grounds in Costa Rica.
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds Archilochus colubris--which occur in 38 U.S. states and across southern Canada from April through early October--are the most widely distributed hummingbird species. Nonetheless, they are not well-studied in Mexico and Central America where they spend their non-breeding months. During our eight-day field trips to Guanacaste Province in northwestern Costa Rica, Center director Bill Hilton Jr. will teach participants how hummingbirds are observed, captured, banded, and released and instruct how to implement protocols that are part of "Operation RubyThroat: The Hummingbird Project" and The GLOBE Program. Along the way participants will visit diverse habitats and learn about fascinating aspects of Costa Rican natural history and culture--from volcanoes to Pacific coastal ecosystems, from jaguars to tropical butterflies.
For each eight-day expedition we will be based at Buena Vista Lodge & Adventure Center (above and below), used by many international tour companies because of its excellent accommodations, food, and proximity to outstanding Costa Rican nature locales. The rustic-but-comfortable lodge even has its own on-site Serpentarium!
The trips are open to ANY adult interested in studying and reporting observations of hummingbirds in Costa Rica and in the U.S. or Canada. However, to encourage participation by K-12 teachers, this expedition to the wintering grounds of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds is being offered during the December holiday vacation period on 26 Dec-2 January; a second trip will follow 2-9 January. We will be happy to collaborate with educators in their efforts to find grants to help underwrite trip costs and/or to work with your home institution if you are seeking graduate credit for the experience. (NOTE: If the first two trips fill, we may add a third for 9-16 January. If you're NOT a teacher, please consider moving your registration to one of the weeks in January.)
Two English-speaking Costa Rican K-12 teachers will receive full scholarships from Holbrook travel and Hilton Pond Center to join each excursion as active participants. Their involvement will help create connections with fellow educators and students from other countries in which Ruby-throated Hummingbirds also occur.
After reading the information below, please contact Debbie Sturdivant at Holbrook Travel (1-888-890-0632) if you have any questions about enrolling and/or to request enrollment forms. Register early to guarantee you can participate!
DETAILED ITINERARY for WEEK #1
December 26--Arrival & Buena Vista Lodge & Adventure Center
December 27--Buena Vista
December 28--Buena Vista
December 29--Buena Vista & Santa Rosa National Park
December 30 & 31--Buena Vista
January 1--Buena Vista & Rincón de la Vieja National Park
January 2--Buena Vista & Departure
NOTE: The main purpose of the Operation RubyThroat/GLOBE Costa Rica expedition is to learn about Ruby-throated Hummingbird winter behavior; thus, your active participation in making daily observations and collecting data is critical to the trip's success. We will have many wonderful and enjoyable experiences together, but this is NOT a pleasure trip. If you are not willing to work hard all week and follow the expedition's research and education goals, please do not sign up for the trip. Scheduled activities are subject to change due to weather or to take advantage of unexpected learning and research opportunities, but we'll do everything we can to make sure we offer all non-research activities described above.
FIELD TRIP LEADER
BILL HILTON JR. (below left) was twice named South Carolina Science Teacher of the Year and was honored as the state's Outstanding Biology Teacher. In 1998, The Charlotte Observer named him a Carolinas "Guardian of the Environment" for a lifetime of trend-setting work in conservation and environmental education.
Hilton is executive director of Hilton Pond Center for Piedmont Natural History. As principal investigator for "Operation RubyThroat: The Hummingbird Project," he has received a 42-month grant from the National Science Foundation to integrate Operation RubyThroat with The GLOBE Program.
Hilton taught in Rock Hill and Fort Mill SC schools, and at the University of Minnesota, St. Olaf College, and Winthrop University. He helped start the residential South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics in Hartsville, which he served as biology instructor and director of student research.
Hilton is a nationally sought-after speaker on diverse natural history topics. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Newberry College, which he serves as president-elect on the Alumni Board of Directors. He also earned a Master of Arts in Biology Teaching from Winthrop University, and a Master of Science in Ecology & Behavioral Biology from the University of Minnesota, where he conducted a four-year field study of the behavioral ecology of Blue Jays (Cyanocitta cristata). For a complete resume, see Hilton Biographical Sketch.
Hilton and the group will be assisted by ERNESTO M. CARMAN of Talamanca Hawkwatch and Programa Conservacion de Aves. Ernesto, a native-born Costa Rican (tico), speaks fluent English and Spanish, and is one of only a few naturalists with experience observing Ruby-throated Hummingbirds within Costa Rica.
LAND PROGRAM COST: $1,079
--Rates are based on: Double occupancy with a minimum of 14 participants and subject to increase with fewer participants.
--Participants must be: In good health, at least 21 years of age by the time the trip begins, and willing to participate in all education and research activities.
--Program cost includes: All in-country transportation, accommodations, meals, expert local guide (bilingual), learning activities and field trips, and Operation RubyThroat/GLOBE instructional materials, as stated above.
--Program cost does not include: International airfare, additional optional activities not described above, beverages, gratuities for local personnel, or $26 departure tax.
--Payment policy: To confirm your space, send $200 deposit to Holbrook Travel, along with your enrollment form. The deposit is refundable less a $75 processing fee if cancellation is received prior to 60 days. Final payment is due no later than 60 days before departure date; there will be no refunds for cancellations within 60 days of departure.
--Pre-trip activities: You will receive lists of suggested readings and resources that will enhance your trip experience. We expect that you will study and learn all important information related to the trip's research goals.
Hilton Pond Center for Piedmont Natural History and Operation RubyThroat: The Hummingbird Project derive no financial gain from the Costa Rican excursions; the trips are offered as outreach activities and as a way to learn more about winter behavior of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. If you're interested in making a contribution to the Center and/or Operation RubyThroat, please see Supporting the Work of Hilton Pond Center.
After reading the information above, contact Debbie Sturdivant at Holbrook Travel by E-mail or phone (1-888-890-0632) if you have any questions about enrolling and/or to request enrollment forms. See you in Costa Rica!
Adult female Ruby-throated Hummingbird (above),
All text & photos © Hilton Pond Center
For a complete report on the success of the
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Hilton Pond Center for Piedmont Natural History is a non-profit research & education organization in York, South Carolina USA; phone (803) 684-5852. Directed by Bill Hilton Jr., aka The Piedmont Naturalist, it is the parent organization for Operation RubyThroat. Contents of this Web site--including articles and photos--may NOT be duplicated, modified, or used in any way except with the express written permission of Hilton Pond Center. All rights reserved worldwide. To obtain permission for use or for further assistance on accessing this Web site, contact the Webmaster.