The Soltis Center for Research and Education in Costa Rica
The Soltis Center for Research and Education in north-central Costa Rica was established in January 2009 to support research, education and outreach in Costa Rica and throughout Central America. The Center is located in San Juan de San Isidro de Peñas Blancas, about three hours northwest of San Jose. The modern facilities of the Center include dorms, a cafeteria, wet and dry labs, classrooms, a videoconference room and multiple use areas. The Center provides students and faculty with access to more than 250 acres of primary and second growth forests with an experimental watershed complete with a meteorological station, a canopy tower and weir dam. The Center is adjacent to more than 50,000 hectares of protected forest in the Children’s Eternal Rainforest and the Monteverde Conservation Area. The Zona Protectora Arenal-Monteverde extends to the Center through a forest corridor that descends in elevation from 1,800 meters at Monteverde to 450 meters above sea level at the Center. This natural reserve has four major tropical life zones and includes more than 3,000 species of vascular plants and more than 400 species of resident and migratory birds. At the regional level, the Center is located in the heart of the Peñas Blancas River Watershed, which extends over 40,000 hectares that transition from rainforest in the highlands to pastures and agricultural crops below the Center. The unique physical and cultural setting of the center provides students and faculty with research and educational opportunities in tropical ecology, civil engineering, ecosystem sciences, geosciences, public and rural health and agricultural economics.