Aug 27, 2014

FVCC Introduces Costa Rica Field Botany Program

College to Host Informational Sessions September 10 and 23

Flathead Valley Community College is launching a new study abroad field botany program in Costa Rica scheduled for January 5-17, 2015.  Students who participate in the 13-day learning adventure will earn three college credits while living in biological research stations and exploring the pristine jungle settings of Cloud Forest region of Monteverde and the Rain Forest region of the Osa Peninsula.

Leading the program will be FVCC Plant Biology Assistant Professor Mirabai McCarthy, Ph.D. McCarthy earned a Master of Science and Doctorate in Botany from Miami University and has taught biology and field botany courses at FVCC for the past two years. She has traveled extensively in Central and South America while working on plant research projects, and she brings to this program a strong background in tropical botany, including previous experience as a study abroad student in Costa Rica.

The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve’s protective reach extends over 214 square miles and encompasses eight life zones atop the Continental Divide. With over 100 species of mammals, 400 species of birds and 1,200 species of amphibians and reptiles living within its bounds, it’s one of the few remaining habitats that support all six species of the cat family—jaguarundi, jaguars, ocelots, pumas, oncillas and margays.

The Osa Peninsula is located in the southwest, tropical lowlands of Costa Rica and is home to one of the hemisphere’s richest and most pristine regions. Corcovado National Park, often referred to as the “crowned jewel” of Costa Rica’s protected parks, contains the highest percentage of the country’s diversity of species. The Companario Biological Station is home to three permanent streams, four small beaches and a wide variety of flora and fauna, including over 120 different tree species immediately surrounding the station.

All participants are required to enroll in the college’s “Field Botany” course. The cost to participate is $3,000, which includes airfare from Missoula to San Jose Costa Rica, lodging, ground and water transportation, most meals, residence at biological research centers, national park entrance fees, educational workshops and lectures, day excursions, Cano Island day tour, naturalistic guides, a research project and FVCC faculty facilitation. Tuition and fees for the required “Field Botany” class are not included in the program cost.

A $500 deposit is due October 3 in order to reserve a space in the program. A final balance of $2,500 is due November 21.

This program is open to anyone interested and willing to participate in the field botany course. Students must be 18 years of age or older to participate without a parent. Financial aid is applicable to trip and credit costs for qualifying students. For financial aid information, contact Financial Aid Director Cindy Keifer at (406) 756-3843 or

The college will host two informational sessions for those interested in meeting McCarthy and learning more about the program. The sessions are scheduled for September 10 at 4 p.m. and September 23 at noon in board room inside Blake Hall on campus.

For more information, contact McCarthy at (406) 756-3624 or or visit