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Here is our president’s story….

Colleen Spurlock here, Humboldt State University lecturer, coast redwood tissue culturist, and OneForest Foundation nonprofit president.OneForest Foundation’s mission is to protect and restore the planet’s forests and other natural ecosystems through environmental education. We are working to send a group of low-income Humboldt County, California students to an international environmental leadership training in Costa Rica. Visiting the jungles of Costa Rica can inspire students and is an amazing opportunity to learn about biodiversity and ecology, as well as learn about another culture and language.

The funds from our GoFundMe campaign will cover the environmental leadership program fees that include transportation, lodging, meals, and activities for the trip.

The students will travel over summer vacation 2017.

When I was 16, my high school (Ocean City High School, NJ) offered an international student trip to Costa Rica. I was so impressed and inspired by the plant diversity in the lowland rainforest that I decided I wanted to study tropical plants and genetics. I began to carry out this goal by attending the University of Kentucky, receiving a bachelor’s in 3 years in agricultural biotechnology. This was getting me in the direction of tropical plants, but not exactly. After graduating, I returned to study in Costa Rica for a year before beginning a graduate program at the University of California-Davis. I received my Master’s and in 2015 a PhD with a focus on Plant Breeding by studying the genetics of redwood trees and now supervise a coast redwood tissue culture lab. The redwood forest is a rainforest, but not the tropical rainforest I have been working toward since my school trip in high school. However, the education I have pursued has given me great opportunities to move toward tropical studies and environmental education. I am now a lecturer at Humboldt State University and working with a butterfly farm in Costa Rica, where I am beginning to study butterfly and host plant genetics, working to identify genes and their complements between the insect and their habitat forged by coevolution of the species. The butterfly farm (Osa Interactive Gardens, OIG) offers student group tours and I founded OneForest Foundation to combined the mission of OIG with environmental education leadership that I have begun to teach. Students on the trip will visit OIG on the Costa Rica tour and participate in butterfly activities such as tagging and trapping.

Please help send these low-income students on the trip of their lifetime, which has the potential to be a major influence and inspiration in their lives like it did for me.

In addition, if you are looking for a host organization for your school or club’s international trip, contact me.

We greatly appreciate any contribution you can make and thank you so much for your time.

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