Soltis Center Entrance #2

Texas A&M University Soltis Center

CONSERVET Costa Rica 2020 (July 14-25, 2020) is an on-site workshop that introduces students in veterinary medicine, public health, biology and ecology (as well as graduates in these disciplines seeking to widen their professional reach) to conservation medicine concepts in the context of montane forest ecosystems of rural Costa Rica.  Instructional format includes orientation lectures, group discussions, clinical diagnostics in domestic and wild animals, combined with site visits and hands-on immersion in field study methods that explore the complexities of environmental functions and the consequences that can occur when these natural processes are disrupted by regional and global disturbances, from agricultural practices to forest fragmentation to climate change.  Students will work with instructors in the fields of ecology and medicine.  The first few days of the course will based at the Monteverde Institute in the highlands of Monteverde on the Pacific side of the Monteverde range.  This site offers students the opportunity to experience a mountainous ecozone within the country, comparing birds, bats and other fauna at the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve.  The course will then move to the Texas A&M University Soltis Center near San Isidro Peñas Blancas, Costa Rica in the Lake Arenal region northwest from San Jose and contiguous with the Children’s Eternal Rainforest in the northern central highlands region of Costa Rica.  The Soltis Center is situated at the interface between protected primary and secondary rainforest and small family farms on the Caribbean side of the Monteverde range.

Soltis Center Aerial View

The Soltis Center Aerial View

Course tuition: $2,200.00 usd (includes roundtrip travel between San Jose, the Monteverde Institute and the Soltis Center, lodging, three meals/day, laundry service, wireless internet in dorms and main building, and all workshop activities and other in-country travel). There will be one free day for optional activities (not covered by tuition). For students who would like to spend more time in the country, it is possible to arrange an additional week internship period focused on a selected field project.

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Workshop Information

Course Format

Instructional approaches for Conservet Costa Rica 2020 are varied and interactive, comprising a blend of traditional orientational lectures, focused group discussions and problem-solving exercises, hands-on field data collection and clinical sampling activities in the cloud forest and sustainable farming ecosystems, focused research projects on bats, rodents, birds, amphibians and mosquitoes, clinical diagnostics on rescued wildlife, small family farm operations and student presentations on research and clinical findings.

Academic Credit

Externship credit is offered for those students whose veterinary school recognizes Conservet Costa Rica 2020 course content as fulfilling curricular goals, either for summer externship or for fourth year clinical rotation credit.  Requests for academic credit, along with the necessary paperwork, must be submitted to workshop coordinators prior to attending the workshop.  If desired, students have the option to extend their studies with an additional week at the Monteverde Institute (MVI) through an internship program.  MVI is located on the Pacific side of the Monteverde range and offers students the opportunity to apply field techniques to bats, rodents, birds, amphibians and mosquitoes to compare with data gathered at the Soltis Center on the Caribbean side of the range.  Students interested in participating in the extended workshop should contact us at for more details.  Although veterinarians interested in an introduction to Conservation Medicine are encouraged to attend the workshop, Conservet is currently not structured to award CE credits.



Twin Falls at the Soltis Center

Workshop participants must be comfortable with international travel and are responsible for arranging their travel to San Jose where the workshop will begin.  All workshop activities (including one free day), lodging, meals and departure tax will be arranged and provided by Conservet.  All students are required to purchase travel insurance for their trip.  Course coordinators will suggest possible vendors offering student insurance packages; these may be available through your university.  July 14th and July 25th are arrival and departure days to and from the San Jose airport, respectively.

While veterinary school schedules are generally very structured and predictable, Conservet workshop activities can be impacted by weather events or logistical considerations at the hosting facilities, resulting in schedule rearrangements as needed.  Students must be resilient and adaptable to schedule changes that can occur under field conditions.  The pace of the workshop can be both mentally and physically demanding. Days are full, and students should be prepared to work under rainy weather conditions, and conditionally fit for hiking in hilly terrain up to 3 miles with a light backpack.  Some workshop field research activities will be more challenging than others, and these will only be conducted on a voluntary basis.  We would be happy to schedule a phone or Skype call with you if you would like more information on activities before submitting your application.  Simply send an email to to schedule a call.

Student Selection

Waterfall Trail Soltis Center

Waterfall Trail Soltis Center

Workshop enrollment is strictly limited to not more than 10-12 students to better assure active student participation and personal attention during the course.  Applications can be made on-line on the Conservet website (  After receiving an on-line application, we will be be in touch with the next steps in completing the application.  These will include a 1) a brief resume and 2) a short statement of interest explaining how the course might be helpful in your career development.  Completed applications can be submitted at any time, but the earlier the better since enrollment is capped.  A phone or Skype call is recommended for anyone wanting more details on course content or logistics.  Completed applications submitted after the enrollment cap has been reached will be held as alternates to replace any enrolled in the course who must cancel.

No tuition deposit is required during the initial application period.  For those students invited to complete their registration, arrangements will be made for a $1,000.00 (usd) tuition deposit.  The balance of the tuition ($1,200.00) will be due by May 15, 2020.