I Belize I Can Fly

Guest Author: Robert Frisch

The tiny islands or “cayes” off the coast of Belize sit in the middle of beautifully serene coral atolls and are surrounded by the world’s second largest barrier reef.  Like shallow lakes in the middle of the ocean, the atolls host several UNESCO world heritage sites and some of the best snorkeling and scuba diving in the world.  My team, consisting of three Johnson  students and an MPA student from the Cornell Institute of Public Affairs, found itself tasked with providing consulting services and business advice for the owners of one of these cayes in what turned out to be the most unique spring break of my life. Continue reading

Entrepreneurial Conservation Through Rockclimbing

Guest Author: Robert Frisch

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The burgeoning sport of rock climbing is an excellent example of how an adventure sport can propagate the conservation of natural areas through private sector initiatives.  In the early days of the sport, climbers would hammer iron “pitons” into cracks in the rock as they ascended, and attach ropes to them in order to protect against falls.  The pitons were not designed to be removed, and can still be seen on some of the classic climbs around the world.  Visionary thinkers such as Yvon Chouinard (of the Patagonia clothing and gear company) were unsatisfied with the fact that with each new climb, permanent scars were left in the rock, and set out to devise other means of protection.  Nowadays, climbers use removable “nuts” and “cams” that still protect against falls, but leave no trace in the rock.  In fact, rock climbers have even set up organizations such as the Access Fund that participate in conservation and land protection initiatives.  The sport has also helped to bring much needed revenue to rural areas as diverse as Slade Kentucky, Yangshuo China, or Sigsipamba Ecuador. Continue reading

Advice For Peace Corps Hopefuls And The Creation Of A Hotel

Guest Author: Robert Frisch

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My Peace Corps Location: Matagalpa, Nicaragua

As a former Peace Corps volunteer, it is not a rare occasion that I come across an eager undergraduate looking for some guidance on the decision of whether or not to join the organization.  I also receive many requests for tips on how to make the most out of the two-year volunteer program.  Over the years, I’ve narrowed down my responses to three main categories: Continue reading

How To Volunteer In Costa Rica

Ok, finally I will start from the beginning.

I study French and Spanish at the University of Edinburgh, and as such, I have to spend my Junior Honours year abroad: one semester in a Spanish-speaking country and one in a French-speaking country. Ever the romantic, I chose Costa Rica, with its rainforests and volcanoes, earthquakes and hurricanes, democracy and peace. There is no Costa Rican army. And they all say ‘Pura Vida’, all the time.

I'd say 'Pura Vida' all the time if I lived here too.

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Sledding a Volcano

One volcano-related assumption which I’ve had to let go of since arriving in Central America is that a volcano is a volcano.

Anyone who grows up in Scotland knows that mountains are not just ‘mountains’. There are mountains, but there are also ranges, hills, Bens, and Munroes. There are the kind that, although tall, the fitter of us can walk up without much in the way of equipment; there are others which may be smaller but are impassable unless you really know what you’re doing.

I wasn't expecting it to be so blue...

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