Kalu Yala brings sustainability to the heart of the jungle

Kalu Yala is located in the Tres Brazos valley.

Kalu Yala is located in the Tres Brazos valley — a tropical frontier only an hour away from downtown Panama City. (Photo courtesy of Neil Palmer (CIAT)/Wikimedia Commons)

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The Kalu Yala Institute, located outside of Panama City, is trying to develop the world’s most eco-friendly modern town by allowing college students to come practice design and promote sustainability.

The institution is located in the Tres Brazos valley — a tropical frontier only an hour away from downtown Panama City. Sitting on 575 acres of rainforest, the growing town offers many different programs to promote an eco-friendly community.

Kalu Yala offers agriculture, biology, business and entrepreneurship, culinary arts, outdoor recreation, community development and public education, design thinking, public health and wellness, media lab and an optional Spanish class to their students.

In the agriculture program, students learn about permaculture and organic farming. Students trek their way through the rainforest to find plots of land to grow crop on. When farming, students learn about topsoil conditions and greenhouse management. Students interested in biology can set up their own ecology projects on site. From conducting water sampling to GIS mapping, biology students can experiment to their needs. Students who are interested in community development learn ways to educate the public school systems and promote sustainable developmental approaches.

As of now, the town is solar powered and hydro powered. With two rivers running along side the valley, the town can gather water for hydration, as well as for fuel to power the town.

Throughout the world, alumni from more than 160 universities have dedicated change within the institute. Out of the universities, CU-Boulder is one of them. Mark Gavit, a CU student, is currently working at Kalu Yala studying outdoor recreation.

Living in open-air ranchos, Gavit and several other students construct hiking trails with machetes and develop ways to live sustainably. Students like Gavit develop leadership skills and set the precedent of how future students will live at the camp.

The camp offers classes in the spring, summer and fall. The spring session runs from January 18 to April 8. The summer session runs from May 16 to July 29 and the fall session runs from September 12 to November 18. Although some of the programs may be full, applications for the 2017 academic year are also available.

In today’s society, global warming and the overproduction of goods is a major conflict. With constant greenhouse gases being emitted into our atmosphere, the world deserves a time for change. Institutions like Kalu Yala are shaping global sustainability to an all time high. From educating perspective students about their carbon footprint and allowing innovation throughout the community, students have the opportunity to promote change.

To find out more about the Kalu Yala institute, including tuition rates and different programs, click here.

This article was published on the CU Independent. Read the original article here: http://cuindependent.com/2016/03/07/kalu-yala-brings-sustainability-heart-jungle/.

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