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(SAN JOSE, Costa Rica – July 28th, 2014): Local Girl Scout Hannah Katz, from Averill Park, was one of six individuals to receive a scholarship for her dedication to saving the sea turtles in Panama this summer.

14-year-old Katz from Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York recently returned from Outward Bound Costa Rica’s Scuba & Sea Turtle Adventure destination. This 14-day course included a multi-day service project at San San Pond Sak, wetlands located on the Caribbean coast of Panama where the girls dedicated their time to protecting the endangered leatherback sea turtle population.

When asked about her favorite aspect, of course Katz says, “learning to scuba dive and seeing baby sea turtles.”  She adds, “it exceeded all of my expectations.”

Of the 28 girls attending this destination this summer, only six were awarded the Elliot Wildlife Values Project Scholarship, a fund devoted to sponsoring Girl Scouts who demonstrate a commitment to the environment and wildlife conservation.

“Elliott Wildlife Values Project is committed to bring leadership development through hands on wildlife stewardship exploration to teenage Girl Scouts. Scholarship funds help bring girls from across the U.S. as well as girls stationed overseas to the destination,” explains Nicole Mayhorn, the Program Manager of Teen Leadership Opportunities for the Girl Scouts of the USA.

Katz and her group spent the second half of their time in Panama based on the remote island of Solarte, located in the Bocas del Toro Province. There the girls learned about the local ecology and marine life while they learned how to scuba dive. After completing and passing the NAUI Open Water Certification training, Katz and her course mates are all now scuba certified.

After returning to Outward Bound’s rainforest base in Costa Rica, the girls finished up their adventure by ziplining through the canopies and visiting the vibrant artisan market of San Jose.

Since 2006, Outward Bound Costa Rica has been partnered with Girls Scout of the USA to offer unique and exciting Girl Scouts destinations trips in Costa Rica and Panama. These trips provide young girls the opportunity to see the world, meet fellow Girl Scouts from across the nation, and challenge themselves through adventure in unfamiliar settings.

Outward Bound Costa Rica’s Executive Director Jim Rowe notes that, “Outward Bound Costa Rica programs, like the one Katz participated in, create environments that allow for personal and leadership development through challenges, group effort and cross-cultural understanding.” Rowe continues that, “in these adventures, students are constantly exposed to new experiences, languages and physical environments, which are difficult to replicate in the classroom.”

About Outward Bound Costa Rica
Founded in 1991, Outward Bound Costa Rica inspires leadership, compassion, and responsibility through adventure-based wilderness experiences. Activities include backpacking, rafting, kayaking, surfing, rappelling and scuba diving as well as cultural experiences such as home stays with local families. Programs host both local and foreign participants and range from professional development courses to adventure experiences.



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