Join us for our last chapter meeting of 2019 as Betsy Ballard transports us to the tropics of Costa Rica for her talk entitled DISCOVER THE WILDER SIDE OF COSTA RICA: An Uncommon and Very Personal Adventure into Remote Natural Realms.
The meeting will take place at 7:00 PM on Monday, December 9, 2019 in the Gallagher Business Building on the University of Montana campus. PLEASE NOTE: This is finals week at UM so the meeting will be held in Rm 122, next door to our usual meeting room, and parking may be an issue so please plan accordingly.
Imagine signing up for a lifetime trip to Costa Rica with an ecotourism company and when you arrive you discover that you are the only participants! That’s exactly what happened to Betsy Ballard, her husband and her sister in the spring of 2017. They had a private tour with guides and a driver all provided by Natural Habitat Adventures Company. The trip included flying in a small private plane, staying in remote lodges and hotels, hiking in rain and cloud forests, floating down rivers, visiting archeological sites and hiking and bird and wildlife watching.
Though relatively small in size, Costa Rica is home to one of the highest levels of bio-diversity in the world. The country’s cloud forests, humid lowlands, dry forests and mangrove swamps are some of the 6 ecological zones and more than 12 ecosystems that are home to more than 900 species of birds. All of this in an area about the size of West Virginia.
Betsy grew up in Wisconsin, near the shores of Lake Michigan. She stated that she owes her love of the outdoors to her parents who took the family on hikes and canoe trips. Betsy went on to volunteer with the U.S. Forest Service and eventually got a degree in Forestry and Natural Resources. Her subsequent Forest Service career spanned four western states. She then spent two years with the Bureau of Land Management working on the management plan for the newly created Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument in Utah. After the management plan was completed, she moved to Montana to work on the Bitterroot National Forest, Stevensville Ranger District and retired five years ago. She is married, has a dog, two horses and a pair of Red-tailed hawks that nest in her front yard. Betsy is also the Education Chairperson for Bitterroot Audubon Society.