Sometimes educational experiences outside the classroom are where the most powerful lessons hit home.

Such was the case for Malcolm Rowe, a Fairfield resident and a middle school student at the Six to Six Magnet School in Bridgeport, who traveled to Costa Rica to spend part of the summer in an experiential learning program. Rowe studied ecology, marine biology, geology, conservation and native cultures while in Costa Rica, gaining hands-on experience in the process.

He traveled with his teacher, Amy Warren, for eight days during July, exploring the Costa Rican rainforests.

"We were fortunate, through the Discovery Student Adventures program, to partake in this amazing adventure," said Warren. "The students' dedicated and rigorous fundraising efforts made the trip possible."

Rowe and the other students were able to learn about conservation in the Gandoca Manzanillo Refuge. They also traveled to the Tirimbina Reserve, where they were able to study the diverse plant and fruit life. The students were able to view the eruption of the Arenal volcano, discover a secret waterfall and visit the BriBri village, home to indigenous people who taught the students how to rely solely on the environment for survival.

"We learned how to make chocolate, a bow and arrow and weave roofs out of palm leaves with the BriBri people," said Warren. "Our ecology lessons included the importance of protecting the environment and, to help save the endangered green macaw, we planted 200 trees on the rainforest edge."

While the students traveled to Costa Rica to learn about the environment there, they were also able to meet students from their own country who joined them on the trip.

"Our students met other students on the trip from New Mexico, New Jersey, South Carolina and Tennessee," said Warren. "The trip was an amazing learning experience for me and the students. They learned so many valuable lessons and applied classroom education in the most authentic ways possible."

Warren said she plans to take students on a similar adventure to Spain and Portugal in 2011.

The Six to Six Magnet School's goal is to is to foster educational excellence and lifelong learning in an atmosphere that honor's each child's physical, intellectual, social and emotional needs within a diverse school community based on mutual respect and sense of social conscience. The school serves students in Pre-K through eighth grade from the greater Bridgeport region including, Fairfield, Monroe, Trumbull, Stratford, Shelton, Ansonia, Milford and New Haven.