Cocos Island National Park includes not only small Cocos Island itself, but also a large reef area surrounding the island that is home to many rare tropical marine organisms:
Cocos Island National Park is located in the Eastern Tropical Pacific, covering an area of 202,100 hectares some 530 kilometers off the Costa Rica mainland. The island itself, “Isla del Coco,” also known as “Treasure Island,” is the only landmark of the vast submarine Cocos Range. With a surface area of 2,400 hectares it supports the only humid tropical forest on an oceanic island in the Eastern Tropical Pacific. The remaining 199,700 hectares protect not only diverse marine ecosystems, mostly pelagic, but also the most diverse coral reefs of the entire Eastern Tropical Pacific. Thanks to its remote location and conservation efforts, the biologically highly diverse property constitutes one of the best conserved marine tropical waters, well-known as a world-class diving destination. The property belongs to the Eastern Tropical Pacific Marine Corridor, a marine conservation network, which also includes World Heritage properties in Colombia, Ecuador and Panama.
Natural population densities of large top predators indicate a near pristine conservation status of a property that is among the most important sites in the Eastern Tropical Pacific for the protection of large pelagic migratory species, such as the endangered Scalloped Hammerhead Shark and the near-threatened Silky Shark and Galapagos Shark. Due to its geographical position, the oceanic island of volcanic origin is the first landmark met by the North Equatorial Countercurrent and a point of confluence of other marine currents. This makes it a dispersing centre of larvae of marine species from various parts of the Pacific Ocean. In its land portion, the property hosts a remarkable degree of endemism across most diverse taxonomic groups. There are, for instance, three endemic bird species, two endemic freshwater fish and two endemic reptile species. Cocos Island National Park is of irreplaceable global conservation value, reminding us what parts of tropical oceans historically looked like. (World Heritage Centre #820)
You can find a gallery of additional photos of Cocos Island National Park on the World Heritage Centre’s website.
World Heritage Sites are cultural or natural landmarks of international significance, selected by their home countries and recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. More than a thousand such sites have been designated in over 160 countries, and we feature one every Wednesday, drawn from one of our homeschool countries-of-the-week. You can find a complete list of World Heritage Sites online at the World Heritage Centre’s website and in Wikipedia.
The World Heritage Centre also has a free and comprehensive World Heritage education kit for teachers, as well as a wonderful full-color wall map of World Heritage Sites, available for the cost of shipping. Why not add them both to your own homeschool library. 🗺
What world treasures have you and your students explored in your homeschool this Cygnus Term? 😊
❡ The great globe itself: This is one of our regular Homeschool Geography posts featuring cultural and natural sites of international importance. Print your own copy of our River Houses World Heritage Calendar and follow along with us as we tour the planet, and add your name to our weekly mailing list to get great homeschool teaching ideas delivered right to your mailbox all through the year. 🌐
❡ Print this little lesson: Down at the bottom of this post you’ll find a special “Print” button that will let you create a neat and easy-to-read copy of this little lesson, and it will even let you edit and delete sections you don’t want or need (such as individual images or footnotes). Give it a try today! 🖨
❡ Books in the running brooks: You can always turn to your River Houses almanac, atlas, and history encyclopedia for more information about any of our countries-of-the-week. The almanac has a lengthy section with detailed profiles of all the nations of the world; the endpapers of the atlas are indexes that will show you where all of the individual national and regional maps may be found; the history encyclopedia has a comprehensive collection of national histories in an appendix; and you can find additional illustrations, flags, and other mentions through the indexes in each of these volumes. For an ideal little lesson, just write the name of the Weekly World Heritage Site on your homeschool bulletin board, find its location in your atlas, read the WHC’s brief description aloud, look at a picture or two, and you’re done. Over the course of the year, without even realizing it, your students will absorb a wealth of new historical, geographical, and cultural information. 🇨🇷
❡ Homeschool calendars: We have a whole collection of free, printable, educational homeschool calendars and planners available on our main River Houses calendar page. They will all help you create a light and easy structure for your homeschool year. Give them a try today! 🗓
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❡ Join us! The aim of the River Houses project is to create a network of friendly local homeschool support groups — local chapters that we call “Houses.” Our first at-large chapter, Headwaters House, is now forming and is open to homeschoolers everywhere. Find out how to become one of our founding members on the Headwaters House membership page. 🏡