La Reserva Forest Foundation

La Reserva Forest Foundation is a Costa Rican non-profit, tax exempt foundation working to restore and preserve native tropical forests, dedicated to creating "tree bridges" linking isolated forest islands using volunteers and the local school communities, and fighting global warming through various carbon neutral projects.
Aug 11, 2014

San Luis Forest Thanks You, Once Again

Mariano receiving his annual PES check
Mariano receiving his annual PES check

Thanks to YOU this project has been funded once more and almost exactly one year since it was posted on GlobalGiving in August 2013. This is a record, most definitely and we can’t begin to express our gratitude for supporting this pristine and beloved local forest, one of the last left standing.

Mariano was thrilled to receive his Payment for Environment Services check and plans to make improvements to his farm and purchase school clothing and supplies for his children.

Before we gave Mariano his check, however, we went for a walk in the forest to make sure everything is untouched. We call it an inspection but that doesn’t sound very fun. Check out the photos of YOUR forest…it’s removing over 200 metric tons of GHG emissions out of our atmosphere annually and storing it. As long as the forest stays so does the carbon (except the natural decomposition processes in the forest ecosystem).

You are well on your way to being carbon neutral and we will do this every year for Mariano and YOU. Please watch for this project again, I’m re-upping it for the 2014 – 2015 PES’s. We are raising the yearly stipend on all PES’s that are being paid to $100/hectare/year, as well.

San Luis forest trail
San Luis forest trail
Tarzan swing = natural fun
Tarzan swing = natural fun
Lake Arenal shore line, water level down this year
Lake Arenal shore line, water level down this year
Big Fig in the San Luis forest
Big Fig in the San Luis forest

Links:

Jul 30, 2014

SUCCESSFUL EDUCATIONAL REFORESTATION PROJECT

Passing out trees to be planted
Passing out trees to be planted

Since our last report we haven’t been sitting around. LRFF has planted over 6000 trees and many of those trees have been collected and planted by local school children in the communities we serve. These are our “stakeholders”, the Guardians of the Future Forests.

The entire student body at the local Jardin de Niños learned why tropical forests are important and how to implement a native reforestation project step by step. First we gave an entertaining presentation about tropical forests and the next week the students came to the La Reserve forest preserve to experience the rich biodiversity of a virgin forest and learn how to collect tree seedlings from the forest floor. They planted these in the nursery we helped them create from recycled containers at the school. Six months from that day (we figure November 2014) we will plant the 200 trees in the side yard of the school to increase the tree species diversity and provide a “living” classroom for future students.

Then on July 17th we planted the last of the 6000 trees in the “For The Monkeys” project. This is the last of the three-project combo that Strack Premier Transportation has been sponsoring in their Give Back With Strack” Initiative to offset all of the limousine company’s 2013 GHG emissions. 

It was a great day, all planned. Gretchen, Jimmy and I arrived at the little elementary school in the center of the village of Delicias. The student body followed us, single file, to the entrance of Elias Cruz’s farm where the final area was waiting to be planted. Even the local police chief came to help out. When we got to the entrance that was the end of single file, the boys took off running to the horror of their teachers who were accompanying us.

The holes were dug and I passed out baby trees to the kids to distribute at each hole. When that was accomplished we all planted the 150 final trees in less than 20 minutes. We walked over to a small area reserved for planting 16 trees purchased for the Commune Utopia in the virtual world of Second Life. Watch the video, we planted 16 trees in just 1 minute.  

The happy ending to all of this…the neighbor adjacent to the corridor we just planted on Elias’s property is now waiting for us to fund his own little project of 1½ hectare (4 acres). It will connect and increase the habitat for the monkeys even more. The property is also right across the street in front of the school and Fabio, the owner of the property, is a director of schools working for the Ministry of Education in San Jose.

Another snowball effect of our work…the police chief took us to an even smaller village nearby on the Nicaraguan border where the school wants to reforest the schoolyard of 1 hectare (2 ½ acres) and create a 15 meter biological on the San Ramon river passing through the community of the same name. The environmental destruction in this area has been hidden from view and something must happen soon to save the river and the small lake that’s drying up at nearby Camilla Reserve.

You see, we’ve been busy and this Liberia project is the same story. When it is funded we will get started restoring the University of Liberia’s research forest and then the snowball effect will enable us all to restore all of the beautiful forests that have been destroyed there causing so much sickness, suffering and lack of ecological diversity in this war torn country. Come on everyone…

LET’S GET PLANTING!

Heading out to plant some trees
Heading out to plant some trees
Police chief and the boys, been planting
Police chief and the boys, been planting
Selfie with the kids
Selfie with the kids

Links:

Jul 30, 2014

Planting With The Kids

Angel planting with care and joy
Angel planting with care and joy

Surrounded by nearly 50 giggling elementary school children, I set out with LRFF’s Roberta Ward Smiley and Jimmy Acosta through a flooded cow pasture near Upala, Costa Rica to plant trees as a part of our foundation’s “For the Monkeys” project. Titled as such because of the importance of the area for Howler Monkeys, Spider Monkeys, and White-Faced Monkeys, the project includes expanding a forested river corridor by roughly 6,000 trees of over 100 different varieties. However, I quickly discovered that planting with the school children that day was more an exercise in planting ideas in the minds of Costa Rican kids than planting seedlings in Costa Rican soil. 

Just a few weeks earlier, when preparing for the planting, we learned from local workers that many of the people surrounding the project viewed the local monkeys as more of a nuisance than a valuable (and increasingly threatened) population. Without the support of the local community, new or recovering forests and their many animal inhabitants are unlikely to prosper. Because of this reality, community outreach is an important part of many of our projects, including “For the Monkeys.” Thus, to help educate and enthuse the local community, we met with the director of the local elementary school – a quick, five-minute walk away from the planting site. She agreed that a field trip to the planting site would be an educational, hands-on experience for the local children, and a fun way for them to learn about LRFF’s work and the importance of tropical forests.

…And so we found ourselves leading a group of neatly uniformed children through waist-high grass and muddy puddles, their laughs, screams and chatter complementing the calls of the insects, birds and monkeys. Although we at LRFF rarely meet a group as excited as we are about planting trees, on this day we were undoubtedly outshined by the tiny hands eagerly reaching for trees and lovingly patting down handfuls of dirt around the freshly planted seedlings. In less than 40 minutes, our petite but powerful posse planted over 150 trees.

While the children learned about the local flora, fauna and planting process, I received a lesson in the unbridled enthusiasm of Costa Rica’s littlest environmentalists. As the policy-makers, farmers, landowners, entrepreneurs and scientists of tomorrow, these children are truly the key to conservation. If we can continue to nurture their natural passion for the environment, I think our forests have a very bright future.

On the way to plant some trees!
On the way to plant some trees!
Handing out the trees
Handing out the trees
Jimmy, the police, Roberta and students
Jimmy, the police, Roberta and students

Links:

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