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.
Oct 31, 2014

Much Activity in Guatuso

Young chocolate warrior
Young chocolate warrior

While we wait for the “Reforesting Guatuso” project to receive full funding we are definitely not standing still here in Costa Rica. Want to know what we’ve been up to down here? 

LRFF planted 8000 trees in only two months, July to September 2014 and the Maleku indigenous tribe (our planting partners) held their annual Cultural Festival in early October.

 

Planting 8000 Trees

A project previously posted on GlobalGiving, “For The Monkeys” and funded by Strack Premier Transportation was planted (7000 trees) in July with the help of the local school children in Delicias de Upala.

Another small project of 900 trees was planted the first week of September. We planted Helen Hollenbeck's trees September 8th at Nicida Elizondo's property in Palenque Margarita, Maleku Indigenous Reserve, Guatuso. It was a super hot day, full sun and there were 6 of us planting. YES me too! Shouting out a BIG thanks to Beth Hollenbeck for her generous donation to fully fund this project in honor of her late sister, Helen.

Helen was one of LRFF's first supporters, when I founded the organization in 2005 in Costa Rica. She was instrumental in putting together our first, local fundraiser at the nearby "party house". She continued to support our projects until her death almost two years ago. She now has a one-hectare forest along the Rio Sol adjacent to the 35 hectare Rio Sol Biological Corridor project planted in 2011 - 2012 (35,000 trees) and it holds her spirit. These 900+ trees will sequester and store more than 20 metric tons of GHG emissions each year.

We finished the planting by 3 pm and then went to pay Nicida for the trees she raised in her nursery for the six months prior to planting. We planted over 95 native species. 

 

Maleku Cultural Festival

My family, the Maleku indigenous tribe have their annual cultural festival every October, the first weekend. I haven't attended since 2010 but made it a priority this year.  I didn't get many photos but my friend, Hiqui Maleku posted Ricardo Araya's professional quality photos and I wanted to share them with you...

See photos below of the beautiful artwork and various competitive events…bow and arrow, firewood carrying and the Chicha drinking contest. Chicha is the Maleku version of wine or beer, made of fermented Yuca (Cassava), Corn or even Pineapple. This year the contestants were all women and Daisy won by drinking a large bowl in less than 45 seconds. Click to see the video.

Next year join us the first week of October and see you there! In the meantime…

LET’S GET PLANTING!

Winner of the firewood carrying competition
Winner of the firewood carrying competition
Fish anyone, the traditional way?
Fish anyone, the traditional way?
Bow and arrow competition - Jimmy LRFF
Bow and arrow competition - Jimmy LRFF's field man
Weaving event
Weaving event
Blowing the conch shell
Blowing the conch shell
The Lacayo clan
The Lacayo clan
Area of 900 trees planted September 8th
Area of 900 trees planted September 8th
Yours truly planting! :)
Yours truly planting! :)

Links:

Oct 9, 2014

What...Failure is a Feat?

Kiki Biological Corridor - Planting Day
Kiki Biological Corridor - Planting Day

Failure is a feat. It’s so true; we’ve learned this at La Reserva Forest Foundation and we’re proud to share our story, especially if it can help another non-profit realize what a valuable experience it is to “fail”.

Our first reforestation projects were informal affairs. We would collect funding to implement the projects by holding a local annual fundraiser. Our first project was a one-kilometer long biological corridor adjacent to La Reserva forest preserve in northern Costa Rica. We were able to plant the project in June 2008 because we collected the funds by throwing a party featuring live music, a silent auction and Mexican cuisine. That was the Kiki Corridor project.

In 2009, we had a big barbecue that included rides on a sailboat in the local port on Lake Arenal with live music and dancing. This time our goal was to fund a project that included three separate areas owned by the same man, a foreign resident here in the lake area. Two of the properties were local in Sabalito and Rio Piedras, while the other was in the Pacific coast community of Paraiso near Playa Junquillal in Guanacaste. We reached our fundraising goal and planted all three properties between June and October 2009, a total of six hectares and 6,000 trees.

One thing should be added here for the purpose of this “failure” story…up until now, we didn’t have any formal agreement or contract with the landowner. We didn’t see any reason for it since the people we were working with were personal friends or neighbors.

As with all of our projects, we maintain the trees for two years after the initial planting to keep them free of vines and grasses. After two years, they’ve usually developed enough to shade out the surrounding vegetation and be left on their own. We completed this maintenance on all three properties from 2009 to 2011, investing substantial amounts of time and funding in the travel, maintenance and wages paid to the crew. One day in 2011 the landowner called us to say he’d brought a “forest engineer” to look at the properties and the “engineer” was horrified with the native species we’d planted. He told the landowner that there was no timber there of any financial value, and that he’d be better off removing the “useless” trees and replacing them with more valuable timber tree species. And you know what? That’s exactly what he did. He cut down the beautiful, native trees we worked so hard to find, raise, and plant in order to establish a diverse forest restoration project – the kind that LRFF is so famous for today.

As difficult as this experience was, we’re grateful because this “failure” led to an airtight contract that we now enter into with all landowners. We sign the contract with them on the same day we pay them for the trees in their nursery and before we begin the planting. The most important clause makes the landowner responsible for the safety of the baby trees, e.g., no spraying of agro-chemicals, no damage to the trees due to broken fencing, livestock, etc., or the landowner is required to reimburse LRFF for the damages. This contract has been tested and proven valid with law enforcement officials and in the courts these past 3 years. You can read all about it in this recent post from May 2014, “Continuing Care for Communities and Forests”.

So you see failure can equal success. Always remember that the crises in our lives are actually the opportunities the universe is bestowing upon us to learn and improve. We’ve planted over 70,000 trees since this story took place, and we continue onward and upward daily.  

Fundraiser Barbecue in Costa Rica for project
Fundraiser Barbecue in Costa Rica for project
School children planting in Sabalito 2009
School children planting in Sabalito 2009
Planting day in Rio Piedras, 2009
Planting day in Rio Piedras, 2009
Police enforcement of LRFF contract, 2014
Police enforcement of LRFF contract, 2014
Sep 25, 2014

A Great Example

Local Jardin de Ninos w/Papa Loco at LRFF reserve
Local Jardin de Ninos w/Papa Loco at LRFF reserve

The “Engaging Minds: Planting Trees, Inspiring Youth” project is a great example of the incredible ancillary benefits that reforestation efforts can deliver while bringing together collaborators from all over the world to support a common cause. “Engaging Minds” isn’t just about planting 800 trees after all – it’s also about the critical services that those trees provide to people (like sequestering and storing carbon), the food and shelter they offer to native fauna (like sloths), and the amazing educational opportunities that planting projects can offer to local people.

The last point is especially significant for “Engaging Minds,” because this project integrates children from the local elementary school, Jardin de Niños, in every step of the project. Students will attend a presentation about LRFF’s work and the importance of Costa Rica’s forests before helping in the collection, care and planting of seedlings. Not only will students learn some valuable lessons about conservation and ecology, but as the future policymakers, users and caretakers of Costa Rica’s forests, the students’ involvement is also critical for the sustainability of reforestation projects countrywide.

Microsoft’s YouthSpark program recognizes the importance of providing young people with these fundamental educational and life experiences, providing funding to projects like “Engaging Minds” to support the training of youth around the world. This means that when you donate to projects like this, your dollars will go even further thanks to matching funds provided by Microsoft.

Our experience with students has only reinforced this important relationship between youth and conservation. At another of our project sites this past July, we set out with 50 children from a local elementary school and planted over 150 trees in just 45 minutes. Their enthusiasm was contagious, and we can’t wait to get back in the field to provide local youth with another planting opportunity.

For these reasons, when you contribute to “Engaging Minds,” you’re helping to support one of our favorite types of projects here at La Reserva Forest Foundation… and we think it’s one of your favorites too! Since we posted this project just three months ago, we’ve already received 11 donations and over $900 in funding. This means we’re well on our way to our $2,048 goal!

However, we still need your continued help and support to get this project fully funded so that the children of Jardin de Niños can have a hands-on educational experience and just one more piece of Costa Rica’s valuable tropical forests can begin to recover.

Happy students planting their nursery
Happy students planting their nursery
Receiving a tree at La Reserva field trip
Receiving a tree at La Reserva field trip

Links:

donate now:

An anonymous donor will match all new monthly recurring donations, but only if 75% of donors upgrade to a recurring donation today.
Terms and conditions apply.
Make a monthly recurring donation on your credit card. You can cancel at any time.
Make a donation in honor or memory of:
What kind of card would you like to send?
How much would you like to donate?
  • $10
    give
  • $20
    give
  • $30
    give
  • $60
    give
  • $75
    give
  • $80
    give
  • $10
    each month
    give
  • $20
    each month
    give
  • $30
    each month
    give
  • $60
    each month
    give
  • $75
    each month
    give
  • $80
    each month
    give
  • $
    give
gift Make this donation a gift, in honor of, or in memory of someone?