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.
Dec 15, 2014

Important News

School children @ Delicias in July 2014
School children @ Delicias in July 2014

Dear GlobalGiving Donors,

I am sending this email out to all donors who made a contribution to the project: Engaging Minds, Inspiring Youth. It has recently come to our attention the project is no longer available to reforest with the school Jardín de los Niños. Through miscommunication between the landowner and LRFF over timelines and expectations, the landowner declined to participate further. This is an unfortunate situation since we worked hard at building the project and relationship with the participants. We also highly regard every donation you make and strive to use your contributions in a way that fulfills the intent of the gift.

However there is good news! We have another project in the works that needs to be funded: It’s for the Monkeys and 60 School Children. This project works with another school in the small village of Delicias de Upala, where the kids will reforest 1.5 hectares (3.75 acres) of forest which connects to an adjacent project planted earlier this year (2014). The adjacency of this project will expand the benefits of the last project by creating more continuous habitat for local wildlife. It also gives the children an opportunity to work on a reforestation project from beginning to end. If all of the donations from Engaging Minds, Inspiring Youth transfer to It’s for the Monkeys and 60 School Children project we will be a third of the way towards funding it.

We hope you all find this new project a great educational opportunity for another community as we work towards reclaiming the land for forests and wildlife. Please visit the project page for It’s for the Monkeys and 60 School Children to find out more information from reports and pictures at our last planting near the proposed site. Thank you for understanding and all of us here at La Reserva Forest Foundation appreciate the support and generosity of our donors and volunteers.

Let’s Keep Planting!

 

Sincerely,

Roberta Ward Smiley

Founder and Executive Director 

&

Matthew Lee

Board President- LRFF US

Passing out trees to students in Delicias, July
Passing out trees to students in Delicias, July
The new property where the trees will be planted
The new property where the trees will be planted
Giving jobs tol community members and butterflies
Giving jobs tol community members and butterflies

Links:

Nov 14, 2014

Funding family forests

LRFF founder, Roberta, and property owner, Mariano
LRFF founder, Roberta, and property owner, Mariano

Just a short distance from La Reserva forest preserve, we visited Mariano Monge’s property on the shores of Lake Arenal in northwestern Costa Rica this summer. It was a special occasion – we were delivering Mariano and his family a payment for the environmental services that his 14-hectare (approximately 35-acre) forest provides.  

Payments for environmental or ecosystem services (PES) are one way of recognizing and incentivizing landowners like Mariano to manage their land in a way that provides natural services such as sequestering and storing carbon, fostering biodiversity and supporting healthy watersheds. For Mariano, these payments are critical because they allow him to keep his land naturally forested while still supporting his family. Without these payments, Mariano would have to turn to clearing the forests, developing the land or raising crops and cattle in order to earn an income.

Native, tropical forests like Mariano’s are especially important to preserve because of their richness in biodiversity and role in absorbing carbon dioxide that would otherwise remain in the atmosphere and contribute to climate change. In fact, Costa Rica is considered to be one of the 20 most biodiverse countries in the world, harboring an estimated 4% of total species worldwide despite covering only .03% of the planet’s surface.

Walking through Mariano’s property that day, the richness of the species in his forest was apparent. Sloths, monkeys, and toucans were just a few of the animals we saw in less than an hour, not to mention more species of insects than we could count! Part of the area’s biological corridor, his forest critically connects with other green spaces to allow native animals to travel between forested “islands” in order to find food, shelter and potential mates. The forest’s position on the shores of Lake Arenal also makes Mariano’s property an important filter for water flowing into the lake and a key tool against erosion that can threaten aquatic ecosystems.

Unfortunately, many of Mariano’s neighbors have already sacrificed the important environmental services that tropical forests provide in order to earn a living. Since World War II, an astonishing 80% of Costa Rica’s forests have been cleared or heavily degraded. Although the rate of deforestation in Costa Rica has slowed since the late 70s and much of Costa Rica’s forest cover is protected, many private landowners are still under great economic pressure to deforest their lands.

Forests like Mariano’s are a uniquely important but ever-threatened resource in today’s world. However, with your help we can better understand and address the economic drivers of deforestation through PES and support both local livelihoods and lake-side forests today!

One of the many inhabitants of Mariano
One of the many inhabitants of Mariano's forest
The shores of Lake Arenal
The shores of Lake Arenal
Owner, Mariano, walks us to his family forest
Owner, Mariano, walks us to his family forest
Nov 6, 2014

A Warm and Fuzzy One

Clowning around in the forest
Clowning around in the forest

It’s For The Monkeys and 60 School Children is a project that is near and dear to our hearts. This project is a continuation by expanding on a previous project called It’s For The Monkeys. That project was designed to help three different species of monkeys return to lands that were once cleared of its trees in the Delicias de Upala. La Reserva invited a local school group from the same village to help plant the last remaining trees for the project. The students were so excited to help that the planting crew, who were digging holes, could not keep up with the kids planting! There was so much excitement and activity from the planting party, a local landowner Fabio Trepovicht, a school teacher as well, approached our Executive Director, Roberta, inquiring about what was going on. She explained to him about La Reserva, the project and why the school kids were there helping. Fabio became instantly interested in LRFF’s work. He explained how he wanted to reforest the total area of his adjacent land that had been cleared many years before. The land is along the Guacalito River, valuable riparian habitat for species needing to access the water. By reforesting this section of river on his property it would also help reduce the erosion and keep the river from cutting into the banks.

Roberta decided this project would be a great way for the school children to take a more active role in implementing the reforestation project, besides just planting the trees. (Be sure to see the attached photos of previous educational programs LRFF has implemented) The kids could be responsible for starting the nursery, collecting the baby trees, learning to identify the species, and caring for them for the six months needed before planting. The children could also observe over time how the forest returns by following up with maintenance and monitoring, the school is directly across the street from the property. This is how the It’s For The Monkeys and 60 School Children project began.

At this point the project has received very little funding; however by getting this project funded we can continue to engage more landowners and communities in this process. As an organization we have been promoting this project on our social media and website. We have been looking for a corporate sponsor to fund it, but we are also hoping for a mix of funding by small individual donors. Our individual donors bring a passionate response and genuinely care about environmental education and habitat restoration. The more donors who become involved and lend support, the more people talk about the success of a project. We would like to thank our entire supporters who have donated to past projects, who know about our good work and commitment to the communities we work with. What we need is a way to connect these projects that have enormous benefits to the environment and the people who live nearby to a wider audience. We feel if more people hear about our work the more support we will receive to make a difference. How can loyal supporters of La Reserva and Global Giving help spread the word about how to reverse climate change to people who may not know?

First step is a presentation at the school
First step is a presentation at the school
Second step, walk in the forest to collect trees
Second step, walk in the forest to collect trees
Collecting trees in the forest
Collecting trees in the forest
Third step, plant trees in nursery at school
Third step, plant trees in nursery at school
Students care for trees 6 months before planting
Students care for trees 6 months before planting
Planting day
Planting day
Hands planting with reverence
Hands planting with reverence

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