Corcovado Foundation

Mission The Corcovado Foundation is a key player in the strengthening of the protected wild areas, the promotion of environmental education, sustainable tourism and community participation throughout the sustainable use of the natural resources in the South Pacific area of Costa Rica.
Jun 23, 2014

Visitors bring "priceless" educational tools

Children at the Santa Juana School
Children at the Santa Juana School

Santa Juana Community is nestled on the luscious jungle terraces of Fila Chonta, overlooking the Central Pacific Coastline of Costa Rica.

Although the Costa Rican educational system has reached 95% of its population, the truth is that this remote community, as with so many other rural communities in the country, faces enormous budget limitations. The scarcity of their resources, the seclusion to provide qualified teachers, and the fact that there are only 5 students in total in the elementary school in Santa Juana, make the situation even more challenging.

Our project has included two initiatives to supply the many needs that these students have. One example was this last April when we hosted a pilot Yoga Program of North Americans to Santa Juana to enjoy both the tranquil village atmosphere and hospitality, as well the Spa and Yoga meditation platforms beside the Rio Rodeo, surrounded by the Oasis Gardens that are cared for by members of the community employed by Greentique Hotel’s rural tourism programs.

Our allies at Greentique Hotels had asked the tour operator of Leaning Journeys, by Perillo Travel in New Jersey, to invite the tour participants to bring along school supplies for the primary school of Santa Juana. Andres, whose the head of the school committee, provided a list of art supplies needed, along with new dictionaries and other items, and what evolved was a connection between the school, our tour package programs with travel agents and their clients, and the students, their teacher and entire community of Santa Juana who enjoy sharing their school initiatives with visitors from North America and beyond who will now continue to bring valuable donations for education and in turn take back valuable memories of their experiences with the local community and natural attractions shared in the guided tour program offerings.

It’s quite encouraging to see how, by just fulfilling part of the list of school supplies that possibly can fit in each visitor’s suitcase, how much is gained in both public relations as well as for the young students who benefit from the art supplies, dictionaries and other items on the school’s “Wish List”.

The donated supplies have been great teaching tools; focusing on environmental themes where students learn from their teacher, share their artwork with their parents, and where visitors receive a unique travel experience that is priceless. Members of Greentique Hotels, explained how happy the children were to get all these new supplies. One of them was Ariel Jimenez, age 7, who was so proud to show everyone his artwork, depicting various birds flying over the landscape of Santa Juana, that he displayed his work in front of his house for all the neighbors to see.

Ariel showing off his art supplies
Ariel showing off his art supplies
Santa Juanas School Mural
Santa Juanas School Mural
Jun 4, 2014

A new path for Gustavo and Chichi!

Children at work
Children at work

Chichi and Gustavo, ages 8 and 9, are from the sleepy but beautiful town of El Progreso, in the Drake Bay area. This town is distressed by its poverty. The lack of jobs, the deficient education, and other situations force many residents to move out of town. Many times, the ones who stay must take from nature to satisfy their basic needs. Chichi and Gustavo's father, Jose, is no exception. Known as the most active woodsman in town, Jose logs massive trees without permission in order to feed his family. This, of course, is an illegal practice and could lead to his arrest with jail time if he gets caught. But without proper education, he does not realize the implications this can have on the surrounding ecosystems nor does he see what his absence could do to his family.

 

The kids, on the other hand, are going in a different direction from their father. They are learning to use nature in a responsible way through the Corcovado Foundation's environmental youth program called the Pumas. Assiduous and enthusiastic participants, these brothers are the first ones to show up and the last ones to leave every weekly meeting. These meetings are part of the Foundation's “Creating Environmental Leaders of the new millennium” project which includes four other environmental youth groups in the nearby communities.

These groups are formed by children from different ages ranging from 6 to 12 years. Its objective is to create awareness among local children of the importance of protecting their environment. Through our environmental educator, kids are taught how harmony in the environment is paramount to their own survival and prosperity. They are given examples of how a thriving forest full of animals can used as a permanent source of income through tourism and how certain plants can be harvested responsibly to provide a sustainable source of food and housing.

 The Corcovado Foundation's environmental education program is now 11 years old. More than 50 kids are participating directly in the youth programs in 5 different communities. Over 450 children receive some kind of environmental education class in school at least once a month. In order to maintain and grow this exceptional program we desperately need your help and donations. Gustavo and Chichi have an amazing capacity to track and spot animals in the wild. Those skills could easily help them become proficient hunters, or with the proper guidance, they could become amazing naturalist guides!

 We thank you for all of your support!

Jun 4, 2014

The Community in the Driving Seat

Greetings from the Corcovado Foundation! This year marks a very special moment in our history, as the community association that we have worked with for the last four years, ACOTPRO, takes the driving seat and assumes more control of coordinating the turtle project. Commensurate with the long-term goal of the program, the 2014 nesting season will see the alliance between the Foundation and ACOTPRO mature further, with the local community enthusiastically taking on much greater responsibility while still counting on solid support from a team of biologists provided by the Foundation.

In an exciting new set up, two coordinators from ACOTPRO will team up with two international biologists to ensure that local and volunteer-based activities run harmoniously. ACOTPRO will coordinate their homestay network, night patrols, community work and the construction of the hatchery, and international staff will recruit and coordinate volunteers, provide workshops and training, and assist with the management of the scientific investigation.

The bad news for 2014 is that no major grants were secured for the season, meaning that finances are extremely tight. The program currently only has one half of the funds required to pay for night patrol shifts to search for nesting turtles, meaning that the number of patrols will have to be drastically cut if additional funding is not found, and many turtles and nests may be left vulnerable to poaching. Moreover there is currently no money available to host the Sea Turtle Festival in Drake Bay, a popular annual event that brings local adults, children, businesses and tourists together to celebrate sea turtles and raise awareness about their plight.

 We are desperately appealing to donors to help us make up the shortfall in the budget and allow these important activities to take place. Unless an additional $8,000 can be found, the ability of the program to provide effective protection to the sea turtles of Drake Bay will be severely limited.

During 2013, very few sea turtles came to nest, and so we are expecting especially high numbers this year. We cannot afford to fail the sea turtles at this time, while the population remains in such perilous danger of extinction in the region.

For their part, ACOTPRO has been working tirelessly throughout the year to garner support for their community-led initiative, and have secured assistance from the Ministry of Environment and the Osa municipality. As the main fruit of their efforts, work is about to begin on the construction of a dedicated field station on Drake beach, which will include the turtle hatchery and a secure post from which field work can be coordinated. This will help to transform the experience of volunteers and local staff by improving logistics and providing essential facilities, such as water and cooking equipment, right on the beach.

The Corcovado Foundation will push on with its effort to raise awareness of the program and provide as much training, salaries, volunteers and logistical support as possible to the community of Drake Bay, but as a non-profit organization we cannot do it without the help of donors, such as yourself, who wish to do something to help to protect nature. What seems like a small amount of money back home can go a long way here, and the locals are matching every generous donation with their own selfless voluntary efforts in the field. So please, do whatever you can to help us protect this keystone endangered species, and let’s share the vision of a world in which future generations will also be able to enjoy sea turtles.

The turtles and the community in Drake Bay thank you for your wonderful generosity!

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