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.
Oct 28, 2013

New horizons for the turtle program!

Accounting workshop
Accounting workshop

Greetings from the Corcovado Foundation Sea Turtle Conservation Program! Every turtle season is different, and 2013 has witnessed some big changes and some positive steps forward for the community of El Progreso. The program has welcomed more volunteers than ever to Drake Bay this year, up around 30% compared to 2012, and more volunteers are participating for four weeks or more. In order to increase support the local community conservation association, ACOTPRO, it is also now mandatory for all volunteers to spend at least a week in a homestay house, and most prefer to stay in their houses for the entirety of their stay. This has led to a dramatic increase in income for the houses in the homestay network, earning 60% more in just four months this year than they earned during the entire 2012 season! Nine local houses have now been established as ACOTPRO homestays, and families have begun to divide income from their households so that even more members can benefit. So far sixteen members have received income this year from housing volunteers, up from nine in 2012.

 

The story from the nesting turtles though is less positive, and the 2013 season has reminded everyone just how endangered the sea turtles are and how they are teetering on the brink of extinction in Drake Bay. During the period 01 July to 15 October 2013 just 72 turtles came to nest on Drake Beach. This is the lowest number of nests registered during this period in any season since 2006 and the hatchery sadly remains only half full. We all sincerely hope that this reduction in numbers is just part of a long-term cycle in nesting activity, and that the village will find lots more turtles nesting next year. One piece of very good news is that Drake Bay seems to be once again welcoming rare species to its nesting beaches. In 2011, 2012 and 2013, endangered Pacific Green turtles were found on Drake Beach and their nests incubated in the hatchery. This year, for the first time since in perhaps ten years, critically endangered Pacific Hawksbill turtles have laid nests on the beach! This came as a great shock to the team of locals and biologists since no one had actually witnessed the adult female nesting… it only became clear when hatchlings were being released from a nest on the beach that these beautiful little coffee-colored babies were very different from the normal gray Olive Ridley turtles that the team was used to (see photos!).

 

The turtle camp has received lots of special attention this season, as the new building continues to be improved and modified by the volunteers. New infrastructure built this year includes a spacious clothes-drying building, new paths and gardens, and a hydroponic allotment in which the volunteers have already begun to cultivate their own lettuce, basil, cilantro, peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes and onions.

 

The training program for ACOTPRO has increased in intensity, as the Corcovado Foundation attempts to provide the locals with all of the skills that they will need in order to run their own turtle conservation project and volunteer program in 2014. Activities have so far included a business plan exercise and formulation of the vision and mission of the organization, an accounting workshop, and a volunteer-led workshop to improve the ACOTPRO website, in order to make their program more attractive to international volunteers. The next phase includes workshops to assist with team planning, and the division of responsibilities between the ACOTPRO associates, the formulation of volunteer coordination protocols and tools, and the creation of their own training presentations and manuals. Efforts will continue into 2014 to provide support to ACOTPRO during this transition, while the Corcovado Foundation also starts to support additional communities in the Osa Peninsula.

 

From 2014 onwards the Corcovado Foundation plans to begin working with the Ministry of Environment (MINAET) to protect one of the most important sea turtle nesting beaches in the Osa: the beaches of the Río Oro National Wildlife Refuge. Plans are shaping up already so watch this space for more information, and let’s continue to save the turtles of the Osa and support the rural communities in their mission to develop sustainable ecotourism and protect their unique environment for future generations to enjoy.

 

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

Volunteers planting vegetables
Volunteers planting vegetables
The new hydroponic allotment
The new hydroponic allotment
Training ACOTPRO patrol leaders
Training ACOTPRO patrol leaders
Baby Hawksbill turtles!
Baby Hawksbill turtles!
Sep 16, 2013

Four new projects to help in the Osa Peninsula

In June 2013, 12 new initiatives  presented their development projects to the Osa Community Support Fund  (FACOSA).  The fund will disburse $12,000 dollars to 4 projects in two different communities.  Funding was raised 25% through donations collected in Globalgiving, 25% by other donations raised by the Corcovado Foundation and a 100% matching fund provided by the Interamerican Foundation.   

  • The first project promoting rural tourism in the community of Rancho Quemado  will support existing efforts to allow the local population to participate in the tourism economy and become self-sufficient.
  • A second project in Rancho Quemado will promote sports activities and family interaction and entertainment, for the health of the community.
  • The third grant is for the development of a woman’s  group in the town of El Progreso that will empower them, for the betterment of their families and neighborhoods. 
  • The last project will build a potable, drinking water, system that will vastly improve the lives of the people in El Progreso.

The people who will be helped by these initiatives must provide a counterpart of man hours working directly on the projects or by doing work that helps the whole area, such as reforesting watershed lands or reclaiming pasture land. The funding for all of these communal efforts will be terminated by December 2014, so more resources will need to be raised.

Your ongoing support through Globalgiving will help us fund projects that will have a direct impact on the quality of life of the local communities.

Thank you
again for generous support.

Jul 26, 2013

The 2013 season begins!

The Corcovado Foundation Sea Turtle Conservation Program has never been busier. After seven years of protecting the turtles working alongside the local community, and raising awareness of the need to conserve the Osa Peninsula, the program is receiving more volunteers than ever. More members of the community have become involved with the program too, opening their doors to house the volunteers in ‘homestays’ in the village. The initiative has forged beautiful friendships and offers a wonderful vehicle for cultural exchange, with most volunteers ranking the homestay experience as the highlight of their trip to Costa Rica. Moreover, it has succeeded in generating extra income for locals through the sustainable use of their sea turtles, and has committed many more families to the aims of the program.

July marks the beginning of the nesting season for the Olive Ridley turtle in Costa Rica and so far the program has found three turtles in the last few nights! The construction of the hatchery has also been completed, with space for up to 120 nests, and the vigilance tower has undergone a complete restoration. Volunteers are currently working hard patrolling the beaches at night, and placing reference posts and removing trash during the day. In addition volunteers have been busy at the camp constructing and decorating a new office for the program, and will soon embark on building a new hydroponic vegetable patch at the camp, to try their hand at some sustainable agriculture. Other community project work has included building a new recycling sorting center and painting the Foundation’s education center in Drake Bay (Agujitas).

Training has begun to give local Patrol Leaders a refresher course ready to begin paid night patrols and shifts in the hatchery, and workshops will soon start to provide basic training to all members of the local conservationist association (ACOTPRO). Since 2013 will be the last season where the Foundation will be assisting ACOTPRO with the turtle program in Drake Bay, a series of workshops will begin shortly to link the association up with volunteer networks and improve their website, so that they can start to attract their own volunteers ready for 2014 and beyond.

All of the work so far this year was only made possible by generous donations made by local businesses, not-for-profit institutions, and concerned individuals like yourselves. Unfortunately the ongoing financial crisis has added extra pressure on donors in recent times, and the Foundation’s Environmental Education program in Drake Bay – which has been running for ten years – now faces closure unless extra funds can be found. This program encompasses the most important work that the Foundation does and it will have the biggest impact of all of its activities in the long run. Thanks to the free education that this program has integrated into the curriculum of local schools, a new generation of locals will grow up to take controls of local projects and tourism enterprises and see that they develop in a sustainable way, in harmony with the precious environment of the Osa Peninsula.

Please dig deep and give whatever you can to the program this season, and help us to permit the sustainable development of Drake Bay and protect its unique wildlife for future generations to enjoy.

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

 

Dr Rob James
Coordinator of Sea Turtle Conservation Program
Corcovado Foundation
Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica
Email: robert@corcovadofoundation.org
Web: www.corcovadofoundation.org
Facebook: www.facebook.com/playadraketortugas
 

donate now:

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?
  • $20
    give
  • $55
    give
  • $110
    give
  • $770
    give
  • $1,540
    give
  • $3,300
    give
  • $20
    each month
    give
  • $55
    each month
    give
  • $110
    each month
    give
  • $770
    each month
    give
  • $1,540
    each month
    give
  • $3,300
    each month
    give
  • $
    give
gift Make this donation a gift, in honor of, or in memory of someone?