ASANA (Friends of Nature, Central and Southern Pacific Coast) Costa Rica

The mission of ASANA is to secure the long-term conservation of the Path of the Tapir Biological Corridor and surrounding natural areas by empowering local communities and residents to take action in support of conservation actions. In particular, we support the development of local community organizations, cooperation among government and non-governmental organizations, and environmental education. We serve as a local coordinator of research activities, and we act as advocate when required to address high-priority needs.
Aug 20, 2014

The Challenges of Local Conservation in Costa Rica

ASANA continues to plug along and do the best it can with the limited resources it has to help conserve the Savegre River Watershed.   The main focus of our efforts over the past few months has been to secure significant funding through local institutional donors here in Costa Rica.  This, ironically, has been quite a challenge…. Let me explain a little of the context…

For those for you who are not fully aware of the “business” of global conservation, historically the “Big International Non-Governmental Organizations” (or affectionately known as “BINGOs”), primarily based in the US, have dominated international conservation efforts. In Central and South America, this has included four main US-based BINGOs.  In Costa Rica, three of these four BINGOs have historically been active.  Despite the generally favorable image of Costa Rica in conservation circles over the years, much of the work has actually been financed by US private and public donors through these BINGOs. However, to Costa Rica’s great misfortune, all three of these US-based BINGOs have all but pulled out completely from Costa Rica conservation over the past five years.  Sadly, even where they do still work, these organizations no longer fund “place-based” conservation projects – projects like our very own “Savegre Forever! Project – but instead claim to be funding bigger (but significantly less tangible), more “policy-based” initiatives…

All this means that small Costa Rican non-governmental organizations (local “NGOs” like ASANA) have access to significantly less financial resources than they did just a few years ago. Many small conservation organizations have had to close their doors because of the void in funding left by the departure of the three US-based BINGOs.  ASANA has been one of the lucky ones to survive – so far… We’ve done this because we have been able to access some local donor funding (for example, small grants from the Costa Rica office of The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the CR-USA Debt-for-Nature Swap Fund (“Canje Por Deuda”).  We are currently working with another Costa Rica-based donor to help us in our Savegre work.

But, nothing has gotten us through this rough-patch more consistently and notably than the support we receive through GlobalGiving.  It is not hyperbole to say: “We could not have survived without GlobalGiving and your support.” GlobalGiving has given us the platform to reach individual donors who want to see Costa Rica’s majestic natural resources conserved.  We are eternally grateful to GlobalGiving and you for your continued support and we hope you find it in your heart to make another contribution – however small you may think it to be – to ASANA and our efforts to conserve the Savegre River Watershed.  A little goes a long, long way with a small local organization like ASANA…

Thanks!

Jul 7, 2014

Reaching Out to Communities

Greetings from the Path of the Tapir Biological Corridor.  We’ve spent a lot of time on community outreach this last quarter as we begin to wrap up both of our remaining substantial grants: a “Debt-for-Nature Swap” (go to this link if you wish to learn more: www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debt-for-nature_swap) and a small grant from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). With funding from UNDP we designed and commissioned signs that we have placed at the three major road entrances in the Corridor.  We’ve also worked with three local communities to paint beautiful wall murals depicting scenes from the Corridor. As part of this effort, we have been able to revive our community and school outreach program and have visited various communities along the length of the Corridor to raise awareness, focusing our World Environment Day (June 5) efforts on two strategically located communities – Portalón and Uvita. One of our board members accompanied our executive director on an over-flight, (donated by CAVU - www.cavusite.org), of the Corridor that proved very informative. We were able to observe areas where natural reforestation is happening quickly and other, more problematic areas where new housing construction is threating already precarious points of important connectivity in the Corridor. Finally, did you know that almost 100% of all the water that we use in the communities of the Path of the Tapir is actually generated by the Corridor? Water production is such an important function of the Path of the Tapir that we have initiated the Corridor’s first full inventory of rivers, streams, and springs to better ensure the long-term conservation of this vital resource.

 

As always, we thank you for your continued support of ASANA!

Apr 16, 2014

Re-envisioning the Savegre Biosphere Reserve

ASANA hopes that 2014 proves to be the year that we successfully get Savegre declared a Biosphere Reserve.  Major tasks like this one – getting formal international recognition of the biological importance of an area such as the Savegre – are never easy to accomplish and require a lot of perseverance and patience.  But we are getting close and we appreciate your support as we continue our efforts.

 Here are some highlights of what is happening right now:

  • We coordinated overflights with CAVU to monitor the state of the watershed and get good aerial photographs of pristine areas and major threats to conservation.
  • We are redrafting the UNESCO proposal to declare Savegre a Biosphere Reserve.
  • We are developing various proposals to finance the final stages of getting the Savegre declared a Biosphere Reserve.
  • We have received generous donations of photos, videos, and satellite images to begin to put together a promotional video of the Savegre Biosphere Reserve and the Path of the Tapir Biological Corridor.
  • We will be working with the Panthera Foundation to do a scientific study of various species of cats – including jaguar, puma, ocelot, jaguarondi, and margay – in the Savegre Watershed.
  • We are working with Park authorities and other governemnt agencies to include Manual Antonio National Park – Costa Rica’s most visited nation park – in the Savegre Watershed Biosphere Reserve. 

We're getting there... Somtimes more slowly that we would like, but like I said... "perseverance and patience"! Again, thanks for your continued support.

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