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.
Dec 1, 2016

Hurricane Otto: Urgent Call for Donations

Rivers flooded
Rivers flooded

 

Hurricane Otto, the first hurricane to make landfall in Costa Rica since records began, has been just one part of our troubles this month at our sea turtle project in Rio Oro.

In this tropical and remote location, our volunteers and coordinators generally enjoy the beauty of the Pacific Ocean, the green of the jungle and the blue of the sky. What we were not prepared for, was an unusually late monsoon season. On November 13th, a cloak of gray clouds descended upon us and soon, thunderstorms and rain cut off our communication with the outside world.

Our brave volunteers sat in wait for the rain to stop. Here in the Southern Pacific of Costa Rica, locals are always optimistic… “Pura Vida. The rain will stop soon.” Unfortunately for us and the turtles, this was not the case.

Our sea turtle project is located between two large rivers and in these heavy rains they had flooded to such an extent that no cars were able to enter nor leave. We were stranded. Volunteers passed the time playing board games by candlelight as we watched our food supplies dwindle. Thanks to the national emergency service, our community received a delivery by military truck. And many of our volunteers were able to return home. We thought the worst was over.

Then we heard the news. A tropical storm in the Caribbean Sea was headed for Costa Rica and it was rapidly forming into Hurricane Otto. At this point, we had to make a decision. Stay, or go. On the 22nd of November we decided to make a move.  It was the first time they had faced an evacuation and it was strangely exhilarating when we set off. That feeling was immediately erased when we saw the river Piro. Twenty meters of deep brown rushing water that we would have to cross on foot.

Step by step, we made it across. Our salvation waiting for us on the other side. A taxi! For the rest of the week our coordinators weathered the storm in Puerto Jimenez (the only large town in the Osa Peninsula) and our volunteers made it safely back to their home countries. What an adventure!

Now, as we return to our camp in Rio Oro, we are asking our followers and donors to help us rebuild our project for the coming month. Since the evacuation, only our long-term coordinators remain at the project and we desperately need your help to recommence our conservation work. Roads, rivers and homes remain flooded here and we are desperate to work on helping our community and our beloved sea turtles.

During the last 4 months, 2346 sea turtles have been registered in Rio Oro.  Our presence prevents egg poachers from stealing their eggs.  We have been walking the beach tirelessly 3 times a night during these months on a very limited budget!  Help us complete this effort and make it until the end of the season.  

 

Please give generously today to our Hurricane Otto appeal for donations. We thank you for your support and for all the messages we have received these past few weeks expressing your concern.

Oct 3, 2016

Rural Tourism "Grows" a Community in many ways

Santa Juana
Santa Juana's Children

According to The Code.org, a non profit organization that promotes responsible tourism, in order to maximize economic, social and environmental benefits, while minimizing the impact to destinations, Responsible Tourism is tourism “that creates better places for people to live in, and better places to visit”.

One of the most important values of sustainable or responsible tourism is the difference made when a tourist choses a destination and/or a company that will both guarantee their enjoyment and also benefit the local community and environment.  A dollar spent in this kind of destination will go farther.

When Greentique started their tour operation and conservation programs in Santa Juana over a decade ago, the local primary school had just one student that semester. Today, with the increase or growth of families, the student body has grown to 6 students.  That is less family migrating to find jobs.

At the same time that stable employment has been created and social benefits increased, so has the efforts to protect the biodiversity of the region of Fila Chonta as a showcase for eco-tourism. Trees have been protected and pastures re-forested with a Tree Adoption program.  A guest donation program for school supplies, and funds to repair school infrastructure and provide needed books and supplies for classroom learning tools, has been very successful.

We have found that the Greentique community programs in Santa Juana, as well as in other local communities where Greentique Hotel and Greentique Tours operate in Costa Rica, that by generating local employment, as well as supporting local schools and awareness of sustainable values, hotel management has won significant support by the very same employees whose own children are benefiting from these ongoing efforts.

Since opening the Santa Juana Lodge in November of 2014, the operation, run by community members, has given guests from around the world the opportunity to interact with their local hosts. When one reads all these guest reviews, it’s quite encouraging to see that Rural Tourism brings out the best in everyone who experiences the exceptional spirit of Costa Rican hospitality and the pride of families growing in many ways, including responsible initiatives in Rural Tourism conserving both the culture and the biodiversity of Costa Rica for generations to come.

Sep 12, 2016

Environmental Education Students Take the Lead

Thanks to a generous donation since our last update, we are pleased to announce that our Environmental Education program is still in operation! Over the last month, we have been working to transform the way in which we work with our environmental students and the wider community in order to have a greater impact and make a real change!

To engage more effectively with older children, we have been reorganizing our five after-school eco-groups. Now the older kids are taking the lead, by planning, organizing and fundraising for the environmental activities that they are interested in. The kids have really stepped up to the challenge and we have seen them take charge in designing and implementing conservation and community development activities; and how to pay for them.

So far they have decided to sell arroz con leche (sweet rice pudding) and empanadas around the villages of Drake Bay. They also came up with a really cool idea to make -natural soaps from used cooking oils, which we are all excited to try!

Encouraging our students to take responsibility for their own learning is a vital step towards the creation of future conservation leaders. By giving them the opportunity to be the decision-makers we have empowered them to cooperate and communicate more effectively. We have definitely seen that they aremore motivated to complete tasks and have increased engagement with the community as a whole.

Over the next few months our goal is to appoint one of our older alumni students for each of our environmental education groups. Their task will be to assist our environmental educators in leading activities and lessons. They will also provide vital support as a buddy to the younger children so that we are better able to monitor at-risk kids in our community.

Besides this new approach, we are also investing a lot of time in tutoring children. In Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula, most parents have not finished school themselves and find it very difficult to help their children with homework. Therefore we are dedicating several hours a week to work with children one-on-one. Anyone remember logarithms? Neither did we! Over the last month we have been studying too! We have converted an old office into a new classroom and even more students than we expected have been showing up regularly for both academic and emotional support. Our objective is to make sure these children make it through high school and (hopefully) college.

The Corcovado Foundation team is keen to continue with this extra work and so we are reaching out to our wonderful supporters to help us fund an additional environmental educator. In order to cover the food and accommodation for them, we are seeking an additional $480 per month.

By adding an extra member to our small team we will be better able to implement some of the amazing ideas that our student leaders have come up with over the past month.

Thank you in advance for your help!

 
   

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