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.
Aug 2, 2016

Save our Environmental Education Program

The Corcovado Foundation environmental education program has been active in the South Pacific of Costa Rica for 13 years. Sadly, due to lack of funds we may be forced to close the program unless we can raise $55,000 before the beginning of 2017.

Over the years, our environmental education program has successfully engaged with 441 Costa Rican primary school children in 22 schools. 1200 textbooks have been distributed all around the country and our hard-working educators have developed a complete curriculum of environmental education both inside and outside of school.

We believe that continuing this work is vital for the future protection of Costa Rica’s rich biodiversity and the improvement of opportunities for our children. Over the last decade, we have seen kids become excited about and proud of the natural world that they live in. We have seen their faces light up on excursions to Corcovado National Park and the Gulfo Dulce Marine Reserve- experiences that are generally only affordable for foreigners.

Our five after school activity groups have nurtured creativity and instilled a deep sense of community in our students. Using art and craft projects, games, plays and much more we have helped the next generation to understand the true value of Costa Rica’s natural resources- while having lots of fun together. In fact, these after school groups are so popular that most kids will arrive half an hour early- something which doesn’t happen often in this country!

In our formal lessons, we have covered all manner of topics including reforestation, sea turtle conservation, waste and recycling, ecosystems and bird migration. All with a focus on protecting the staggering number of species of mammals, birds and insects in the Osa Peninsula for future generations.

In the rural communities where we work, many schools simply do not have the funds to teach an environmental education class. If we are unable to continue our program, hundreds of kids will no longer have access to up-to-date textbooks, after school activities, excursion days or art supplies.

Please, we urge you to give whatever you can and forward this update to friends and family.

Thank you for your support!

Aug 2, 2016

Thousands of Sea Turtles Need Your Help

Since our last update, we have made it to the end of the first month of our 2016 sea turtle conservation program in Rio Oro. Our move from Drake Bay to Rio Oro last year exceeded all of our expectations with an incredible 3000 nests logged. In fact, our data suggests that Rio Oro may be one of the most important beaches in the south Pacific of Costa Rica for solitary olive ridleys.

Due to this huge number of nesting turtles, the Corcovado Foundation needs your help more than ever to continue projecting these stunning creatures. To complete the season this year, we are seeking $10,000 from generous people like you. Conservation equipment such as turtle tags, data loggers and gloves need to be purchased, which really adds up when you are protecting thousands of nests!

The Corcovado Foundation is also committed to continue giving back to the community through our environmental programs. This means that we need your help in order to train local people in sea turtle conservation, pay for volunteer accommodation, local salaries and transportation.

This community-based conservation model proved to be extremely successful in our previous location of Drake Bay. By engaging with people who were poaching turtle eggs and offering them a viable economic alternative, we were able to reduce poaching from 90% of nests to just 10%. Even better than that, the Drake Bay locals are now running the project on their own.

In Rio Oro, we have found that most poachers are coming from further afield, but community engagement remains vital for a number of reasons. The Gulfo Dulce coast, extending from Puerto Jimenez and south to Corcovado National Park has a string of important nesting beaches. To the north of Rio Oro, the non-profit organization Osa Conservation is protecting two beaches. To the south, local group COTORCO manages Carate Beach.

By adding the Corcovado Foundation project in Rio Oro we can all work together to have a completely projected zone. By cooperating with other NGOs and local communities we can discourage poachers from coming to the area in the first place.

We hope to make our 2016 season as successful as last year, when volunteers and staff were able to protect 99.3% of all nests on the beach from poaching and predation. This adds up to tens of thousands of olive ridley and green turtle hatchlings! Since only 1 in 1000 eggs makes it to adulthood, every nest we save is vital to the future population of Pacific sea turtles.

Even a small donation will be a big help, so we thank you in advance for your generosity, as do all these cute little guys below!

Jul 6, 2016

Community-Tourism in Focus: Santa Juana

Ox cart at Santa Juana
Ox cart at Santa Juana

Community-based tourism is all the rage in Costa Rica. In rural areas such as the Osa Peninsula, it seems almost everyone you meet has a micro-project. Horseback riding, chocolate tours, evening bug tours… the list goes on. But what is community-based tourism all about? And why should we be supporting it?

In many rural and indigenous regions of Costa Rica, job opportunities are few and far between and many families turn to illegal practices such as hunting and logging to survive. Community-based tourism is a model which incentivizes the protection rather than the destruction of the natural environment- creating jobs and locally-owned businesses in disadvantaged areas.

One such community is Santa Juana. Located at the end of a bumpy dirt track, outside of Quepos on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, Santa Juana has a population of approximately 10 families. Jim Damalas, originally from the US, came to the area in 1974 with his then girlfriend. At the time he couldn’t have even pointed to Costa Rica on a map.

After falling in love with the country (and, incidentally, out of love with his girlfriend) he bought a plot of land and began running one of the very first hotels in Manual Antonio. He also bought a plot of land in Santa Juana, with a view to build his home there. At the time, the mountainous region was gradually being deforested for monoculture crops of corn, potatoes and cassava. There were virtually no employment opportunities and the local school only had 2 students.

Jim realized that in order to make his land sustainable, he would have to reforest the paddocks and encourage adventurous tourists to visit it. He reached out to the community and tried to make them understand that deforestation and hunting were not the way to go.

He began to send tourists from his hotel on day trips to Santa Juana, using local guides to conduct hiking, horseback riding and sugar cane tours. Local women made traditional lunches (casados) for the guests.

Over the years, the project has expanded to include the reforestation of the area with important native species such as Manu, Cristobal and Chirraca. Visitors and donors can sponsor a tree of their choice which comes with a cute little plaque and a certificate. Adventurous travelers can even stay in Santa Juana in one of six rustic cabins, nestled in the hills.

The community (and many others like it around the country) is now dedicated to protecting their natural resources for generations to come. By supporting community-based projects such as this, you are not only contributing to the conservation of Costa Rican wildlife. You are helping small communities to thrive- providing job opportunities for young people and fostering a sense of pride in their local culture.

In Santa Juana, a portion of the profits from all tourism initiatives goes towards improving community infrastructure. Including the school, which now has seven students! Visit our website to discover more community –based tourism projects in Costa Rica or get involved today by donating via the tab on the right.

Santa Juana
Santa Juana's School
 
   

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