Left hand forest on David Alvarez's property.
Connecting Forest Islands in Costa Rica
Since posting our project on the Global Giving website there has been an upheaval of challenges, disappointments, heart warming experiences and changes.
From the very beginning to the end of the Global Giving Challenge the La Reserva Forest Foundation’s project, “Connecting Forest Islands in Costa Rica” was in the top 15 projects of the over 100 participating. Thanks to all of you generous supporters. We will never be able to thank you enough in words, but you can count on us planting tree corridors and preserving them, as long as you desire.
Within 2 weeks we had raised $3400 of the $10,000 total. I made a call to Ana Cecilia Vargas to tell her we were ready to move ahead on her corridor project and explained about the Global Giving Challenge, as we did before posting it. She surprised us, sorely, by saying “My children decided they didn’t feel would be convenient for them to have the corridor on what will be their property in the not so distant future”. This was a devastating blow!! My first impulse was to panic, but then, I remembered another local farmer who had agreed to have a corridor on his property, and it was about the same size.
Daniel and I went the next week to speak with Fernando Murillo, the owner. He owns 1000’s of hectares of farmland in Guanacaste and Alajuela province. Again, he said he would still have to discuss it with his children. When I called him back a few days later he said the same thing as Ana Cecilia, “My children don’t want it”. To me it is amazing that 2 hectares, reforested along a creek, would matter to them when they own so much.
I began to lose heart!!
By the 4th week of the Challenge we had qualified with over $7000 in donations and over 100 donors. All of us, and this means you too, who are integral parts of the LRFF felt an amazing sense of accomplishment and support from a wide community! Yet I still needed a project of the right proportions to replace the original.
As coordinator of the Lake Arenal/Tenorio Volcano Biological Corridor Commission I gave a presentation to members of the local municipality, cattlemen’s association and tourism association. It was my job to tell of our successes as a BC commission in the past 1½ years of our existence. Afterward the listeners were very enthused and two offered to have us build corridors on their land.
The first was a lady named Ana Cecilia Villalobos and it felt like synchronicity to me, she even had the same name of the original lady. Her husband, Jose Luis “Chocuaco” took us to the farm the next day. We all agreed on building the corridor with the size and cost that would match our budget. The tree corridor would connect two forest patches on their farm and help the animals to move from one to the other. This was on Friday and Monday we learned that “Chocuaco” had passed away suddenly on Sunday night. He was our friend for over 26 years. We were heart broken and didn’t feel this would be a proper time to move ahead with the proposed project.
The second person at the presentation was our friend David Alvarez. He has supported us ever since our first project took shape for preservation of existing forests via carbon credit payments. He is a participant in that project which is up for carbon sale through our friends at Global Climate Strategies ( http://www.globalclimatestrategies.com). He spoke to us on the presentation day expressing his desire for us to connect two, large primary forest on his property with a tree corridor of approximately 2 hectares. Last week we went for a look and it is perfect. Daniel took some photos (see photos here in progress report. We will be connecting the bare land in between the left and right hand primary forests) and we KNEW, this would be the new “Connecting Forest Islands in Costa Rica”. From past experience we knew we needed his formal okay to go ahead. He gave that to us yesterday and so we now have a full report to give you.
LRFF now only lacks about $2400 of the project budget. Our first disbursement payment will be sent on October 19th. We will immediately bring the topographer up to David’s to have the corridor portion mapped, separately, and then we can begin building the fence. The property is on the northern side of Lake Arenal, above Aguacate, where there is double the rainfall we have on the southern side. We are hoping to plant this before we get into the dry season, which begins in February over there.
There you have it. Thank you all, again. Without you there wouldn't be a project.
Next week David will take us back to the property, on a clear day. You will then see more and better photos of the corridor area, David and us. You will see the fences being built and the corridor planted.
Please let us know what you think. Comment or ask questions and we will respond. Make my day everybody and……..
LET’S GET PLANTING!!!
Right hand forest on David Alvarez's property.