Creating the Environmental Leaders of the New Mil

by Corcovado Foundation
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Creating the Environmental Leaders of the New Mil
Creating the Environmental Leaders of the New Mil
Creating the Environmental Leaders of the New Mil
Creating the Environmental Leaders of the New Mil
Creating the Environmental Leaders of the New Mil
Creating the Environmental Leaders of the New Mil
Creating the Environmental Leaders of the New Mil
Creating the Environmental Leaders of the New Mil
Creating the Environmental Leaders of the New Mil
Creating the Environmental Leaders of the New Mil
Creating the Environmental Leaders of the New Mil

Your solidarity is shining bright in the darkest times

As you know, this month, our environmental education program was selected among many participants to be part of the 2020 Climate Action Campaign.  Thanks to your support, we received donations of 126 people and raised $4200 and received a matching fund of $2100.  For a total of $6300, that will be used in educational materials: pencils, watercolors, and books to use at home for kids that we serve. We will also give each kid a tree to plant as a celebration of Earth Day. 

We made it to the 9th position of 127 projects. 

Our challenge now is to maintain educational engagement with the children in the rural communities surrounding Drake Bay. Before COVID-19, our Children and Youth group of 50 boys and girls from four different towns, met weekly to work together with us on environmental issues.  

To that end, we have been working with them remotely for the past four weeks through an initiative we call "Environmental Challenges." We put together videos and propose activities regarding the environment that must be completed each week. They use the modest data plans of their parents' phones to download our videos and experiments, and then share their achievements with us. With schools being closed, as well as beaches and parks, the content and activities we send them each week are their only educational activity. Take a look at our Earth Day Challenge. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2fAQ43ioso

The foundation will continue to empower youth to help mitigate the impact of climate change, reduce vulnerability on communities, and promote resilience to climate change. We are also supporting sustainable economic activity that returns some equilibrium to the existential equation. 

The impact of climate change —floods, droughts, raging fires, and superstorms, will not pause and wait for us to come out of this pandemic. We must preserve, protect, and participate with as much conviction, passion, and innovation as possible.

We are not in a city; we are in the remote Osa Peninsula, and the available technology is just a cell phone through which they can connect to the internet from time to time. In these rural communities, the Costa Rican government has not yet managed to implement homeschooling. These kids can see the environmental challenges facing Costa Rica and the rest of the world. We want to continue to motivate them by keeping them engaged from the safety of their homes, so they remain aware, active, and committed.

All the activities involve play, and experimentation and content are made available by WhatsApp. Parents have been involved in their children's efforts by helping them research and helping them record the videos. I love the fact that kids and parents are now experimenting with technology, given them the tools that will be useful in the future. 

We are excited to see how these activities bring parents and children together to work and learn. A mother told us how she had taken her son to visit the mangrove swamp to characterize this ecosystem better and to help him prepare for his environmental challenge.

Thank you for making it all happen!  Subscribe on our youtube channel or like us on Facebook to see more of our educational videos, my kids are having a blast with them. 

Thank you again, 

Alejandra 

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Managing Life in a COVID-19 World

As we consider the COVID-19 global pandemic, it is clear that we are all navigating uncharted waters. Our “new lives” distance us from our friends and extended families, disrupting every aspect of our regular schedules and a sense of personal freedom. We have had vacations, business trips, and meetings canceled. Sadly, almost every one of us will lose some income, possibly our jobs or even our businesses. We simply don’t know how this all plays out.

So, as we strive to keep our loved ones safe and hold on to some sense of normalcy in our lives, we all need to spread as much kindness as we possibly can.

I have faith that the measures taken by the Costa Rican, U.S. and Canadian governments, as well as others the world over, help flatten the curve by slowing the spread of the virus, thus reducing at least some of the strain on the world’s health systems. It may even buy us some critical time needed to develop a vaccine.

But like a devastating storm or earthquake, the aftermath of these measures will see entire towns and extended communities crushed by job and income loss. I can already see in the faces of small business owners in Drake Bay the agony of having to choose between taking whatever income they made this high season to reimburse people that had to cancel their trips, or using that money to keep their employees in their jobs to support their families. It is a scenario playing out in thousands of communities across the planet where people depend on tourism and other industries to survive.

In an effort to try to stay closer, motivated, and sane, the Corcovado Foundation will refocus our efforts to use our platforms and networks to support those who need us the most. Our objectives will shift to collecting goods and cleaning supplies for the most vulnerable population at the moment — the elderly people of Drake Bay.

We have served this community for over 20 years. With tourism being the main source of income in the areas around Drake Bay, the elderly will be among the first and hardest-hit victims of the COVID. We will, therefore, direct our talents, energy, and time to collect money and goods, then deliver food baskets and supplies to help lessen at least some of the health risks and economic damage facing the elderly.

But we expect the economy will be restored eventually and our people and people around the world will create new ways to do things. New paradigms. New perspectives.

There may even be a reassessment of priorities and values. Maybe we don’t need to fly 1000 miles for a meeting, or perhaps we’ll think twice about vacationing on one of those floating Petri dishes called cruises. Maybe we no longer shake hands. Other cultures have figured out other ways to greet each other.

But what we need to do right now is to make sure COVID-19 doesn’t bring out the worst in us as human beings. We need to believe in each other, to be tolerant, and empathetic given we don’t know what other people are going through.

And above all, we need to be kind, thinking about how we can help each other by using our gifts for the common good. There is a bright side in everything so let’s find it. For me, it’s having my children in our home for a while longer. Empty nesters everywhere are getting this opportunity to use the one thing we have all been given by this virus — time in our homes with our families.  

Let’s think of small ways to help the economy to keep running. If you can, get more take out, use delivery services, or do curbside pick-up at your favorite restaurants and shops. And please, let’s not buy all the Purell, wipes, or toilet paper. Other people need to stay clean too!  

And though right now, the most important thing we must do is to stay away from each other, that doesn’t mean to disconnect. As we are all in this together, let’s use our devices to hold on to our relationships and keep them thriving.

They say distance makes the heart grow fonder. Let’s prove it. Be positive. Keep the laughter going between us. If allowed in your community, meet up with each other and walk the neighborhoods and parks. Just stay 1.5 meters apart!

As always, we at the Corcovado Foundation are deeply appreciative of your support. There is a need now, so if you can, please help us provide some relief for the most vulnerable in the remote places of Costa Rica in this time of need. A $50 USD donation, or any amount made during the Little by Little Campaign to our Community Support Fund Program, will help us make bring some relief to those that need it the most.

Whatever the “new normal” is when we come out of this pandemic, we’ll remember that we got through it together because we chose to stand together in caring and kindness.

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Children museum
Children museum

This January our environmental education team drove with 26 kids and 6 parents from Osa to San Jose. The children are all members of youth groups from 4 different communities, their work for their villages, their young leadership and their love for the environment was rewarded with a 4-day trip in which they visited Carara National Park, the Children Museum and Fossil Land.

They played and learned about leadership, teamwork and other values. They are the new environmental leaders of their communities. These activities are part of our environmental education program which was started 17 years ago. This program has proven effective, by creating awareness about the importance of protecting the environment. It has empowered and promoted leadership among local kids.

I was here 17 years ago when we first started the program. Many of the kids that started with us ago are now young adults. I guess you can’t say the same about me.   And although I am not a big fan of the wrinkles and the gray hair that comes with accumulating years, I am very lucky to have seen these kids grow, I have witnessed the transformation that this program has produced in many of them.   I have seen how they have become women and men engaging in their community.

For 17 years our environmental educators have worked weekly with kids to raise awareness about environmental issues and our role in them, about how we can be stewards of the environment and our communities. With games, art, storytelling handcrafting and field trips, kids have learned about being a team player, being a friend, respecting our differences, protecting our environment, being a leader and being the guardians of all living creatures that cannot defend themselves.

A couple of months ago, I shared a video with you that features some of these kids. Kids that are now adults making a difference. Did you have a chance to hear their testimonies? Take a look. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6ZbEsujKhY&t=3s

Now I will sharing with you, the video of our last adventure with the kids. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A90gA6Rp0fw&t=19s Four days of learning and fun, four days that they will carry in their hearts forever. Four days that will open their minds and their horizons.   Thank you for being part of this journey. You helped us make this happen every day! Your support is not only financial but also a sign of trust, it is the lifeblood of our program.   You and the smiles of the kids we serve every day keep us inspired!   Thank you!

Children museum 2
Children museum 2
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Afternoon extra curricular activities
Afternoon extra curricular activities

We are almost through 2019, a full of plans, challenges and achievements. The end of the year always means a closing cycle and a rebirth of projects and dreams. Personally, this has been a year full of ups and downs as every other year, but it is a year that I am grateful for.

I feel very grateful for the trust of those who support us: our donors and volunteers, our board of advisors, our consultants and our board of directors. Particularly, I feel grateful for the wonderful team of our foundation that, despite all the difficulties, challenges and problems have been invincible. Their passion for the projects they lead has made them indomitable before the obstacles! Their love to the children, to the communities, to the ecosystems or to the national parks, or their commitment to excellence, I don't know ... I just know that my team members inspire me every day with their effort, their dedication and their creativity. Despite my 19 years working in the foundation, they make working in our organization always a new and exciting experience. Thanks to them our foundation is renewed every day!

I heard that: “A true act of goodwill always sparks another.” Here it is what we have achieved in 2019 thanks to your goodwill:

  • In the environmental education program, a contest was held in 7 schools, through which more than 1500 kg of recycling were collected. The schools were visited 42 times between March and October, to weigh the recycling materials. In addition, 22 companies in Drake Bay are committed to eliminating the consumption of single use plastic and almost 60 people have been trained on recycling. These companies have been able to collect 2398.63 kilos of recycled materials. In total, between companies and schools, almost 4000 kilos (8,800 pounds) of recycling have been collected during this year.
  • We have coordinated as part of the “Osa Libre de Plasticos” campaign with the Corcovado National Park and CATUOSA the cleaning of the beaches of the Corcovado National Park managing to collect, with the help of more than 100 volunteers, almost 2 tons (4,000 pounds) of solid waste in a single day.
  • 6 social education workshops have been held at Drake High School, working on the topics of sexual education and commercial sexual exploitation with the National Children's Board (PANI).
  • Together with the local association of Drake Bay, we formed a group of community leaders to bring travelling university programs and sports activities to the community. In addition, this group has focused on solving the lack of infrastructure for the Drake Bay high school.
  • An organic garden was built in the community of Banegas with 12 students from the school and several parents, which has had a great impact, since it promotes the culture of planting what we consume and allows children to eat organic products planted with their own hands.
  • More than 60 international volunteers have actively collaborated in the sea turtle program, in the construction of the nursery, patrols, censuses, beach cleaning, environmental education and nursery care.
  • We managed $256,000 USD (150 million colones) in infrastructure improvements in Protected Wild Areas. The funding was donated by Costa Rica Por Siempre and we lead the construction and remodeling projects in Rincon de la Vieja, Lomas Barbudal, Manzanillo, Alberto Manuel Brenes and Quetzales.
  • At the sea turtle project in Rincon de San Josecito, 118 nest nests have been protected, making this season the highest in the history of Rincon. We have also released 4,528 turtles, and we still have lots of eggs to hatch. We have managed to create a very good relationship with the Rincon community thanks to environmental education and a system of local guides that take tourists to see the turtles while they nest or when hatching.
  • In addition, 39 educational sessions in schools and colleges and 57 educational sessions with environmental groups have been held from February to November, for a total of 96 educational activities during the school year.
  • We had our first Jungle Party! Which was a great success! Everybody had a great time, and we also raised $ 12,000 USD that will go directly to educational and recreational activities for children of the Osa communities.
  • In addition, we finished the General Management Plan for the International Park of La Amistad, which implied a great coordination between the Pacific and the Caribbean sector, together with indigenous communities.
  • 110 people from 54 communities, in the buffer zone of 4 protected wild areas of Osa are being skilled as community park rangers. They will become the park ranger backup team for the conservation area. It is a unique model in the country, a study case that can be replicated in the other protected areas.
  • This year we managed to materialize through audiovisual production, two stories that were worth capturing on video. The first related to the testimonies of students graduated from the Environmental Education program, who told us how the program impacted their lives for good https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6ZbEsujKhY&t=58s and the other of the heroic work of the park rangers in Corcovado National Park https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03lr99b3WqE.

 

As we always say, our donors, volunteers and members are the driving force behind our environmental efforts. Thank you for trusting us, thank you for supporting us in one way or another. None of this would have been achieved without you. Please consider continuing to help us in 2020. You can make a tax-deductible donation, both in cash and in kind. Ask us how.

On behalf of all of us who from the Corcovado Foundation family, I extend my best wishes to you for a Christmas and holidays full of harmony and love with your loved ones and a new year full of prosperity, health and peace with our families, communities and the environment.

Wishing you the best,

 

Alejandra Monge

Corcovado Foundation

`          

Afternoon extra curricular activities 2
Afternoon extra curricular activities 2
Heading to an organic fertilizer training
Heading to an organic fertilizer training
leading to an organic fertilizer training 2
leading to an organic fertilizer training 2
Our seaturtle team at the school/ Xmas party
Our seaturtle team at the school/ Xmas party
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chicos de las escuelas
chicos de las escuelas

From a few years now, maybe 10 years ago, the garbage truck began servicing the Drake Bay communities to collect ordinary garbage. This was a great achievement! With a new law in effect and the pressure of our environmental educators, the municipality finally started to adventure their garbage truck thru rivers and steep inclined dirt roads. And now, three years ago we are enjoying the luxury of a recycling truck that is collecting recyclable materials once a month.

Most of the people in the community buried their garbage and burned it, can you imagine the pollution that this produced?

In order to support the municipality’s effort and fulfill our mission, this year we are running a contest in the schools. The mission of the contest is to promote recycling at home and at school and prevent homes from burnings their waste or burning it. A contest is also a way to give value to the waste.

Every month we visit 7 schools weighing the amount of recycling they have managed to separate. To our surprise, this contest is really changing the communities and their behavior towards waste. For instance, the school at the small community of Banegas, only had 12 students. This community didn’t enjoy the visit of a recycling truck until very recently, but now that the truck is servicing them, and the competition is in place the community is collecting a lot of recycling. 83 kilos of recyclable items just last month. 83 kg of garbage that will not be burned or buried, that will have a new life.

We are all part of this important mission to free the planet from all the waste that is doing so much damage the ecosystems of the world, specially our oceans, and as always children are once again the example that change must begin with oneself.

The Environmental Education program was established in 2003. It is the only permanent environmental education program in the South Pacific of Costa Rica. By 2019 our program had reached the following achievements:

• 4000 children reached in 16 years.

• Around 625 children have participated in youth groups.

• 7 schools visited monthly to promote environmental education

• We are working with Drake Bay High School for values and prevention of violence and teenage pregnancy.

 

When we started working our focus was the Corcovado National Park. A short time later we understood that it was not enough to put park rangers in every corner, if the communities did not understand the value of their natural resources. Next we comprehended that nobody can protect the environment if t hungry, we needed to help the communities so that they could develop economically. Thus, our organization been leading a learning process and has made a great effort to promote the sustainable development of the communities of the Osa Peninsula.

In this way, through our Environmental Education program, we not only promote the conservation of resources but also the development of soft skills such as teamwork, the empowerment of boys and girls and leadership.

In the video attached to the email we sent, we collected testimonials from program graduates who saw their lives impacted and transformed by the program. For us it is an honor and a great responsibility to continue marking positively the lives of these boys and girls and thus propitiate to be the agent of change that our world needs.

educacion ambiental
educacion ambiental

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Organization Information

Corcovado Foundation

Location: Moravia,, San Jose - Costa Rica
Website:
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Project Leader:
Alejandra Foundation
Moravia, San Jose Costa Rica
$12,885 raised of $35,000 goal
 
266 donations
$22,115 to go
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