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
children after camping weekend
children after camping weekend

Greeting my friends, do you want to hear a story?

Once a upon a time there were two friends that went camping to the woods and decided to eat shrimps from the river for dinner.  They went to the river and they threw poison to the river.  Soon they were able to catch the shrimps which they ate for dinner and they went to sleep.   The following day the boys picked up their belongings, but their all their trash scattered in the woods.   The animals of the forest found all this and were sad.   The macaw flew from the heavens and told them that she had seen humans recycling some where else and that she could teach the animals so that they could all clean the mess.   The boys came back to the place to pick up a flash light that they had left behind and saw the animals picking up the mess.  The boys regretted having left that mess behind and decided that they could act differently.  So they apologized to the animals and all together, they send a message to the world “Lets protect nature and lets recycle!”.

This story was written by the Jaguars Youth Group, one of the Corcovado Foundation Groups that meet weekly to learn about the importance of conservation.  The group participated in the Arts Festival, and as part of their participation they wrote and performed this story.  They wrote the whole story on their own and adapted it to a play.  They prepared their costumes and the setting in order to participate on the festival.  Mostly they were eager to give their community a message:  we need to protect our environment and we need to recycle.

Our environmental education program has been creating awareness among children in the Osa Peninsula since 2003.  Right now, we are visiting 6 schools monthly bringing environmental education to 200 children.  We also have 4 youth groups, including the Jaguars, which meet every week to talk about conservation efforts and perform environmental activities in their communities.   Their activities can be community clean ups, beach clean ups, making signs to educate their communities, teaching other children about conservation, among others.    These groups are very important for these kids, since these are the only extracurricular activities these kids have available in their communities.  Besides, our environmental educators provide a vital job as role models and counselors to these kids.

By supporting our efforts, you are helping us maintain our environmental education program active and these kids engaged.   Thank you!

Children practicing for their show
Children practicing for their show
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Children working on their costumes
Children working on their costumes

Dear friends of the Corcovado Foundation

Today we want to thank all our supporters and donors!   Your generosity and the generosity of people like you from all over the world has been key to maintaining our programs alive.    And we have been busy making the most of your financial support!

June was a busy month!   Our environmental educators have been busy preparing the local children for their presentation at the Arts Festival.  The kids wrote the script and produced a play related to the impact of humans upon ecosystems and how we can all change that.  The Children worked tirelessly to get ready for their presentation in June.   They are hopeful that they can win the art contest with they can bring their message to their communities.

Our team has also been working with the Osa Chamber of Tourism in their Osa Free of Plastic Campaign.   Our organization designed the objectives and activities related to this campaign and now we are trying to support the chamber to disseminate the information amongst schools and businesses.   A couple of weeks ago we had a big event presenting the campaign to the Minister of Tourism. During the activity we donated educational materials to a local school and planted trees.

The same week we held a TRAILS DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION WORKSHOP for the communities in La Amistad Conservation Area.  Communities here join forces with parkrangers to protect the national park, they work on the fire brigade and help build trails.   This area is waiting for tourism to come to discover it and we want the communities and the park rangers to work together to maintain it as beautiful and as pristine as it is now.  The area is a wonderful place for hiking and trekking.  You should check it out! 

The following week we worked with the same community helping them to build capacity. 26 women and men are learning about accounting principles and business management, so that they can make a better management of their projects and they can thrive economically and socially.  Healthy communities are key to promote sustainable development.

We continue working with our environmental education program. There is so much going on! Classes in several different schools and exciting activities with local children groups have filled our weeks, keeping our environmental educators busy.  Last week we celebrated our resident bird’s festival.   Children were busy designing their bird’s masks and preparing presentations to show their parents about the importance of protecting local birds.   These children are taking in their hands to educate their parents.

We have also been preparing for our sea turtle conservation program in Rincon, which started on July 01st with the first 4 volunteers arriving on Monday!  Time to start digging our new sea turtle nursery! We are so excited.

It has been a very eventful month.  But that is how we like it.   We are grateful to be able to help children and families become more aware, more productive, more committed and more organized.   We were only able to achieve this with your help.   Please consider becoming a recurring donor to helps maintain our efforts and plan from financial perspective our future endeavors.

Thank you!

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Children working with recycled materials
Children working with recycled materials

Sometimes it is hard to see the impact of a conservation project.  This video shows some of the impressions of several school teachers that have worked with us for years.  They praise the work that our environmental educators have done for the schools.This 2 minutes video speak a thousand words.  Feel free to share it with your friends and colleagues  

As part of our conservation programs in Osa, we have done efforts with the younger population to improve their chances to succeed in school, in hopes that they’ll aspire to continue their education and become productive citizens.  We keep organizing activities that promote self-esteem, teamwork, proactivity, and leadership.  We hope that we will create a new generation of children that will not only be good citizens but also conservation leaders. 

Additionally, we continue to implement weekly tutoring sessions in 4 schools with children of the area to fill the educational gap in rural areas and help them succeed in school.  We have learned that children that struggle with school will eventually drop out of it.   According to Rumberger, “Dropouts face extremely bleak economic and social prospects. Compared to high school graduates, they are less likely find a job and earn a living wage, and more likely to be poor and to suffer from a variety of adverse health outcomes”[1].   As a result, dropouts are also very vulnerable to a variety of issues, such as alcoholism and drug consumption, criminal behavior and other negative behavior.

[1] Rumberger, R. W. (2011). Dropping out: Why students drop out of high school and what can be done about it. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

Thank you for your support to our organization. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l6RCBVvuTWg&feature=youtu.be

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Children receiving environmental education@ school
Children receiving environmental education@ school

 

Many people come to Osa in search of the rainforest and all its beauty.  But let’s be honest, we all hope that we leave with a sight of the elusive Jaguar.   Instead, most tourist leave with wonderful memories of monkeys, tamanduas, sloths, macaws and toucans.  Not bad for a vacation at all.

I remember hanging out with a friend in the Carate area and spending the night on the side of a river in hopes that we could see a Jaguar.   Later, after working in conservation for two decades in this area, I have come to the conclusion that, although we never saw it, the jaguar was probably watching us all the time.   Although we are always hoping to find a jaguar, we are happy that we can see healthy populations of other species, which lead us to think that the ecosystem is healthy.

According to a Yale study “Scientists have recently begun to understand the vital role played by top predators in ecosystems and the profound impacts that occur when those predators are wiped out. Now, researchers are citing new evidence that shows the importance of lions, wolves, sharks, and other creatures at the top of the food chain”[i].

Unfortunately, this is changing. Jaguars and pumas in the Osa Peninsula have become scarcer every year.  According to some studies performed by fellow local conservationists, there are only 20 jaguars in the area.  Authorities believe that they are hunted for their fur or killed by local communities.  Local people fear that a jaguar or a puma could kill their pets, their cattle, or even their kids.   Fear and profit has jeopardized the survival of felines in the Osa Peninsula and in the country.

Helena, our environmental educator and our volunteers have been working in schools and with the environmental groups promoting the understanding and the conservation of felines and their ecosystems. Children are learning to recognize footprints of different animals. They are also learning about their behavior and their role on the ecosystems. In search of the elusive jaguar, these children suggested that we could organize a field trip through Corcovado National Park and we did.  But we were unsuccessful in finding the jaguar.  They were disappointed, but they also realized who special these predators are.By learning about their importance and their role, we hope that these children will be able to defend these beautiful animals from ignorance and greed.  “In the end, we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught.”  Baba Dioum

Our environmental education program has been generating awareness to hundreds of kids every year, since 2003.  This program is important not only because it is teaching this new generation to love nature, but because it is empowering children to become the future leaders of their communities.  Children that have participated in the program have shown amazing progress in their lives.  They have shown more interest on completing their high school and on following a career path or in becoming entrepreneurs, something unthinkable for their parents.

We are very grateful for your support! You have made all these and more possible by trusting our organization.   Consider making a monthly donation to help us plan and maintain our programs active.

Thank you again for your support and please allow me to remind you of some of the things that we achieved together:  

  1. 137 teachers from the Regional Department of Terraba trained in the Education Guidelines for Sustainable Development Workshop.
  2. 6 Drake schools, with a total of 137 boys and girls, received environmental education monthly or bimonthly.
  3. 40 children from 4 environmental groups carrying out environmental activities in their community.
  4. 1 youth group implementing environmental education and environmental actions in their community.
  5. Our organization supported the creation of the Junior Ranger Program for the Golfo Dulce Forest Reserve.

[i] https://e360.yale.edu/features/the_crucial_role_of_predators_a_new_perspective_on_ecology

Children's drawings about animals footprints
Children's drawings about animals footprints
Children learning w/ parkrangers @ Corcovado
Children learning w/ parkrangers @ Corcovado

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Osa Foundation's President with our board
Osa Foundation's President with our board

Can you believe it is almost March already?  This year is flying by and I believe I speak on behalf of my team, when I say that we have been playing catching up for the last six weeks.    In general, Costa Rica has been amid a huge political debate!  We had election day on February 04th.   13 candidates disputed the presidency of Costa Rica.  But nobody made the majority, therefore we are facing a second election day on April 01st with two very controversial candidates.   Despite the turmoil in which the country currently is, we have been able to accomplish a lot! 

 

Seaturtle Conservation Program

We closed the season at Rincón, where we worked in collaboration with the Osa Foundation.  There a total of 125 nests were protected during the season and only 9% were lost due to poaching or predation.   The last nests were born in the beginning of February and we had a first meeting in preparation for the next season staring July 2018.   We are now looking for used kitchen appliances and other utensils in order to prepare the space for our volunteers and our team.

In Río Oro, we supported Cotorco with the preparation of technical manuals and trained volunteers to work on nesting beaches. Our purpose is to collaborate with their mission to protect sea turtles in the Rio Oro Wildlife Refuge. They counted 3946 turtles on this beach, which demonstrates the importance of protecting this beach for the conservation of these reptiles.   This year our participation in this beach will be very limited, we wish them the best of luck.

Reconstructing the school of Rincon!

The Rincón School provides education to 6 students of all levels. It is located in a remote beach on the Osa Peninsula.  Its remoteness from any populated community, its proximity to the beach and the lack of maintenance have been taking a toll on its infrastructure.  In a few words, it was falling apart.   With funding from one of our very generous board of advisers and the work force from Aguila de Osa (one of our founding members), we have been able to rebuild the infrastructure for the school.   Most importantly the children will now go to school in a more conducive learning environment. 

 

Last December we threw a Christmas party for the kids in this school.  They have also received environmental education lessons provided by the sea turtle conservation team.  The team has also been teaching English weekly to adults in the community.

 

The pedestrian bridge: construction starting soon!

For years we have witnessed the difficulties that the communities of Progreso and Agujitas experience because of the lack of a bridge on the Drake Bay River.  We have seen kids going to high school, risking their lives to cross this river. We have seen mothers with sick babies, deciding which would be the lesser evil: take the kid to the doctor but risking drowning in the river or not taking the kid to the doctor and hoping for the best.   

 

Our organization is a conservation organization, but we have realized that our people are also part of our ecosystem.  Therefore, we decided we needed to do something!  With the funding and the support from the Interamerican Foundation, La Clinica Biblica, the local community, several private companies in the area and again one of our members of the board of advisors, we are now starting construction of a pedestrian bridge on this river.  I am very grateful for everybody that has contributed with funding and work.  I have a special shout out for the foundations team that has spent a lot of personal time fundraising and coordinating efforts for this project.  I can’t wait to see it completed!  

 

Environmental leaders’ youth groups!

This week our environmental educators also started with the environmental leaders’ youth groups.   Vacation is over in Costa Rica and kids are returning to schools and to their communities.   So, our environmental education groups, located in 5 different communities in the area, are now on and kids are enjoying sharing tales about their summer vacation (Costa Rica’s summer goes from December to April).  These groups are the only extracurricular activities that these children have available and they love them.  This week they were asking about trying to meet twice a week instead of once a week.  I wish we had the human capacity to deliver that.

 

It means a lot to us to be able to provide them with all kinds of learning experiences: such as camping trips, day trips to protected areas, educational workshops and the opportunity to express themselves.   We want kids to take leadership in their communities.

Osa Zero Plastic initiative:

The Chamber of Tourism of Osa has launched a wonderful initiative!  Let’s eliminate the consumption of single-use plastics, or disposable plastics.  Single-use plastics are used only once before they are thrown away or recycled. These items are things like plastic bags, straws, coffee stirrers, soda and water bottles and most food packaging.  Plastic is not biodegradable and usually goes into a landfill where it is buried, or it gets into the water and finds its way into the ocean.   We are supporting the chamber on its quest by promoting best practices in households, schools and private companies in order to reduce the amount of waste that end up in landfills and in the oceans of the planet. 

Sustainable tourism development in La Amistad International Park

La Amistad International Park is a protected area located on the Mountain Range of Talamanca.  Its beauty has made it worthy of the of a World Heritage Site designation by the UNESCO.  Unfortunately, the area is known to few.  The foundation has started two parallel projects in the area.  With funding from Judesur (www.judesur.go.cr), the foundation will be improving tourism infrastructure to increase visitation to the park.  In the meantime, with funding from the US Fish and Wildlife Service (www.fws.gov), we are providing park rangers and communities training to prepare for tourism visitation.  We hope that by the end of the project, these groups will have the skills to manage successfully and sustainably the tourism visitation.   We are hoping to create successful partnerships between the community, the private sectors and the park officials to guarantee the protection of the park in perpetuity.  We need you!Our donors and members are the driving force behind our environmental efforts.  Your passion to protect the rainforest and to make a better world is key to maintain our work.  We depend on your support to maintain our efforts in the long term.  If you haven’t supported us, please do it today.  You can help by donating on Globalgiving to any of the Corcovado Foundation Projects.

New infrastructure in Rincon
New infrastructure in Rincon
New infrastructure in Rincon 2
New infrastructure in Rincon 2
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Organization Information

Corcovado Foundation

Location: Moravia,, San Jose - Costa Rica
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Project Leader:
Alejandra Foundation
Moravia, San Jose Costa Rica
$12,885 raised of $35,000 goal
 
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