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
Corcovado Foundation
Corcovado Foundation

On behalf of the foundation's team, we want to thank you for your support to our organization this year!  It was not an easy year, but with your support we made it through the tough times.

Below we present a small summary of the achievements made in 2017 and which would not have been possible without your collaboration:

·       We collected the money and will be starting the construction of a pedestrian bridge for the Drake Bay River between Progreso and Drake Bay area, which will make it safer for the students and the community in general, since they wont need to cross this dangerous river by foot any more.

·       137 teachers from the Regional Department of Terraba trained in the Education Guidelines for Sustainable Development Workshop.

·       6 Drake schools, with a total of 137boys and girls, received environmental education monthly or bimonthly.

·       40 children from 4 environmental groups carrying out environmental activities in their community.

·       1 youth group implementing environmental education and environmental actions in their community.

·       Our organization supported the creation of the Junior Ranger Program for the Golfo Dulce Forest Reserve.

·       44 volunteers recruited to support the turtle conservation projects at Playa Rincón and Río Oro Beach. A total of 12 volunteers have collaborated at Playa Rincón and 32 volunteers at the Río Oro Beach.

·       In collaboration with the Osa Foundation, we have supported the protection of Playa de Rincón, where a total of 108 nests have been reported from August to date.  93 of these nests were relocated to the nursery and only 9% were lost due to poaching or predation.

·       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.

·       39 architectural designs ready to start construction in 2018 in 5 Protected Areas of the Southern Region. These designs had a cost of $ 400,000 USD, that were donated by JUDESUR, for the improvement of infrastructure in 5 Wild Protected Areas of the Southern Region. We are hoping that this investment will help promote tourism in the nearby communities and generate economic development in them.

·       A project to strengthen technical capacities for communities around La Amistad International Park in the process of implementation.

·       A toolkit for environmental education for high schools was designed.  This contributes to raising awareness and taking action to adapt to climate change in the marine Area of responsible fishing Paquera-Tambor.

·       An economic alternative activity was developed in order to diversify the income of fishermen in the communities of Paquera and Tambor.  This will reduce the pressure on marine resources in their area.

·       General Management Plans prepared for the Los Quetzales National Park and the Golfo Dulce Forestry Reserve.

·       Sustainable Tourism Plan prepared for the Chirripó and Tapantí National Parks, Macizo de la Muerte, Amistad International Park and Río Macho Forest Reserve.

·       Environmental Education and Tourism Plans for the Carara, La Cangreja and Los Quetzales National Parks under development.

·       Infrastructure plans for 10 protected areas in the process of preparation.

·       Design of the Campaign against Single Use Plastics in Osa, in support of the innitiave by the Osa Chamber of Tourism.  Our organization also adquired the commitment to support the awareness and dissemination processes of this campaign in 2018.

Again, thank you very much for your support!  We wish you Merry Christmas and may next year be full of peace and love for all of us who share this Planet Earth. May we live in harmony with our neighbors and with all the species that inhabit it.

Should you wish to make a donation to plant a tree, name a seaturtle on behalf of a family member or friend, or make an end of the year donation to support any of our programs, please make a donation on 

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Destino Bahía Drake

Iker left his home in the Basque Country in Spain a couple of months ago.  He sold all his belongings, including his house, to come to Costa Rica to work with our organization on our environmental education program.   Making the decision of leaving a secure job, his family and everything he knew was not difficult, if as he said, you have the appropriate motivation. Nevertheless, it is unavoidable to question if you made the right decision. “And there I was” said Iker, “feeling something between excitement and anxiety, looking forward to starting a new project in a remote place in the rainforest of Costa Rica.

“I had received extensive information about the place I was about to move to, the job I was going to do and the life conditions.  And although I wasn’t surprised by it, nothing you can read compares to the living it in our skin.  The way people lives, and the way people think in Drake Bay are very different to what I knew.  It took me a while to earn the trust of the children and their parents and to learn how things worked here.  Between, constant activities cancelations because the school teacher had not make it or because of weather related problem, I wasn’t sure I could make it here.   However, little by little the pieces of the puzzle started to fit together, and you start to adapt”.   Iker experienced the same cultural shock that all our volunteers faced in the past: the schools in disrepair, the teachers never around, the children fending for themselves, the humidity getting to their computers, the printer got a nest of ants again and the internet failing yet again.   Working on one of the most remotes places in the rainforest of Costa Rica takes a lot of adjusting, even for us Costa Ricans.

“Once things start working and we start seeing the results of our efforts, it is easy to see the importance of our work in the area.  Being completely honest, the formal education provided in the schools in this region is very deficient and there are few parents concerned about this matter, maybe because many of them are illiterate themselves.  Besides, the area lacks recreational activities, so children end up illegally hunting with their parents or doing other not so healthy activities.   These communities lack of extracurricular possibilities for children and youth. This translate to children more prone to doing drugs or alcohol”.

Iker as a volunteer of the foundation has the responsibility of working on the after-school program with 6 environmental groups.  These children meet once a week to talk about the environment, their health, their community or any other issues. Together they also play, make art and do community projects.  

“It is amazing to be able to help this town and help to improve things!” says Iker “to provide kids with extracurricular activities its great!  You see the kids ready to start half an hour earlier, or constantly asking what time is the activity starting or when is the next activity…it’s great to feel that energy!  The energy of seeing them meet you with smiles and excitement… you couldn’t feel any better about what you do.

“I will never forget the excitement of the children that we took on a field trip, when we took the Aguilas Group from Los Angeles for a walk through the Jungle and we saw all kinds of animals and learn a lot about nature.   We ended up swimming on a waterfall and swinging on the trees.  I don’t know how much will they remember this day, but I will never forget it.”

Iker has done an amazing contribution to our program, environmental educators and teachers are invited to join our program to help for a couple of months with children and to pitch in their expertise and talent.  Our environmental education program depends always from contributions from people like you. Thank you so much for all your support!

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I have been wondering about the impact of our environmental education programs and our youth groups for years. Change produced by social processes can be too subtle to be perceived, and too ethereal to be measured, but along the way its impacts could be observed objectively. Maybe thru the testimony of those who have experienced that change.

In order to get an idea about how the environmental education program has impacted people in the community, I figured I should talk to one of the first kids we reached in the early stages of our program.  So, I went to talk to Mauricio, who was one of our first “Jaguars”.  The Jaguars was one of our first youth group, back in 2003. Mauricio is now almost 30 years old. He started coming to the Jaguars youth group when he was 16. They would work on beach clean ups, recycling and they would receive talks about sexual education, gender equality and loving nature. They made several excursions with us, including trips to Corcovado and Chirripo National Parks. They also attended a 4-day exchange trip where they visited conservation and ecotourism projects in Dominical, Manuel Antonio, Puntarenas and Guanacaste.

Mauricio is now a successful small entrepreneur and he is proud of what he has achieved. And he should, Mauricio has his own business, he provides jobs to around 10 direct and indirect employees.

I wanted to know the impact his experience in the Jaguars Youth Group had on his life. The answer was amazing. He said: “In a matter of fact I was arguing with my mom about that topic last night, I told her that parents need to let their kids have these experiences (such as those I had with the Jaguars Youth Group) to expand their mentality and open their brain to all the opportunities that there are in life. When we were here, we were so isolated and we didn’t know about what the world could offer. After we experienced all those activities with the Jaguars we all wanted more. Most of the kids that participated in the Jaguars are either now professionals or they are entrepreneurs. If I had not been part of the Jaguars I would be working on a hotel kitchen or receiving boats on the bay. Those are respectable jobs, but after what I had learned, with you guys, I wanted more. I wanted to learn English and I wanted to do more with my life. The Jaguars opened my mind and the mind of my friends”.

Mauricio also mentioned that the Jaguares effort helped shaped the community. That people are more aware about waste management and other environmental issues.

That generation of members of the youth groups are now very successful. They are entrepreneurs and / or professionals: there are business owners, doctors, nurses, social workers, managers and supervisors of big companies. 

Currently our educators enjoy the enthusiasm generated by their arrival.  There is an increased number of children participating in tutoring activities and environmental education activities.  And they can also tell that they have been missed.  Right now, our environmental education program has suffered a reduction from 20 schools to 5.  So many of them don’t see Helena or Alvaro coming to the schools anymore.  We are still fully working with the environmental youth groups and we are still tutoring children every week after school. I think that Helena is doing a great job with the kids. This is all impactful and I feel really strong about the importance of this program. 

That conversation with Mauricio was huge for me! Sometimes you don’t see the impact that your work has, but it has an impact and it can be great! It can change people’s lives and we have.

Thank you all for your effort and your support. I am very grateful for all of you that had helped us make this happen!

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Students crossing the river on their way to school
Students crossing the river on their way to school

This bridge will save lives and will make possible to kids to make to high school.  The construction of a suspension bridge that allows people and vehicles such as motorcycles to cross the Drake Bay river safely, will allow both access to basic services and better enable the development of these rural communities in disadvantaged situations.  The Corcovado Foundation both our environmental education and seaturtle conservation programs are based in these communities.

La Peninsula de Osa, is Costa Rica’s last frontier.  Its isolation and its remoteness has also help protect the amazing natural resources of the area from large investors.   However, its remoteness and its isolation has also proven to be a huge challenge for those that live in these communities.   The lack of services such as education, health, communications and transportation trial those that live in the area.  Without minimum socioeconomic conditions, local populations have no option that use and abuse their natural surrounding for subsistence.


One of the big challenges they face is the Drake Bay river.  This river is located between the communities of Progreso and Agujitas and it lacks a bridge.   During most of the rainy season the water level of this rivers makes impossible the passage of people and vehicles leaving El Progreso completely isolated.


All the communities in the Drake Bay District need to cross this river. This river stands between them and basic services such as the health clinic and the high school.  In addition, many people from that area must make their way every day in order to make it to work, most of the employment opportunities are located in Drake Bay.   The people from Los Angeles must go daily to El Progreso to purchase food where the nearest grocery store is located.   In addition, all communities in the interior such as Rincon de San Josecito, Caletas, Los Planes, Agujitas must cross this river, since the only road that connects these communities crosses this river. Therefore, all these communities are isolated during the winter, without the possibility of having an exit way by land.  If the people are forced to leave by road their only possibility then is going out by sea, on a boat having to cross the mouth of the Sierpe River, which is extremely dangerous.  This river has claimed the life of more than 80 people in Drake Bay.  Babies are born on boats, when their moms were trying to make it to the hospital and civilization.

 Therefore, the construction of a suspension bridge that allows people and vehicles such as motorcycles to cross that river safely, will allow both access to basic services and better enable the development of these rural communities in disadvantaged situations.

With funding from the Interamerican foundation, our organization was able to contribute with $10,000 USD in materials, the community will donate their time and labor for an approximate of $15,000 USD, but we still need $15,000 USD more in materials.  You can take advantage of this Globalgiving bonus rewards day, which starts tomorrow at 7:00 a.m. Costa Rica time or 9:00 am EDT.   Donations thru globalgiving are tax deductible in the United States and tomorrow they will be match 40% while funds remain.    

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Learning in the class room about conservation
Learning in the class room about conservation

An Educational Strategy aims to sensitize teachers of the key role they play in the development of rural communities and the importance of promoting leadership for the conservation of natural resources

 • 120 teachers from the Grande de Térraba Regional Office are trained to provide Environmental Education for Sustainable Development.

• The Corcovado Foundation developed a pedagogical strategy that makes it easier for teachers to teach the environmental education.

The South Pacific of Costa Rica is an area of great natural beauty and enormous biodiversity; Unfortunately, it also has the lowest socio-economic development rates in the country. This creates a conflict in the local population: the communities need to use the natural resources for their livelihood, but protecting the natural resource is important for their future. In order to resolve this ancient conflict, it is imperative to adapt productive activities to promote the socio-economic development of communities in a sustainable manner. But for this, it is fundamental to raise awareness about the ecological importance and vulnerability of the place they inhabit. It is necessary to enrich society with students who in the future can be agents of community development: capable of promoting development and environmental protection.

Therefore, the Ministry of Public Education signed a cooperation agreement with the Corcovado Foundation to train 120 teachers in order to promote environmental education for sustainable development. These teachers will have the tools to train a student population of 2000 children. Teachers will receive 5 workshops that will enable them, to promote Sustainable Development as a transversal theme for students.

The manual called: Coexisting with the Community of Life in the South Pacific, is a pedagogical strategy directed to the children of the Osa Conservation Area, to promote a culture of respect for life from an early age and thus expedite the process of Social transformation necessary to counter environmental problems. It also covers topics of great importance such as the conservation of marine resources, which is essential for the survival of human beings on the planet. This strategy was initially funded by the Humane Society and this second edition was made possible by the financial support of HELVETAS Guatemala and the US Department of State. We were only able to put to man work necessary to develop the program because of the help and support of friends and donors of the foundation through  Thank you so much!.

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Organization Information

Corcovado Foundation

Location: Moravia,, San Jose - Costa Rica
Facebook: Facebook Page
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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