Dec 22, 2020

It was a tough year, but we kept going.

Liberacion de tortugas con ninos locales
Liberacion de tortugas con ninos locales

Merry Christmas, and may 2021 bring all families in the world the peace, health, and prosperity we all long! This report is long because, although this year was challenging, we moved every program forward.   With your help, we were able to accomplish more, serve more people, and be more impactful.

What a year this has been!

This year started with many changes; Steven stepped down as president of the foundation after more than two decades of leading it. As long-time members of the organization, Steven invited Jim and me to step on the board. I have served as president of this organization during these challenging times that have hit the world hard.

In mid-February, all the plans for the beginning of the year started to crumble, and in mid-March, everything changed. We had to suspend all in-person training and educational activities planned for the following months. Community park ranger workshops, consultant visits to community-based tourism projects, and meetings of environmental education groups were suspended.

To serve those that need us the most!

We quickly regrouped and committed to staying positive, proactive, and supportive. We soon understood that our duty was to assist the communities we serve, which are highly vulnerable to tourism closure in the area. In Bahia Drake, at least 85% of the people survive directly or indirectly from tourism, mainly international. We decided to readjust and rethink ourselves so that we could help the communities, our members. We started to rethink how to use our platforms and networks to support those who need us the most. To do this, we started using our media to raise funds and buy food and cleaning supplies for the elderly population and the most impoverished families of Bahia Drake. At this point, we have raised USD 14,000, and we have delivered 450 food packages to 50 older adults and families living in poverty since the end of March.

Regenerative agriculture

We have managed to refocus some of the funds approved for activities such as workshops and field trips, which given the pandemic, will not happen, and we have used them to promote regenerative agriculture in the communities. Regenerative agriculture will help us promote food independence and, at the same time, encourage practices that allow soil restoration. The idea is to help communities plant their gardens in their homes or farms in a regenerative way to guarantee their sustainability and productivity. With the pandemic's arrival, we realized regenerative agriculture could help local families alleviate the family's economic situation, reduce the pressure on natural resources, and reduce the hunting of wild animals. Thanks to that, 24 families have completed their regenerative agriculture training after receiving five theoretical workshops and three practical visits. They have learned about soils, preparation of cultivation beds, organic fertilizers and repellants, extraction and conservation of seeds, and seedlings preparation. They have also received all the materials and supplies needed to produce their crops.

Virtual environmental education

Regarding our environmental education program, we have also reinvented ourselves. Our environmental educator has been creating videos for children, challenging them to practice, research, or do an environmental educational activity from home. They send us back their photos and videos doing it, thereby keeping the children at home interested, active, and motivated. For the longest time, our environmental education activities were the only extracurricular activities these kids had. Then once the schools closed due to the COVID19, our activities were the only educational activities available. We delivered fruit trees, endangered trees, and educational supplies to each kid in the groups. More than 40 kids in the communities received watercolors, markers, cardboard, pencils, among other things. This material will help the kids participate in the remote challenges from the safety of their homes. We have carried out more than seventeen environmental challenges, in which up to 27 children have participated per session.  

Sea turtle conservation

This year, we did not have international volunteers. This was a challenge because we have been able to maintain the program through the support of volunteers who come to work on the beach and pay for their food, accommodation, and part of the cost of the project. However, instead of reducing our sea turtle project's impact and scope, we have expanded it and double its efforts. We are now working in two beaches: Punta Mala-Playa Hermosa on the Central Pacific and Rincón near Corcovado National Park.

We moved our sea turtle conservation program in Playa Rincón to Esteban's property. This local young man has spent several years working in turtle conservation and owns a beachfront property in the Rincon area. The results there have been excellent. We have been providing Esteban with the funds for his salary and to purchase food for his volunteers. He has managed to lead a group of local kids that have been very committed and successful at protecting the sea turtles. They had 17 volunteers and 102 nesting activities, of which 92 nests were relocated to the nursery and 7 nests were poached. 3800 baby turtles were released, which means a 95.1% hatching success.

In Punta Mala, we have had a team of 3 members, who with the support of 26 volunteers, mostly Costa Ricans, managed to take care of 924 nesting activities, including 490 nests that remained on the beach and were not depredated, 224 nests relocated in the nursery, 121 nests lost to predators, and 12 poached nests. This beach is crucial because of the massive amount of nesting, the pressure from predators and poachers, the eroded beaches, and other natural and human impacts on the sea turtle nesting activity.  

Other community accomplishments!

  • Seventy community park rangers trained and equipped to support the Corcovado, Piedras Blancas, Marino Ballena national parks, and Golfo Dulce Forestry Reserve.
  • Eleven people from the La Amistad-Talamanca communities trained to obtain their official guide certification, which meant an investment of $2000.00 per guide.
  • Eight grassroots organizations in the La Amistad-Talamanca region strengthened with technical support to improve their sustainability.
  • Together with Terri and Gary, we are organizing a castration event for 40 dogs on Dec. 13.
  • Thanks to a donation of 6000 kg of dog food from the Humane Society, we have provided 96 dogs in Los Planes and 67 dogs in Los Angeles with food, reducing predatory pressure on the environment.  300 more dogs will receive support soon.

After 10 years of waiting, and thanks to the leadership of our very own Mayra and our lawyer Estela, the Ministry of Education approved the land's purchase to build a proper high school for Drake Bay.

It has not been an easy year, but we have adapted and reinvented ourselves. We have been at the forefront of a series of initiatives, being among the first to move from doing face-to-face activities to online workshops, virtual environmental education activities, and fundraising to feed the most vulnerable. We are very grateful for your support. Everything we have achieved is thanks to you, who supported us and trusted us.

Agricultura Regenerativa
Agricultura Regenerativa
Providing for the elderly
Providing for the elderly
Providing for underprivilege families
Providing for underprivilege families
Dec 22, 2020

It was a tough year, but we kept going.

Supporting underprivileged families
Supporting underprivileged families

Merry Christmas, and may 2021 bring all families in the world the peace, health, and prosperity we all long! This report is long because, although this year was challenging, we moved every program forward.   With your help, we were able to accomplish more, serve more people, and be more impactful.

What a year this has been!

This year started with many changes; Steven stepped down as president of the foundation after more than two decades of leading it. As long-time members of the organization, Steven invited Jim and me to step on the board. I have served as president of this organization during these challenging times that have hit the world hard.

In mid-February, all the plans for the beginning of the year started to crumble, and in mid-March, everything changed. We had to suspend all in-person training and educational activities planned for the following months. Community park ranger workshops, consultant visits to community-based tourism projects, and meetings of environmental education groups were suspended.

To serve those that need us the most!

We quickly regrouped and committed to staying positive, proactive, and supportive. We soon understood that our duty was to assist the communities we serve, which are highly vulnerable to tourism closure in the area. In Bahia Drake, at least 85% of the people survive directly or indirectly from tourism, mainly international. We decided to readjust and rethink ourselves so that we could help the communities, our members. We started to rethink how to use our platforms and networks to support those who need us the most. To do this, we started using our media to raise funds and buy food and cleaning supplies for the elderly population and the most impoverished families of Bahia Drake. At this point, we have raised USD 14,000, and we have delivered 450 food packages to 50 older adults and families living in poverty since the end of March.

Regenerative agriculture

We have managed to refocus some of the funds approved for activities such as workshops and field trips, which given the pandemic, will not happen, and we have used them to promote regenerative agriculture in the communities. Regenerative agriculture will help us promote food independence and, at the same time, encourage practices that allow soil restoration. The idea is to help communities plant their gardens in their homes or farms in a regenerative way to guarantee their sustainability and productivity. With the pandemic's arrival, we realized regenerative agriculture could help local families alleviate the family's economic situation, reduce the pressure on natural resources, and reduce the hunting of wild animals. Thanks to that, 24 families have completed their regenerative agriculture training after receiving five theoretical workshops and three practical visits. They have learned about soils, preparation of cultivation beds, organic fertilizers and repellants, extraction and conservation of seeds, and seedlings preparation. They have also received all the materials and supplies needed to produce their crops.

Virtual environmental education

Regarding our environmental education program, we have also reinvented ourselves. Our environmental educator has been creating videos for children, challenging them to practice, research, or do an environmental educational activity from home. They send us back their photos and videos doing it, thereby keeping the children at home interested, active, and motivated. For the longest time, our environmental education activities were the only extracurricular activities these kids had. Then once the schools closed due to the COVID19, our activities were the only educational activities available. We delivered fruit trees, endangered trees, and educational supplies to each kid in the groups. More than 40 kids in the communities received watercolors, markers, cardboard, pencils, among other things. This material will help the kids participate in the remote challenges from the safety of their homes. We have carried out more than seventeen environmental challenges, in which up to 27 children have participated per session.  

Sea turtle conservation

This year, we did not have international volunteers. This was a challenge because we have been able to maintain the program through the support of volunteers who come to work on the beach and pay for their food, accommodation, and part of the cost of the project. However, instead of reducing our sea turtle project's impact and scope, we have expanded it and double its efforts. We are now working in two beaches: Punta Mala-Playa Hermosa on the Central Pacific and Rincón near Corcovado National Park.

We moved our sea turtle conservation program in Playa Rincón to Esteban's property. This local young man has spent several years working in turtle conservation and owns a beachfront property in the Rincon area. The results there have been excellent. We have been providing Esteban with the funds for his salary and to purchase food for his volunteers. He has managed to lead a group of local kids that have been very committed and successful at protecting the sea turtles. They had 17 volunteers and 102 nesting activities, of which 92 nests were relocated to the nursery and 7 nests were poached. 3800 baby turtles were released, which means a 95.1% hatching success.

In Punta Mala, we have had a team of 3 members, who with the support of 26 volunteers, mostly Costa Ricans, managed to take care of 924 nesting activities, including 490 nests that remained on the beach and were not depredated, 224 nests relocated in the nursery, 121 nests lost to predators, and 12 poached nests. This beach is crucial because of the massive amount of nesting, the pressure from predators and poachers, the eroded beaches, and other natural and human impacts on the sea turtle nesting activity.  

Other community accomplishments!

  • Seventy community park rangers trained and equipped to support the Corcovado, Piedras Blancas, Marino Ballena national parks, and Golfo Dulce Forestry Reserve.
  • Eleven people from the La Amistad-Talamanca communities trained to obtain their official guide certification, which meant an investment of $2000.00 per guide.
  • Eight grassroots organizations in the La Amistad-Talamanca region strengthened with technical support to improve their sustainability.
  • Together with Terri and Gary, we are organizing a castration event for 40 dogs on Dec. 13.
  • Thanks to a donation of 6000 kg of dog food from the Humane Society, we have provided 96 dogs in Los Planes and 67 dogs in Los Angeles with food, reducing predatory pressure on the environment.  300 more dogs will receive support soon.

After 10 years of waiting, and thanks to the leadership of our very own Mayra and our lawyer Estela, the Ministry of Education approved the land's purchase to build a proper high school for Drake Bay.

It has not been an easy year, but we have adapted and reinvented ourselves. We have been at the forefront of a series of initiatives, being among the first to move from doing face-to-face activities to online workshops, virtual environmental education activities, and fundraising to feed the most vulnerable. We are very grateful for your support. Everything we have achieved is thanks to you, who supported us and trusted us.

Agricultura Regenerativa 4
Agricultura Regenerativa 4
16,000 baby turtles released to the ocean
16,000 baby turtles released to the ocean
seaturtles on the way to the ocean
seaturtles on the way to the ocean
Nov 30, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving!! I am thankful for you!

Not every country celebrates Thanksgiving. It is not a Costa Rican tradition. But giving thanks should be a daily thing and having a holiday to give thanks it's a beautiful idea!

Let us not fool ourselves, 2020 has been a challenging year. So many people are unemployed worldwide -according to some estimations, 40% of Costa Rican households will fall under the line of poverty by the end of the year- and so many people died to the COVID 19. It has also been harsh weather-wise; draughts, hurricanes, and floods hit us left and right. Not an easy year.

Yet, I can not help to feel grateful. This year you -and friends like- you have stepped up more than ever to show your solidarity! Your trust, generosity, and commitment have helped us bring relief to people in the Osa Peninsula's most vulnerable and impoverished places. And that's not all, we have been really busy helping people stay on track! Thanks to you we have

  1. Supplied relief to 50 senior citizens in Drake Bay, every month since April 2020,
  2. Protected more sea turtles nests than ever before,
  3. Given remote environmental education every week to kids all over the Osa Peninsula
  4. Provided training, materials, and organic seeds to 30 families who are now practicing regenerative agriculture to improve their food independence without damaging the environment.
  5. Trained and certified 11 tourism guides in the Talamanca Region
  6. Supplied training to 10 associations all over the Talamanca region
  7. And this end of the year, we will be bringing Christmas gifts to 95 kids all over the Osa Peninsula whose parents are struggling.

There is so much need in Costa Rica and the world, but you have been a light helping stay on track through this bleak time.

If you celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope you enjoy it, and if you don't, I hope you have lots of things to be grateful for anyway. We are indeed thankful for you!

 Warmest regards, 

 

Ale

 
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