A two week school vacation was coming up and the team in Quepos wanted to do something special for the kids in El Cocal. There is such a wealth of exciting opportunities here in Manuel Antonio, right on their doorstep, that these kids do not get a chance to experience. So we decided to organize a field trip! We got in touch with the ‘Refugio de Vida Silvestre and Mariposario’ which is a private wildlife reserve funded and operated by the Si Como No resort right here in Manuel Antonio. We explained our project and they very kindly offered us free entry and a personalized guided tour. The property consists of a 25 acre reserve boasting the same plant and animal life as the Manuel Antonio National Park. They also have a butterfly garden and reptile lagoon consisting of rescued, caiman, crocodiles and tortoises.
Once the kids got wind of the idea we knew it would be a success as in the weeks leading up to the trip, every day in the centre they would ask ‘vamos al mariposario manana? We had such a good response that we had to organize 3 trips so that everyone could go. The first day we took 1st and 2nd graders, the second 3rd and 4th and the third 5th and 6th and even some kids in high school asked if they could come and how could we say no.
In the week leading up to the trip the community centre activities were very much focused on butterflies and nature activities. The volunteers were just as excited as the kids and put together some great activities for each day. Each excursion was lead by a team of 4 volunteers, they organized age appropriate activities for each group based on what they would learn and observe during the trip. We had art projects, creative writing, word searches, quizzes, butterfly life cycle games…
A total of 44 kids attended over the 3 days! We were even accompanied by some of the children’s family members, which was great way to strengthen our bonds within the community and share a lovely day out together. These kinds of activities can only serve to make our program more integrated within the community itself and we hope to develop similar extracurricular activities in the future.
The staff at the refugio were absolutely fabulous, giving us their time and expertise. We are hoping to collaborate with the future. http://www.wildliferefugecr.com/