helping nature in costa rica
Costa Rica, as a developing nation, welcomes your help if you want to contribute to its progress as well as simply enjoy it. Besides the knowledge that you have helped, this gives you a chance to meet some wonderful people you otherwise would have missed.
Costa Rica's national parks need international support as they've only been established recently and are still being increased. The nation has been unable to build needed facilities or even to buy all the private land within them-in some cases a large proportion of the park. To protect the wildlife and plants for which the parks were established, more rangers are needed, with equipment to do the job.
Besides Peace Corps volunteers assigned to individual parks, the Servicio Parques Nacionales has its own volunteer program, open to volunteers who can live very simply and work at needed projects including trail building. The office is on the ground floor of the park system headquarters at Calle 25, Ave. 8/10. For information in English if you need it..
The Fundacion de Parques Nacionales, Apdo. 236, 1002 San Jose, (Tel.23-8437 and 33-0003) was established to raise money for the parks, to set priorities for its use in the park system, and to assure that donated funds are spent for that purpose. Its office is on the second floor of the edificio cristal, Ave 1, Calle 1/3. Donations can be made to be used where the foundation sees greatest need or for particular units of the system. Here's one use for the money you couldn't change back to dollars on leaving or as a meaningful gift you don't have to pack for nature loving friends at home.
Tax-deductible donations can be made from within the United States
specifically for the Costa Rican Parks to:
Fundacion Neotropica (same office, address, and phone as Fundacion de Parques Nacionales above) works both within and outside parks to protect the environment. They have specific projects such as helping rural people develop markets for products harvested from rainforest without clear-cutting the forest, promoting reforestation, etc. Many authorities feel the only way to protect the forest and its animals from people who are only trying to feed their families is to develop cooperative projects. Drawing boundary lines on maps doesn't guarantee protection.
While Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve isn't a park and is run instead by the Tropical Science Center, its needs are similar. The Monteverde Conservation League, Apdo. 10165, 1000 San Jose, raises funds to buy land adjacent to the present reserve on both east and west that is essential breeding habitat for the bare-necked umbrella bird and resplendent quetzal as well as the jaguar and many other species. . The League has agreements with some farmers to buy their land, but must raise the money before the land is deforested or sold.
The Children's Rainforest, is an international project started in Sweden, and now includes children, schools, and adults buying land adjacent to the Monteverde Cloud Forest to enlarge the habitat. Large donations are credited to tracts often named as memorials. Donations can be made to the Monteverde Conservation League, the World Wildlife Fund, or The Nature Conservancy, designated for the "International Children's Rainforest Program".
Village libraries in towns with no high schools are the only way Costa Ricans can continue education past the 6th grade if they can't afford to live elsewhere to go to school. There are presently very little libraries outside San Jose though the country needs hundreds more. Most of these have very few books, all of which must be read in the library. Libraries are critical in a democracy where everyone votes and must understand what he's voting for. Sra. Oduber, wife of the former president, made these her concern and helped get the system as far as it is.
To donate funds or books (new or used, Spanish preferred), address:
Sra. Vera Violeta Salazar Mora,
You can specify (especificar): " Para comprar de libros de las Bibliotecas publicas."
In San Jose can go to the National Library across from the National Park on the hill and ask for this department. Sra. Salazar says that with such specification the money will not be spent in San Jose nor will it be used to simply build more concrete somewhere. If you'd like to help democracy in Latin America, here's a personal way to do it.
I hope someday all villages without libraries will at least have a few shelves of library books in the school where any villager can read them and where students will then have more books available.
People wishing to volunteer to teach English in Costa Rican schools can write to the Ministerio de Educacion, Departamento de Ingles 1000 San Jose, Costa Rica. This program is starting as we go to press. Rural schools especially need help in most subject areas as they sometimes can get only high school graduates as teachers.
Retired executives can help Costa Rica and other developing nations by sharing their managerial skills through International Executive Service Corps, P. 0. Box 10005, Stamford, CT 06904 in the U.S. or C.E.S.O., Suite 200, 1867 Yonge Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada WS lY5 in Canada. The program is effective in Costa Rica, and our readers have enjoyed participating.
The Peace Corps is very active in Costa Rica and includes retired couples with experience and skills Costa Rica needs. I've some truly radiant people who've volunteered in public health, libraries, and schools.
Costa Rica is a great vacation land for those who want to relax. It's also an inspiring place with welcoming people for those who want to help others.
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