The Community: Programs
The concern of the Foundation for the environment and the community, has lead us to establish different programs, that are divided in the following way:
- Recuperation of cultural heritage
When the community was recently established, importance was given to giving information to neighboring communities about the setting up of the community and a program was developed to reveal the creation of the project; through pamphlets, radio programs and direct invitations to members of the local community and government officials.
Three main activities have been worked on regarding the area of conservation. The first was to establish an Environmental Education Program whose goal is to extend the interaction between man and his environment. The program is especially adapted for the neighboring communities. It is hoped that through education, the new generations and the neighboring communities will learn a healthy and beneficiary way of life for the environment, in this way contributing to the preservation of the area.
To date, the Foundation has given courses and training in various areas. For example, nutrition, management of hydrographical river basins, first aid, fire control, organic agriculture etc. Also the facilities of the Foundation allow other organizations such as INA (National Institute for Learning), INBIO (Biological National Institute), The University of Costa Rica and the OET (Organization of Tropical Studies), to have their own courses and workshops.
Secondly, a Reforestation Program has been developed, which was created over ten years ago and is still functioning, which has contributed to the planting of over 300,000 trees in the area. Only native species have been planted and it is hoped that the program will continue together with the neighboring communities. To date over 1,500,000 trees have been planted in neighboring communities.
Thirdly, one of the most significant programs, the purchase of land located between the DBR and the AIP, than makes up a biological corridor of approximately 7500 hectares. All economic surpluses have been invested for this purpose and at the moment this ambitious project is a reality.
The Foundation believes that education and the access to knowledge contribute to the improvement of social conditions. Since the beginning a series of programs has been worked on that are now well established.
With relation to formal education, there is a small school in the community. The Public Ministry of Education has officially recognized the school, and it not only serves the community but also is available to other students that wish to attend. The community offers the opportunity to teenagers and adults that wish to continue their secondary and university studies via distance learning programs with resident teachers that supervise and the exams are taken for the secondary course in Buenos Aires and those of the University are taken in the National University of Distance Education. Also we contribute to reading and writing programs for the indigenous population of the area.
Also as part of the environmental program directed towards the children of the indigenous schools, once a year an ecological day is organized where the children share together and carry out cultural activities to help them to become more aware of the importance of protecting the forest and natural resources.
Also as part of the formal education, a series of courses and workshops with specific topics are offered such as carpentry, crafts, painting, music and physical education amongst others. Also a series of seminars are given in the following areas:
- Courtesy and etiquette
- Medicinal plants
- Martial arts
- The formation of environmental promoters
- Basic techniques in mountain search and rescue
- Identification and classification of native orchids
- Management of natural forests
- Control and prevention of forestry fires
- Organic agriculture
- Bird watching and identification
- Nutrition and vegetarian cooking
RECUPERATION OF CULTURAL HERITAGE
With the slow assimilation of the local indigenous population, their original culture is disappearing and the need has been felt to contribute to the preservation of this heritage. For this purpose, we have a program dedicated to collecting the cultural heritage of the local indigenous population, their customs, folklore, legends and knowledge of nature.
We work closely with the communities. The intention has been to study the changes caused by the influence of the white man over the indigenous population and by analyzing the present problems that these communities face we hope to contribute to the improvement of their living conditions.
The courses and training given by the Foundation are aimed at a wide range of participants, from indigenous communities in the area, to all Costa Ricans and foreigners that would like to widen their knowledge in the areas in which the community has experience. Also through other organizations like ARADIKES (Buenos Aires) and the Canadian Fund, the Foundation has developed programs specifically based in agricultural self-sufficiency of the indigenous families.
The community welcomes investigators that are interested in carrying out biological, botanical and social studies and any other subject that can benefit human knowledge and that of the community. An agreement can be made in the case of extended visits. The community installed this year complete modern laboratory equipment for investigation.