Last summer we were able to open the proverbial champagne bottle again! Despite all external influences, we managed to formalize the purchase of a beautiful and especially strategically important piece of rainforest! It concerns the 9 hectares on which the research center is located.Apart from the piece where the buildings are located, it is also a very special piece of forest where many special observations have been made in recent years. Because this plot is really located in the village of San Miguel, we can also use it for educational projects with the local population.
Why a plot that is not adjacent to the reserve? A research center in the village near the reserve is part of our basic plan. In this way we create involvement with the local population. This also ensures a safe environment for the guests by social control in the village and the proximity of medical care if needed. The research center is built on one of the last plots in the village that is almost completely covered with rainforest. In total there are more than 7 hectares of forest. The fact that we also protect this patch of forest makes it much more visible to the inhabitants of San Miguel what we are doing. This place is also important to stay in contact with the people around us. Here we give English lessons to local residents, we receive representatives of collaborating organizations and we share our biological knowledge.
What makes this plot so special?
The natural value of the forest on this plot is very high because there has been hardly any activity in it for years and definitely no felling. A large part of the most special observations have been made in this plot. This 9-hectare plot is located three kilometers from the reserve and on the outskirts of the village of San Miguel. In this way we can quickly be present in the reserve but we are also in contact with the local community. There are cottages for our people on site and also the research project is located there. Because of the great diversity of plants it looks like we live in a botanical garden, with many different fruit trees, flowers and wood species. The students and volunteers work on research in their own spaces, which helps us to better understand the nature in the reserve and its surroundings.
What about the research center?
Actually, in 2017 the plot of land has already been purchased and was formalized at the notary last summer. This choice was made because in 2017 we really saw the need to be actively present in Costa Rica and to start the research. This step has made it possible, among other things, to attract significantly more donors and sponsors. The fact that it took 3 years has to do with various bureaucratic processes and of course the corona crisis did not help either.
This plot offers many possibilities. In any case, the research will continue there, the exact form will depend on what the corona crisis ultimately allows. In addition, the intention is to do more local education projects in this relatively small piece of reserve in the village. Think for example of excursions for elementary school students from San Miguel. Furthermore, we want to motivate and inspire the people of San Miguel to create more forest and greenery on and around their plots. This will provide cooling, better water management and a healthier environment.
Our big dream is to buy the plots of land between the reserve and the research center and add them to the reserve, so that it becomes one big green area. This is a distant future, because first there are some more important pieces of forest that need to be protected between the reserve and Barbilla National Park!
Watch the (Dutch) video here to get a good impression of the purchased plot with the realized research center:
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