Our story

How and why we ended up protecting the Costa Rican rainforest?
Get to know our story


The emergence

In 2002 Maarten and Matthijs, the founders of the foundation, are in Costa Rica for the first time. They immediately fell in love with the rainforest. But they also noticed the speed in which it disappears. They wanted to do something about this and protect this beautiful rainforest.

That is how and why the Work with Nature Foundation was established, back in 2011. The founders used their own money to buy the first piece of rainforest in a very sensitive area. In the following years, the foundation was expanded with a board, advisory board and a large number of volunteers, and many contributors joined to help the cause. We’ve achieved so much since then.

Read what we’ve been up to

The foundation

Work with Nature was born out of pure passion for the rainforest and its biodiversity. This passion is in the DNA of the foundation and is the unlimited motivation to continue with the good work we do. The foundation is located in the Netherlands and mainly focuses on fundraising and education in order to achieve the practical goals in Costa Rica.


Our mission and vision

As the Work with Nature foundation, we protect Costa Rican rainforest, and we facilitate research in this area.

Work with Nature is committed to the preservation and restoration of at least 2000 hectares of rainforest in Costa Rica through the purchase of rainforest and the active protection of both this rainforest and its biodiversity.

Read the detailed description of what we do in our policy plan.


The location

The reserve is adjacent to and forms a buffer for the Barbilla National Park and is located near the village of San Miguel, where the research center is also located. It is a special type of Caribbean lowland rainforest that is under great pressure from large-scale fruit plantations.

The reserve is located in the Mesoamerican wildlife corridor that connects North and South America. It is part of “Reserva de Biosfera La Amistad” which has been designated as a UNESCO world heritage area. Coordinates: 10°00’24.6″N 83°21’19.9″W



The board guarantees a well-organized foundation that keeps its promises. But that is not enough. That is why the foundation also carries the CBF quality mark and the ANBI status with the Tax Authorities. The CBF tests whether charities meet strict quality requirements, so that you can be sure that your donation is used in the right way.



We budget for several years and our budget covers the entire reserve we envisage protecting. The distribution of expenses as shown in the image apply to each donation.


Local partners

The foundation is linked to the local foundation “Fundación Work with Nature MMM” in Costa Rica, which is managed by three board members from the Dutch foundation and a number of Costa Rican locals. This foundation is responsible for all executive tasks such as purchase, protection and maintenance. The foundation in the Netherlands is largely responsible for financing this.

Since 2017, a continuous research project supervised by two professional biologists has been running near the reserve, with an occupancy of 10 to 12 students and researchers all year round. Various facilities have been built to accommodate these guests and enable thorough research.