TO BE LEADERS AND STEWARDS LOCALLY AND INTERNATIONALLY IN WILDLIFE CONSERVATION THROUGH EXCEPTIONAL EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCES AND PROGRAMS
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
DR. VANESSA BÉZY, Ph.D.
Founder & Scientific Director
Vanessa has been studying sea turtles and the arribada phenomenon at Ostional for over ten years. She is a National Geographic Explorer who strongly advocates for the protection of sea turtles at Ostional National Wildlife Refuge. Through her involvement with the local community, Vanessa has helped form alliances between the tourism sector and the Refuge, provided scientific data to support wildlife conservation policies, and established two non-profits dedicated to sea turtle and wildlife conservation in the area.
Carlos brings to the team his background in psychology and human resources and experience working with large, international corporations. Carlos’s first experience with a sea turtle was in Tortuguero, Costa Rica, and he recently made a life-change and moved to the country to work with sea turtles. Since witnessing the arribada for the first time, Carlos joined the cause and has been a proponent of the recognition of the Refuge worldwide as an important nesting beach for the arribada phenomenon.
Steve has lived and worked in Costa Rica since 1989, during which time he successfully raised millions of dollars for nature conservation in Costa Rica, co-founded the first organization in Latin America dedicated to the development of environmental law. Steve is the Executive Director of the Guanacaste Community Fund, a community foundation for the province of Guanacaste that links people investing in improving the quality of life in the area with people and organizations working in communities to make this a reality.
OUR CORE TEAM
Vanessa Bézy, Ph.D. Conservation Biologist,
Del Mar Academy
Guiones Legal Services
Co-Founder and Manager,
Synergy Action Consultants
Consulting, California Consortium of Education Foundations
Director of Forestry Programs and Biological Corridors, ACT, SINAC
Community Projection & Sustainability Manager, Harmony Projects
Co-founder and Director of
Sustainability, Del Mar Academy
Founder and President,
Community Service and Tourism
Founder and President, Conocer Harmony Projects
Real Estate Advisor
Realtor, Wanderlust Realty
FOUNDING MEMBERS & PARTNERS
Founder and Director,
Director of Development,
Michel Bézy, Ph.D.
Professor and Associate Director, Carnegie Mellon University-Africa
THE HISTORY OF THE WILDLIFE CONSERVATION ASSOCIATION
TortuGuiones: Our Legacy Organization
Fifteen years ago, our founder Vanessa Bézy came to Costa Rica for the first time on a study abroad experience that ignited her passion for wildlife conservation. Her work with various sea turtle conservation projects made her realize she wanted to devote her life to the protection of this species. Years later, when she was conducting her Ph.D. research on sea turtles at the Ostional National Wildlife Refuge, she founded our legacy organization TortuGuiones, for which she quickly became known as “the turtle lady” in town.
2015: Developing Sustainable Tourism and Wildlife Conservation Initiatives
The increasing interest the area gained as a tourism destination brought masses of tourists onto the beach in September 2015, disrupting nesting sea turtles in an event covered by international media. Something needed to be done on a broader scope to protect sea turtles at this site. After reaching out to colleagues and looking at examples of sustainable tourism and successful conservation initiatives around the world, Vanessa came up with a plan to develop programming and generate revenue for conservation in the area.
2018: Wildlife Conservation Association
As a result, TortuGuiones grew into a larger initiative to protect all wildlife by and for the community. The Wildlife Conservation Association was established in 2018 as a non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring sustainable living through research, community engagement, and immersive educational experiences. Since then, many collaborating partners and individuals have joined the cause, making what was once only a dream a reality that many other community members and organizations have embraced.
Our Future: The Ostional Nosara Sustainability Campus
Our ambition goes further. The initiative to establish the Ostional Nosara Sustainability Campus is the result of a collaboration between the WCA, the Nosara Civic Association and the Ostional National Wildlife Refuge. Our goal is to create a campus of an integrated system of spaces that help make the refuge's natural capital profitable to promote the construction of a resilient community in balance with nature. Following many other successful examples around the world, we want to establish the Ostional Nosara Sustainability Campus which will fulfill the social, economic, and environmental needs of the Ostional National Wildlife Refuge and surrounding communities. This initiative will enable and strengthen the existing participatory conservation model by promoting collaborative initiatives for sustainable development in the area. The Ostional Nosara Sustainability Campus will provide shared space and facilities for research and local organizations; immersive educational and community programming; mobility solutions to connect Campus sites; sustainable design, construction, and operation.
Tax-deductible donations can be made in Costa Rica, the United States, and Canada through our fiscal sponsorships with the Guanacaste Community Fund, Amigos of Costa Rica, and the International Canadian Fund for Conservation.
The Wildlife Conservation Association works in close collaboration with individuals and organizations who share our mission and empower us by offering monetary or in-kind support.
Dr. Vanessa Bézy during her PhD research in 2017 with an Arribada at Ostional National Wildlife Refuge.
Steve Mack, Executive Director of the Guanacaste Community Fund