To be a leading example locally and internationally
in wildlife conservation through our research, sustainability, and educational programs
Then, her worst fears were realized. The increasing interest Ostional and Nosara had gained as tourism destinations brought masses of tourists onto the beach in September 2015, disrupting nesting sea turtles in an event covered by international media. Ostional was in the spotlight and immediate action on a broad scope of related issues was required to protect sea turtles at this site. Something needed to be done. After reaching out to colleagues and looking at examples of sustainable tourism and successful conservation around the world, Vanessa came up with a plan to develop programming and generate revenue for conservation in the area.
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 interest in conservation brought her back to Costa Rica repeatedly, before finally moving to the country full-time in 2015. Her first experience with sea turtles was volunteering in a sea turtle project in Matapalo in 2008, a moment where she realized she wanted to devote her life to the protection of this species. She conducted her Masters and Ph.D. research on sea turtles at the Ostional National Wildlife Refuge, noticing that sea turtles were nesting on other beaches of the Refuge in addition to the main nesting beach at Ostional. As a result, she started monitoring their activity and offering educational talks at local schools and businesses, leading to the creation of her first non-profit TortuGuiones, for which she quickly became known as “the turtle lady” in town.
Vanessa during her PhD research in 2017
In her efforts to make this a reality, Vanessa reached out to several other community leaders with the proposal, but it wasn't until she got in touch with Steve Mack that things really began to move forward. Steve had lived and worked in Costa Rica since 1989, during which time he was the director of a successful campaign to raise $18 million for nature conservation on Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula in addition to co-founding the first organization in Latin America dedicated to the development of environmental law. Since 2013, Steve has worked as the Executive Director of the Guanacaste Community Fund, a trust fund with the objective of linking people investing in improving the quality of life in Guanacaste with organizations working with the community that share the same goal. Steve was the perfect match for the initiative.
Steve and Vanessa worked closely together to develop a strategic plan focused on raising awareness, establishing synergies and uniting efforts with other existing organizations in the area and looking for investors and donors. As a result, the Wildlife Conservation Association was established in 2018 as a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting wildlife conservation in the area. 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.
Steve Mack, Executive Director of the Guanacaste Community Fund
At present, the Wildlife Conservation Association has implemented programs to promote sustainable living amongst the local, expat and tourist community through conservation, research, education, community outreach and sustainable development and tourism.
But our ambition goes further. Following many other successful examples around the world, we want to establish a Center that will house all of our activities all the while offering a unique and awe-inspiring experience to visitors that we hope will contribute to increasing conservation efforts locally and internationally.
“Only if we understand, can we care. Only if we care, will we help.”
Board of Directors
Vanessa Bézy, Ph.D.
Professor, Del Mar Academy
Guiones Legal Services
Executive Director, Guanacaste Community Fund
Founding Members and Partners
Director of Development,
Founder and Director, Progresa Consultoria
Michel Bézy, Ph.D.
Professor and Associate Director,
Carnegie Mellon University-Africa
Account Associate, Brew Advisors
Co-Founder and Manager, Synergy Action Consultants
Organizational Development Consulting, California Consortium of Education Foundations
Director of Forestry Programs and Biological Corridors, ACT, SINAC
Community Projection and Sustainability Manager, Harmony Projects
Co-founder and Director of Sustainability, Del Mar Academy
Founder and President, Earth Equilibrium
Community Service and Tourism
Founder and President, Conocer
Real Estate Advisor
Realtor, Wanderlust Realty
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.