Our work is inspired by the guiding principles of sustainability.


Develop and implement programs that promote a unified and sustainable community.



Wildlife Conservation


Community Outreach

Sustainable Development and Tourism





Inspire people to live a sustainable lifestyle to protect the future of sea turtles and other wildlife.


Promote a healthy balance of social, environmental, and economic interests.

Successful conservation is dependent on us making the change to a sustainable lifestyle, where a harmonious balance of social, environmental and economic interests exists.

Our strategy to ensure a sustainable future for the

Ostional Refuge and Nosara focuses on the following key areas:


  • Support the management objectives of protected areas and their buffer zones

  • Lead an participate in marine and terrestrial wildlife and habitat protection and restoration initiatives



Reports of illness after swimming in foamy brown water at the beaches of Nosara have caused concern amongst residents and visitors. Currently, the Ecological Blue Flag program conducts water quality testing twice a year. This project aims to supplement the efforts of this important program to inform safe beach going year-round, increase awareness, and take action to improve water quality.

We collect samples at 3 locations weekly, Including two highly used areas of Playa Guiones and a nearby river mouth representing the entire watershed. Samples are analyzed in a water quality lab established in Playa Guiones, using EPA approved equipment and methods.Water quality results are posted on Swim Guide and all of our social media platforms.

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This project is a biodiversity study of the Ostional National Wildlife Refuge and surrounding buffer zone in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. Our goal is to create an interactive freely accessible map with biodiversity and development data to support policy and regulations for wildlife conservation and sustainable development. By engaging the community as citizen scientists, we hope to increase awareness about biodiversity and promote sustainable land-use practices.

Citizen scientists from the community collect geo-referenced wildlife observations on the iNaturalist app, which generate validated data. Additionally, we conduct weekly surveys on trails and check camera traps monthly for observations of wildlife. A live-updated biodiversity map of the area is available on our iNaturalist project page.


Sea turtles nest at Playa Guiones and Pelada throughout the year. However, the Refuge has limited resources for monitoring outside Playa Ostional. This project, a continuation of our legacy organization TortuGuiones, aims to provide support to monitor sea turtles and mitigate threats at these other beaches. Additional research is also required to increase our understanding of sea turtle behavior so we can apply this knowledge to increase awareness and improve conservation management.

We conduct weekly monitoring surveys for sea turtle activity at Playa Guiones and Pelada and study sea turtle behavior using TurtleCams and underwater drones. We are also collaborating on a study to train local fisherman to monitor hawksbill sea turtles.


Our marine protected area contains many ecologically and economically important species. However, rising temperatures and water pollution are destroying these important ecosystem engineers. In collaboration with Allen Coral Atlas, we are mapping the seafloor at the Refuge. Additionally, we are conducting surveys to monitor marine biodiversity and work with local fishing communities to learn more about this important natural resource and how we can protect it.

We have developed methodology for conducting marine surveys in line with Costa Rican and international standards. We will conduct snorkel and dive surveys to photograph the seafloor and submit these data for mapping. Additionally, we will work with fishing communities to collect observations in addition to video footage of our expeditions.

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In light of demand for virtual learning and digital accessibility, we are creating interactive and engaging materials available for everyone to experience from their homes. We use innovative methods and cutting-edge technology to share our research and day-to-day activities and inspire others to get involved in conservation and sustainable initiatives.

In collaboration with five other National Geographic Explorers and non-profit organizations in Latin America, we founded the Virtual Field School and offer courses in English and Spanish for life-learners and university students. We also develop and implement live stream and online educational content for children, families, and educators through our social platforms.


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We provide immersive educational experiences to inspire change makers within our community. We offer hands-on field activities for the general public to engage in our research activities and learn about their natural surroundings. We also provide customized packages through memberships and community partnerships and subsidize the cost of programs to make these accessible to local and underprivileged communities.


We have developed a curriculum for the Nosara Explorer Academy, an immersive field course for the general public to engage in our day to day activities. Community members and partners can choose a project to sponsor and participate in one or several hands-on activities with us.


We offer a training program for volunteers to participate in and learn from our day-to-day activities. We accept remote and in-person volunteers for a minimum time commitment of one month.

We have developed an orientation and training program to ensure we align volunteer skills with our organization's needs. Volunteers are assigned a specific project in addition to assisting with other day-to-day tasks of the organization. Final deliverables are submitted at the end of the agreed upon time commitment.



This project is temporarily suspended until 2021 due to COVID-19

Born from our desire to bring the arribada experience to everyone in a sustainable manner, this initiative is a collaboration with the Ostional National Wildlife Refuge and local guides. Our goal is to improve the visitor experience and minimize the impact of tourism on sea turtles, all the while ensuring revenue generated is reinvested in conservation and the community.


We regularly hold meetings and workshops with the Refuge and local guides to discuss sea turtle tourism. We have developed a high-value tourism package for tourists staying in Nosara that includes transportation, a talk with an expert, and guided tour to see the sea turtle arribada. We offer logistical support for the management of tourism.



Sustainable Tourism - Community Outreach

This initiative aimed to develop a plan for sustainable tourism in Nosara, facilitating dialogue between tourism agents in the area to establish common goals for sustainable tourism. This process, lead by a facilitator who conducted a stakeholders analysis and workshop discussions, ended with the creation of a Chamber of Tourism for Nosara. The Multi-Actor Platform, made up of actors such as tour operators and business owners, continues to meet on a monthly basis to facilitate effective communication between the tourism sector of Nosara and the Refuge administration. 

How can YOU help?


Our work is made possible by generous donors. Donate to the cause and help us ensure a sustainable future for the Ostional Refuge.


Partnering with organizations with similar goals allows us to join efforts and make a bigger difference.

About Us 

The Wildlife Conservation Association is a non-profit in Costa Rica dedicated to promoting wildlife conservation through scientific research, community engagement, and immersive educational experiences that inspire sustainable living.

(Cédula Jurídica 3-002-787658) 


Refugio Nacional

de Vida Silvestre Ostional

Guanacaste, Costa Rica

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Contact Us


Donor Support

Steve Mack

Guanacaste Community Fund


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