HOW CAN YOU HELP?
OUR KEY FOCUS AREAS
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.
Funding for conservation
and research programs
that promote stewardship
for children and adults
Boost local economy
in the low season
Training and logistical support for local collaborators (guides, transport, tour operators)
to support the Refuge
Support the management objectives of protected areas and their buffer zones
Lead and participate in marine and terrestrial wildlife and habitat protection and restoration initiatives
Develop and implement research based on areas of conservation need
Provide logistical support and affordable housing for researchers, interns and volunteers
Establish partnerships with Costa Rican and international universities
Promote citizen science, the involvement of community in research
Create a permanent cultural and natural history exhibit
Develop educational materials and programs
Offer hands-on field trip, after-school and vacation programs for children
Provide training for guides interns and volunteers
Produce short films and educational videos
Provide office and meeting space, logistical and administrative support to local non-profits
Host community events (movie nights, concerts)
Offer activities and workshops to engage the community in our initiatives
Provide educational experiences
Offer high-quality nature tours in cooperation with existing operators
Promote only tour operators that meet predetermined environmental standards
Provide logistical support for the management of tourism
Promote rural and cultural tourism
Participate in land use planning, zoning and growth management initiatives
Provide inspiring educational materials and programs for residents and developers
Encourage the creation of nature and wildlife related small-businesses
Research / Education / Community Outreach
Reports of illness after swimming in foamy brown water at the beaches of Nosara have caused concern among 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.
Education / Community Outreach / Wildlife Conservation
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.
Research / Wildlife Conservation / Sustainable Development
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, our goal is 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.
Education / Wildlife Conservation / Research
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 Refuge seafloor. Additionally, we are conducting surveys to monitor marine biodiversity, and work with local fishing communities to learn how we can protect this important natural resource.
We have developed methodologies 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 this data for mapping. Additionally, we will work with fishing communities to collect video footage and observations of our expeditions.
VIRTUAL LEARNING EXPERIENCES
Education / Wildlife Conservation
In light of demand for virtual learning and digital accessibility, we have created 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 online educational content for children, families, and educators through our social platforms.
Education / Wildlife Conservation / Community Outreach
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.
Education / Wildlife Conservation / Community Outreach
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.
Sustainable Tourism / Wildlife Conservation
This program brings the arribada experience to everyone in a sustainable manner. Our goal is to minimize the impact of tourism on sea turtles and other wildlife by providing awe-inspiring educational experiences and implementing sustainable tourism practices. We achieve this through a unique collaboration with the Refuge administration, local guides and other organizations that share our mission. All revenue is reinvested in promoting sustainable practices, scientific research and conservation initiatives in the area.
Sustainable Tourism / Community Outreach
This initiative developed 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 that enables effective communication between the tourism sector of Nosara and the Refuge administration. The multi-actor platform now meets monthly to collaborate on future initiatives for our sustainable future.
Our work is made possible by generous donors. Donate to the cause and help us ensure a sustainable future for the Ostional Refuge.
Join us to make a difference through a individual or family membership or institutional partnership. Become a change maker now!
Donate with an in-kind donation from our amazon wishlist. Pack it in your suitcase. Contact us when you arrive. Donate locally too!