The Year in Review: 2019

2019 was such an incredibly busy and productive year that I hardly know where to begin!

First of all, I want to express my thanks to all of you who helped out with the binocular campaign. We now have nearly 50 pairs of quality binoculars for our educational efforts. This exceeded my hopes and I am really humbled by your response. These binoculars will be really important this year and in years to come as we have more teachers and expand our efforts to involve more kids. I’d like to give a shout out here to all who helped either with transportation, money, or both. In no particular order:

  • Roni Chernin
  • Tom Wilkinson
  • Nancy Warshawer
  • Greg and Helen Homer
  • Lydia Vogt
  • Greg Mellon
  • Fred Sibley
  • Fred and Jean Schroeder
  • Judy Richardson
  • Julie Girard and Dave Woolley
  • Terry Farling
  • Michael and Alison Olivieri
  • Douglas Wilson and Karen Villalobos
  • Roger and Tara Madison
  • Gail and Harry Hull
  • Steve and Liz Allen
  • JP Thelliez
  • Lilly Briggs and the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology

Thank you so much for your support! These binoculars will serve the kids of Coto Brus for years to come.

Detectives de Aves

In 2019 we taught Detectives de Aves to 161 students in 9 schools and in Finca Cántaros during the summer vacation. We now have 6 experienced and dedicated instructors: Paula Mesén, Carla Azofeifa, Marco Mora, Jeissom Figueroa, Randall Jiménez, and Yadira Barrantes. All of them have offered their time, energy, and passion to the program both inside and outside of the classroom. By contributing and sharing their ideas and experiences with each other and with me they have improved the course and helped adapt it to the needs of our students. I frankly feel privileged to be working with them and am really looking forward to 2020.

El Bosque de Los Niños de Coto Brus

As I am sure most of you know, Finca Cántaros was sold last year to Lilly Briggs, who just happens to work for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and who is the head of the Lab’s educational efforts for Latin America. Along with the Finca, she bought several hectares of adjoining pastureland, intending to reforest it. (I’m sure most of you all also know that 25 years ago when Gail Hull bought Finca Cántaros it, too, was all pasture with hardly a tree.) Lilly had the wonderful idea to include all of our students in this project and to create El Bosque de los Niños de Coto Brus – The Children’s Forest of Coto Brus – and it really is their forest! Lilly, in collaboration with the Club, plans to hold events in the Forest for years to come, brining the children and their families back time and time again to help care for the Forest and to witness the profound changes their efforts will have made possible. It makes me happy to think that one the day, long after I am gone, the kids who we helped plant these trees will bring their kids, and their grand kids too, to enjoy the Forest and to reflect on the positive differences we can all make in our environment. I hope that all the members of the Club take the time to visit the Forest soon, and in the years to come, to share in this project and to see the changes it will bring. Those of you who have yet to meet Lilly and speak with her will have the chance to do so at our annual meeting on the 1st of March.

So, it was an exciting year! Of course, the more you do, the more you find that needs to be done. ¡Así es la vida! Our excellent teachers are continually coming up with ways to make birds and environmental education more relevant to our community and our neighbors and making more work for all of us 😊. I believe that we all want Coto Brus to develop in a way that maintains its beauty and hospitality. There are many people and organizations here who have been working towards this future with different perspectives and needs and who are now finding new ways to work together. All of us who have chosen Coto Brus as the place we want to spend our vacations every year, as our home away from home, or as the place we want to live out our lives, have a special obligation, I believe, to offer what help we can to make the community stronger and to serve the needs of our neighbors. There are exciting things on the horizon! But more about that at the annual meeting… I will leave you with some pictures of last year’s students.