A HISTORY OF HELPING
Over the years, Friends of the Rainforest has completed numerous grants to organizations devoted to protecting the Rainforest.
Grant #33 Land Purchase - Completed
Date: January 2022 Amount $37,398.46
The 18.98-hectare property belonging to Máximo Ramírez, located near MCL’s San Gerardo field station, has been at the top of the list of priority properties for many years. This property is one of two private inholdings or “islands” in the middle of the larger protected area in San Gerardo. the property has enormous strategic value for MCL. The land is bordered on to the north, east, and south by the CER; the western border is with the Rio Caño Negro (on the other side of which is the second private inholding, the Torres/Bertrand farm). The acquisition by MCL of the Máximo Ramírez property will mean that third parties who currently visit this farm will no longer do so, reducing opportunities for trespassing, poaching, and other illicit or unwanted activities in this area of the CER, as well as damage to the road by vehicles.
Grant #32 - In progress
Date: August 2021 Amount $6,385
Effective environmental education programming, especially for Costa Rican youth, is one of the most important ways we can ensure the conservation of the CER in perpetuity. The MCL has carried out successfully environmental education programming in local communities since 1986, including successful, hands-on programs and activities with students from 16+ elementary schools in the communities on the eastern border of the CER. Due to strict stay-at-home orders and quarantine measures throughout the country, they have not been able to carry out many in-person, environmental education activities since March 2020. From August to December 2021, their goal is to bring at least 20 student groups on day-long field trips to the CER. This grant helps fund their educators salary, transportation and lunch for the students
Grant #31 Land Purchase - Completed
Date: September 2020 Amount $40,560
MCL had a contract for the purchase of a 102.5 hectace (253-acre) property near Monteverde. MCL had paid more than 80% of the agreed purchase price, they needed only to pay the difference to complete the transaction and take ownership of the property. This particular property - the "Santamaria property" - had been prioritized for purchase for several reasons. It protects highland rain and cloud forests, and the montane habitat along the continental divide, like the forest protected within the Santamaria property, is highly threatened and has great value in terms of ecosystem and biodiversity conservation. This grant came out of a Land Purchase fund that Friends of the Rainforest had set aside for opportunities such as this one. The cost of the grant includes salaries for the guards to ensure the immediate protection of the newly purchased land.
Grant #30 - Completed
Date: July 2020 Amount $10,998
The MCL has received zero income from trails and field stations for the months of April, May, and June. Visitation at these sites typically generates income that is crucial for the protection of the entire CER. We are predicting near-zero visitation for the rest of 2020, and seriously reduced visitation into 2021. Having staff at 50% time is already seriously impacting our ability to effectively protect the CER. And unfortunately, the need to patrol and protect the CER, and continue outreach in neighboring communities, has never been greater, as growing unemployment in surrounding communities has led to increased illegal poaching, logging, and capture of birds and other wildlife. We have been successfully reallocating staff from other departments to support protection – but if we have to cut more position or reduce time further, this will no longer be possible. Additional staff cuts will have short-, mid- and long-term costs not only in protection, but also in terms of maintenance, infrastructure, human resources, and the overall conservation of the forest.
Grant #29 - Completed
Date: May 2020 Amount $11,322
Costa Rica has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and as a result, Costa Rica’s tourism industry has completely collapsed. In the CER, we project zero income from our trails and field stations for the months of April through July (at least). These are our peak months, during which we typically receive a large proportion of our income related to entrance fees, lodging, meals, and souvenir sales. Under this scenario, MCL is projecting a deficit of about 54 million colones (about $94,000) for the months of April, May, June and July 2020. We expect that tourism and student groups will slowly begin to return once the COVID-19 pandemic comes under control internationally and Costa Rica reopens its borders- but there is no way to predict when that will be, and in any case we do not expect visitation to return to its previous levels during the rest of 2020, and likely into 2021.
In order to help deal with the projected deficit, MCL has made the difficult decision to drastically cut staff hours and salaries.By reducing staff hours and salaries by 50-60% board during April, May, and June, we will be able to reduce the deficit to about $43,000.
Grant #28 - Rescinded
Due to COVID-19, this grant was pulled by the applicant in order to apply for funding needed for the immidiate challenges being faced.
Grant #27 - Completed
Date: January 2020 Amount $25,000
Income is subject to fluctuations and external factors, but operational costs are ongoing. In order to foster greater economic stability – truly the linchpin of ensuring the “eternal” conservation of the CER – the MCL’s Board of Directors have established an endowment fund. This restricted fund was created under the precept that the principal will never be used (and thus will continue to grow over time), while part of the interest generated may be used to cover costs of protection and conservation of the CER. Most of the original capital for the fund came from the late Dwight and Rachel Crandell (Founders of FOTR). In recent years, the Board has been clear in communicating to donors that the Endowment Fund represents a high fundraising priority for the MCL.
Grant #26 - Completed
Date: January 2019 Amount $1,695
A key challenge in ensuring the adequate protection of the CER is purchasing and maintaining the equipment our Protection and Maintenance staff need to get the job done. In spite of our best efforts to care for and maintain equipment, all of our gear – particularly equipment with electronic components – is subject to wear and tear due to the rough, tropical conditions of the CER.
The current proposal seeks funding to replace critical field equipment for our Protection and Maintenance staff. Includes: Portable radios (4), Gasoline-powered line-trimmer (2), Chainsaw (1), Large field backpacks (6), Waterproof tactical LED flashlights (12), Digital cameras (2), GPS unit Garmin GPSMAP 64s (1), Motion sensor trail cameras or “camera traps” (6).
Grant #25 - Completed
Date: January 2019 Amount $1,695
Keeping trails, buildings, and other facilities in top shape requires a qualified staff and good equipment to offer high quality experiences to rainforest guests. The current proposal seeks funding to purchase key Maintenance equipment, in order to increase our efficiency and self-sufficiency, reduce operational costs for the organization, and channel more funds into forest protection. Doing the work in-house is more economical than contracting out the jobs; it also allows us more control over the specific jobs to be performed. Includes: Air compressor (1), 14” metal cutting saw (1), Heavy duty pressure washer (1).
Grant #24 - Completed
Date: January 2019 Amount $1,400
One of the most important ways we can protect the CER is by educating childrenand young adults in the communities that surround it. These young people are tomorrow's educators, politicians, biologists, guides, and park guards. Through effective environmental education, we can help to ensure the future conservation of the CER, one child at a time.This grant request is for one month of salary for the environmental educator.
Grant #23 – Completed
Date: May 2017 Amount $60,000 Recipient: MCL
Monteverde Conservation League received funding to repair the Pocosol Field Station. This amazing resource for students, researchers, travelers, and day visitors has been closed due to damages from the 2012 earthquake, and reopens in May of 2018! A huge amount of work took place to stabilize the slope and repair the dormitory/classroom building. We are so happy to have this station available once again!
Grant #22 – Completed
Date: Jan 2017 Amount $12,000 Recipient: MCL
Monteverde Conservation League sought funding to replace the San Gerardo and main station’s four-wheelers with newer models. A newer four-wheeler ensures that the staff is able to carry out their duties effectively and safely. It will also minimize maintenance and repair costs – which are high and constant for this particular vehicle – as well as maximize the time staff spends in San Gerardo, attending to visitors and maintaining that area of the Forest.
Grant #21 – Completed
Date: Jan 2017 Amount: $23,500 Recipient: MCL
Monteverde Conservation League recieved funding for a new truck! Rough roads and high humidity really shorten the life of a vehicle and this provides MCL with a new truck for the use of the guard staff.
Grant #20 – COMPLETED
Date: July 2016 Amount: $5,000 Recipient: MABI
This grant is to underwrite planning and overhead expenses for the third annual MABI Conference which brings together agencies and organizations for a coordinated effort to protect the Rainforest.
Grant #19 – COMPLETED
Date: Feb 2016 Amount: $1,050 Recipient: MCL
The wooden viewing platform overlooking the gorgeous waterfall at Pocosol was being damaged by moisture and insects. This grant helped replace that with a galvanized steel structure that is both safe and beautiful, besides being weather and insect proof. Be sure to check it out on your next trip!
Grant #18 – COMPLETED
Date: Feb 2016 Amount: $6,590 Recipient: MCL
Safety and emergency procedures are the focus of this grant, which covers GPS units, walkie talkies, first aid equipment, and immobilization and extrication equipment.
Grant #17 – COMPLETED
Date: Feb 2016 Amount: $8,750 Recipient: MCL
Providing for local school children to take field trips to Pocosol Field Station and Finca Stellar tree nursery enhances the work of the environmental educator and increases local appreciation for the forest. This amount also helped buy a laptop, digital camera, and a couple of microscopes, as well as several binoculars to use on the field trips.
Grant #16 – COMPLETED
Date: July 2016 Amount: $3,935 Recipient: MCL
Outdated and unattractive signs were redesigned and erected, from billboards and roadside directional signs to office and station identification and portable banners, to increase visibility and draw additional visitors.
Grant #15 – COMPLETED
Date: Nov 2015 Amount: $9,000 Recipient: MCL
The Salazar property of 2.8 hectares (nearly 7 acres) became available and we were able to snap it up with this contribution. Another addition to the Children’s Eternal Rainforest and the Bell Bird Biological Corridor, this plot also protects a rare type of forest and an important watershed.
Grant # 14 – COMPLETED
Date: Aug 2015 Amount: $27,000 Recipient: MCL
While not as exciting as a huge land purchase, equipment like weed whackers to maintain property borders, a battery bank to supplement the hydropower at the field station, new radios for communication among sites, and a new 4×4 vehicle are equally important to the mission.
Grant #13 – COMPLETED
Date: Sep 2015 Amount: $17,650 Recipient: MCL
An executive director is essential to the effective operation of any nonprofit and this grant provides the salary and benefits to allow MCL to hire such a person. We are all so lucky that they found someone as capable, experienced, imaginative, and energetic as Lindsay Stallcup!
Grant #12 – COMPLETED
Date: Mar 2015 Amount: $5,000 Recipient: Monteverde Institute
This grant covers preparation, hosting, and facilitation of the second annual Monteverde-Arenal Bioregional Initiative Conference.
Grant #10 – COMPLETED
Date: Nov 2014 Amount: $39,850 Recipient: MCL
The final payment on the purchase of 100.45 hectares (248+ acres), known as the Pipe Cruz property, amounts to $28,850 and the other $11,000 covers attorney and title registration fees. The total cost was $300,000 plus fees and FotR covered the fees plus half the purchase price, spread over several payments. The property was an inholding inside the Children’s Eternal Rainforest as well as part of the Bell Bird Biological Corridor, so the acquisition was crucial.
Grant #9 – COMPLETED
Date: July 2014 Amount: $3,000 Recipient: Monteverde Institute
The success of the first Monteverde-Arenal Bioregional Initiative Conference necessitated the creation of the position of a coordinator to carry out arrangements for a second conference. This grant contributes to salary and benefits for that position.
Grant #8 – COMPLETED
Date: July 2014 Amount: $5,100 Recipient: MCL
Piggy-backing on the project to connect the Pocosol field station to the electrical grid, MCL decided to add high speed internet availability at the station. This not only appeals to international visitors but serves the needs of researchers on site, as well.
Grant #7 – COMPLETED
Date: May 2014 Amount: $30,600 Recipient: MCL
The new Pocosol field station buildings are gorgeous and comfortable, wonderful accommodations for guests, but frequent comments about the lack of electrical service and hot water drove the decision for MCL to request this money, so they could upgrade the station to meet expectations of international visitors and boost occupancy.
Grant #6 – COMPLETED
Date: May 2014 Amount: $7,000 Recipient: MCL
The Environmental Education program at MCL was very active with area schools but discovered the amount provided by the original grant was not enough to get a sturdy vehicle to safely transport the equipment on rough roads over such a great area. With these additional funds, MCL was able to buy a used Jimmy in great condition.
Grant #5 – COMPLETED
Date: Jan 2014 Amount: $2,000 Recipient: Nalini Nadkarni
Our grant allowed a Kickstarter campaign to reach its goal of $16,000. This amount covered the cost of translating a seminal book of ecological research to be translated into Spanish and made available free online. The book covers a broad array of topics related to the biology and conservation of the cloudforest of Monteverde, describing research projects and data collection by many international researchers, and serves as a handbook for scientists new to the area. This project makes that information available to a whole new set of readers, including the local residents, free and in Spanish!
Grant #4 – COMPLETED
Date: Nov 2013 Amount: $5,000 Recipient: Monteverde Institute
By underwriting a portion of the cost of the very first Monteverde-Arenal Bioregional Initiative Conference, we promote cooperation among the many private and nonprofit reserves and other conservation organizations (25 entities were represented at the conference!) working in the region around the CER. Sharing technologies, databases, best practices, expertise of all sorts, and enthusiasm for the common mission of protecting this area benefits all the participating organizations and the entire community.
Grant #3 – COMPLETED
Date: Nov 2013 Amount: $3,150 Recipient: MCL
This grant represents a contribution to an endowment fund being established by MCL. An endowment fund offers stability, providing funds to continue operations during periods when revenue from other sources dips for whatever reason. The ability of MCL to respond quickly when a piece of property becomes available or an emergency need arises ensures that they can continue to preserve and protect the CER on a daily basis but also for the long haul. Obviously, an effective endowment fund would need to be very much larger, but at least this is a start.
Grant #2 – COMPLETED
Date: Nov 2013 Amount: $20,000 Recipient: MCL
A pet project close to the hearts of MCL and FotR supporters has always been the position of Environmental Educator, an outreach person who can go into the schools around the Children’s Eternal Rainforest and teach them concepts of ecology, conservation, and sustainability. This grant covered the salary for such a person, along with a vehicle, fuel, meals, computer and other equipment, and school supplies for the educator to use with students. It also provided funds for many schools to send children on a bus to the rainforest for a field trip, the best way to make these lessons stick with the children. We even covered lunches for the kids on their field trips!
Grant #1 – COMPLETED
Date: Nov 2013 Amount: $38,350 Recipient: MCL
As a result of the financial downturn around the world, the Monteverde Conservation League suffered decreasing revenue and turned to FotR for help. We were able to subsidize three months of salaries for 9 key employees – guards and maintenance personnel – along with other operating expenses, like fuel, car repairs, packed lunches for guards on patrol, and some administrative costs. Securing funds for such basic outlays is essential when a nonprofit is faced with a temporary shortfall, to allow them to continue in operation, and it was our privilege to be there for them to help tide them over.