High in the mountains of Costa Rica, there is an ecological crisis. Bellbirds and other rainforest creatures are becoming endangered species because the forest through which they migrate has been cut down. Without the fruit from these trees, the birds and animals cannot survive! The unique bio-diversity of the region is declining as bird and animal populations decrease or become extinct. Much of the rain forest where the birds mate and breed has been conserved in national parks or private preserves, but rich tropical forests that blanketed the Pacific slope of these mountains are rapidly disappearing. Hardly any of this critical habitat is protected!
Since 2003, the Change the World Kids and a group of Costa Rican biologists and conservationists established “Bosque para Siempre,” the Forever Forest, a migratory corridor critical to the survival of indigenous birds and neo-tropical species from northern countries. The three-wattled bellbird represents the unique nature of this biologically diverse area, where without immediate preservation efforts, many species are threatened with extinction. With the help of youth from countries all over the world, we hope to establish this refuge for migrating and resident species in perpetuity through conservation easements and outright land purchases and though reforestation of destroyed acres. This means protecting a corridor of at least 300 hectares, and to do so will cost over $2 million dollars.
In June, 2004, we fully paid for the first parcel of the reserve and traveled to Costa Rica to begin re-foresting Bosque para Siempre Sector Finca Rodriquez. We also created a Change the World Kids tree nursery in Monteverde to propagate the indigenous species that the birds and animals need to survive. In February, 2007, we purchased the third parcel named Refugio Ecological al Nacimiento y Vida. We have just finished paying for an adjacent parcel and a parcel at the top of the corridor that were in immediate threat of development. We have planted over 6,000 trees and distributed over 100,000 trees from our nursery. In 2011 we hope to launch Phase Two of the project, to restore neo-tropical migrant summer breeding habitat in the northeastern United States. To date we have raised over $208,000 toward Bosque para Siempre, which included meeting a $10,000 challenge grant. We are racing against time to save this habitat. The amazing bellbirds of Monteverde are one of only four populations in the world. At least eight of the many neo-tropical migrant bird species the winter in the corridor are on the international Partners in Flight list as birds of conservation concern.
We leave for Costa Rica this year in early June. Check out the Gallery for photos of our past work trips.
Check out this video of Bower Youth Award Winner and Change the World Kids co-founder Phebe Meyers explaining the Bosque Para Simpre project: