About Us

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The Corcovado Foundation was established in 1996 by concerned neighbors of Corcovado National Park in Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula. Our founding project involved working with ACOSA to establish patrols and rangers stations in the biodiverse area surrounding the national park, greatly reducing illegal hunting and logging. We are a hands-on, down to earth local leader in conservation, with an excellent reputation for our volunteering programs and our commitment to a practical and community led approach to environmental protection.

Our Mission

We strive to increase the protection of wild areas, promote environmental education, sustainable tourism and community participation through the sustainable use of natural resources in the South Pacific area of Costa Rica

Our Programs

The Corcovado Foundation currently has four main areas of work in the Osa Peninsula. Expand the headings to read about the key objectives and achievements of each program. You can also view or download our latest reports in the sidebar or on our news and events page.

Sea Turtle Conservation
Our Sea Turtle Conservation Program was established in 2006. The key objectives of the program are to:

  • Protect sea turtle eggs from poaching and natural predation
  • Provide sustainable economic opportunities for local people through eco-tourism and volunteering
  • Educate the community about the importance of conserving natural resources

In 2015, we began working in our new site at Rio Oro and found more than 3000 nesting turtles over the season, making it one of the most important beaches in the South Pacific of Costa Rica. This year, the foundation will be handing ownership of the Drake Bay site over to local association ACOTPRO, achieving one of the original goals of the program!

The program has protected 90% of nests in Drake Bay, tagged over 450 sea turtles and released over 77,000 babies into the ocean! The Corcovado Foundation has also paid over $30,000 in salaries to locals, and generated over $90,000 for families in the volunteering homestay network. The program has trained more than 50 residents in sea turtle conservation and hosted hundreds of volunteers!

For volunteering information please go to the dedicated Sea Turtle Conservation page.

Environmental Education
The Environmental Education Program was established in 2003. The key objectives of the program are to:

  • Provide environmental lessons and curricula in local schools.
  • Engage with students through after-school clubs, offering a range of sustainability-related activities.
  • Work with the wider community to improve public facilities and host cultural events.

The Environmental Education program operates in 14 schools, spanning 6 communities in the Osa Peninsula. We have created 5 after-school youth groups, which meet on a weekly basis to deal with environmental issues in a fun and hands-on way. We have also distributed over 1200 environmental education manuals to NGOs in the region, supporting the wider implementation of environmental curricula in Costa Rican schools.

For volunteering information please go to the dedicated Environmental Education page.

Sustainable Tourism
The Corcovado Foundation has established a variety of green tourism initiatives in conjunction with local businesses. Our Sustainable Tourism programs include:

  • Responsible Marine Tourism- a certification program for tour operators and hotels to ensure best practice in marine areas.
  • Make a Difference- a network of local businesses which donate $1 per tourist to our environmental programs.
  • Plant a Tree- a carbon offset program for travelers and businesses, working with the Arboretum in Bahia Chal.
  • Drake Bay Backpackers- our non-profit hostel, working to generate funds for our other programs and to promote Osa Rural Tours and eco-tourism.

Our Responsible Marine Tourism and Make a Difference programs are supported by over 10 local businesses. we have trained more than 400 people in sustainable tourism practices and planted more than 120 native trees in our carbon offset program. Our non-profit hostel has generated over $17,000 for our environmental programs and works to promote sustainable tour operators, support the local economy and showcase eco-friendly business practices.

For volunteering information please go to the Drake Bay Backpackers page. You can also find out more about Sustainable Tourism or book your next vacation on the Green Your Trip page.

Community Development
The Osa Rural Tours network and our other sustainable community development initiatives work to reduce poverty in the Osa Peninsula, while protecting local eco-systems. This is achieved through:

  • Supporting the creation of micro tourism businesses that incentivize the protection of rainforest on private land.
  • Conducting regular training for local communities in areas such as project management, marketing, accounting and English lessons.
  • Improving essential services such as waste and recycling collection.

The Osa Rural Tours network currently contains 11 projects and protects over 1200 hectares of forest. We have donated more than $32,000 to these local projects since 2012. The Corcovado Foundation has also worked with 10 communities to support waste management, creating a recycling network which is currently in use by 42 families and 10 hotels in the Osa.

For volunteering information please go to the Protect the Rainforests page.

Why the Osa Peninsula?

The Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica is one of the most biologically intense places on earth. The area contains 25-30 different eco-systems and is home to a staggering variety of wildlife and plant life, many of which are endangered. It has one of the most significant populations of large endangered mammals in Central America, including predators
such as Jaguars and Pumas and is also home to many endemic species of birds and trees. The harpy eagle, believed to be locally extinct since 1989, was discovered in small numbers in Corcovado National Park and there are important calving sites for humpback whales in the waters surrounding Caño Island and Gulfo Dulce.

In short, The Osa Peninsula represents one of the world’s most important sources for future knowledge about rainforest ecosystems and the conservation of biological diversity on earth.

Meet the Team
Staff
Executive Director: Alejandra Monge

Alejandra Monge has a Bachelors degree in tourism and a Masters in Business Administration with a Specialty in Marketing from the University of Costa Rica. She has participated in numerous training courses such as The Organization for Tropical Studies course of ecological principles for sustainable development in Latin America.

Alejandra has been the executive director of the Corcovado Foundation since 2001. Under her lead, the organization has grown from managing $20,000 USD in projects to over $3,000,000 USD in projects.
With thirteen years of experience in sustainable tourism and eight years in conservation, Alejandra was responsible for writing the text book of sustainable tourism for the National Apprenticeship Institute in Costa Rica. She has organized massive workshops on the topic and was the creator of Expo Verde a very successful trade show for environmentally friendly products to encourage sustainable tourism in Costa Rica.

Administrative Director and Head of Marketing: Francisco Delgado

Francisco Delgado is a young Costa Rican that joined our organization in October 2006. He is a spirited young man with great enthusiasm and a mind full of ideas. He studied Business Administration at the Catholic University of Costa Rica and English as a second language at the Tecnological Institute of Cartago.

He is responsible of the events organization, fundraising projects and everything related to the foundation marketing. Because of his great performance, he has been responsible of supporting the executive director in administering the organization.

Sea Turtle Conservation Program Director: Dr Robert James

Rob obtained his PhD in molecular biology from University College London in 2007. He has held research management positions at the Royal College of Art and the Wellcome Trust in the UK, and has conducted research at SymbioticA at the University of Western Australia. Rob has worked as a Coordinator and Research Assistant at various conservation and wildlife projects in Latin America since 2009, and joined the Corcovado Foundation as Program Director in 2011. In 2014 he co-founded the Foundation’s non-profit hostel, Drake Bay Backpackers.

Environmental Education Program Director: Álvaro Amo

Alvaro Amo is a Spanish Biologist from the University of Granada with a Master degree in Environmental Technology specializes in Limnological Studies. He has experience in the field of Aquaculture Research and Fisheries Studies. In the field of Cooperation and Development has contributed to the Plan for Sustainable Tourism of the Solentiname archipelago. In Conservation has participated as a research assistant in the Sea Turtle Conservation Project in Drake Bay beach.

Local Promoter: Mayra Cano

Mayra is a local woman that has shown great interest in community development. She started working with the Corcovado Foundation in October 2010 and since then, she has been very active representing the foundation among the communities. She works together with Álvaro, teaching environmental education in Drake Bay. She also helps the foundation in organizing activities within the local communities.

Accounting Assistant: Ana Margarita Suarez

Ana Margarita has been working for our organization since September 2005. She is a young woman who has shown great skills in keeping the office running. She is an accounting student who takes great pleasure in knowing that she is making a difference in protection the natural resources of the Osa Peninsula.

Executive Assistance: Zoraida Tenorio

Zoraida joined to the Corcovado Foundation in January 2010. She gives support to all the office staff and is in charge of buying supplies and materials either for the foundation or any other project we administrate. She also takes care of the organization files, keeping everything organized. Zoraida is studying English as a second language.

Board of Directors
Steven Lill Coit

Steven is an American citizen, native of Chicago, who has lived in Costa Rica for 30 years. He created the Corcovado Foundation many years ago in memory of his friend Lon Willing Ramsey Junior, who was an environmentalist. He owns a hotel, called Casa Corcovado Jungle Lodge, which is an upscale hotel in the Osa Peninsula and has implemented environmentally friendly policies to diminish their impact on their surroundings.

Bradd Johnson

Bradd is an American citizen native of Rhode Island, who has lived has Costa Rica since 1980. He came to Costa Rica when he purchased the hotel, Aguila de Osa, and successfully run it since then. He is has been known for his involvement in community activities, specially supporting the local health clinic and the school.

Don Miguel Madrigal

Don is the Ministry of Environment (MINAE)’s Protected Areas Manager for the Osa Conservation Area. He has worked with MINAE for 25 years and his career as a functionary protecting the country’s environment, is well known.

Bernal Aragón

Bernal a Costa Rican citizen. He has been very active supporting different social and environmental causes in Drake Bay. Because of his interest and willingness, was invited to join to the Board of Directors of the foundation. He is the General Director of the Clinica Biblica Hospital

Enoc Rugama

Enoc works for the municipality of Osa and is a honorable and well known and respected member of the community. He has been very interested in supporting the sustainable development in the Osa Peninsula.

Advisory Committee
Abby Daniell

Abby Daniell was born in California in the United States. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Washington in Seattle. Abby has an MBA from George Washington University in Washington D.C., and before coming to Costa Rica she worked as spokeswoman for a congressman in the city. Abby arrived in Costa Rica in 1994 and was the Director of The Tico Times newspaper until 2011, when she decided to create her own company advising corporations on strategy, communications and public relations. She is currently the host of the English language news program, 9 News, on Channel 9. Abby is a woman who is very passionate about environmental issues. She has supported the Corcovado Foundation since 2008 and has provided many successful ideas for fundraising events.

Jacqueline López

Jacqueline obtained her Masters in Leadership and Environmental Management from the University for International Cooperation and a Masters in Quality Management from the Global Confederation of Businesses. She has worked actively in the tourism sector implementing actions to establish the quality management system, environment, health and occupational safety INTE 01/06/34: 2010 as part of the Technical Committee, and has also developed practices at tourism industry to promote the protection of the environment.

Jacqueline has been accredited with the Professional Merit Award of the Association of Professionals in Tourism 2008 for her professional contribution to the development of best practices for sustainable tourism in Costa Rica. She was also recognized by the Latin American Quality Institute as an entrepreneur in 2009 for having achieved excellent business management ensuring high quality. She also participates actively in the Costa Rican tourism industry in national environmental and development programs, especially in the area of corporate social responsibility. Jacqueline is currently Administrative Manager and Manager of Sustainability at Mapache Rent a Car.

Alvaro Ugalde

Álvaro studied Biology at the University of Costa Rica and Natural Resource Management at the University of Michigan. He was just 24 years old when he was named, in April 1970, as Administrator of Santa Rosa, and later of Volcán Poas. From 1974 until 1986, and again from 1991 until 1993, he worked as the Director of the National Parks Service.

In 2006, Álvaro joined the Nectandra Institute, a non-profit environmental organization dedicated to the conservation of watersheds and the restoration of the cloud forests of the highlands of the Zarcero canton. In May of 2012, now retired, he began promoting the conservation and restoration of the forests and wetlands of the Maquenque National Wildlife Refuge. Due to his lifelong commitment to the cause of conservation, Álvaro has received several national and international awards and distinctions by INBio and SINAC / MINAE, among many others.

Ann Becker

Ann has directed her own consultancy company for over 35 years. Working with non-profit organizations and government agencies, she has guided her clients in project management, organizational development, effective management of meetings and strategic consulting.

Recently, inspired by her own traveling adventures, Ann has combined her love for Costa Rica with her business experience. Since 2006, she has visited Costa Rica over 25 times and leads annual adventure expeditions for women in February and a Spanish-learning and cultural immersion excursions in April. In addition, Anna loves international travel with her husband, learning Spanish, enjoying bird watching and family outings to support the “Chicago Cubs”. Finally she is working hard to improve her Pilates movements.

Gustavo J. Segura

Gustavo graduated from the School of Economics at the University of Costa Rica in 1994, and obtained his Masters in Business at the INCAE with high distinction in 1997. He is the CEO of Grupo Islita, which encompasses the hotels Punta Islita, El Silencio Lodge & Spa, both holding the maximum ‘five leaves’ level of the Certificate of Sustainable Tourism (C.S.T.).

Previously Gustavo was General Manager at the Hotel Ramada Plaza Herradura & Conference Center in San José, and the Hotel Lapa Ríos in the Osa Peninsula. Current Vice President of the Costa Rican Institute of Tourism, he has also occupied some positions has also occupied some positions in chambers of the private tourism sector, for example: Vice President of Hotels of Costa Rica (2008-2010), CCH representative on the Board of CANATUR (2009-2010), and the Board of Directors of the Bureau of Conventions of Costa Rica (2007-2009).

Gustavo has over 15 years’ experience in the field of sustainable tourism, as both a manager and as a consultant. He has completed projects in more than 12 countries including in the Caribbean; North, Central and South America. In 2006, he was conferred the honorary title “Honorary Professor” by the University Consortium Lord of Sipan in Trujillo, Peru.

Gerlinda Anna Maria Scheepsma

Anna directed her own consultancy company in Holland, specialized in documentary information automation and management for over 10 years before coming to Costa Rica in 1994, first, as a well-deserved travel adventure in Central America. Falling in love with Costa Rica she decided to stay in the country and to develop projects for students in ecotourism and conservati  on.  Falling in love with her Dutch husband Luuc Van Wezel, they developed together Hotel Restaurant Villas Gaia in the South of Costa Rica. She has been managing the hotel and restaurant as a sustainable enterprise obtaining the Certification for Sustainable Tourism from the Costarican Institute for Tourism (ICT). Anna studied project management at the University for International Cooperation in San Jose. Independently she worked for a Dutch consultancy company in several development projects in Central and South America.  Anna has over 20 years of experience in sustainable tourism and became a strong leader in the theme of community development and rural tourism, working closely with the Foundation Corcovado.

Special Thanks
Helena Pita: Coordinator of Environmental Education

Helena obtained her degree in Biology, with a specialization in Ecology, from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid in 2011. She was certified as an Environmental Educator in 2012 by the environmental association Grefa, and has worked at the Asociación Conservacionista Gaia por la Conservación de la Naturaleza. Helena worked with Loggerhead sea turtles in Cape Verde in 2008 with the association Natura 2000, and was a Research Assistant at the Foundation’s Sea Turtle Conservation Program in 2012. Since then she has worked as a Coordinator for the Foundation’s Environmental Education Program and has helped to transform the program working alongside the Environmental Educator, Álvaro Amo.

Aida García Solà: Coordinator of Sea Turtle Conservation Program

Aida is a Marine Biologist from Barcelona, Spain who completed her Masters in Oceanography and Marine Management at Barcelona University in 2008. Her passion for sea turtles began in 2005 when she worked with a scholarship at CRAM Barcelona, rehabilitating sick Loggerhead turtles and other sea creatures. She worked in several conservation projects in Spain, Greece and Australia, and as the Biologist at Reserva Pacuare throughout the first half of 2014. Aida has worked as a Coordinator at the Foundation’s Sea Turtle Conservation Program since 2013 and has played a major role in the development of the program.

Elías Fernández Couso: Coordinator of Sea Turtle Conservation Program

Elías graduated in 2011 with a degree in Marine Biology from the University of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain, and worked as a researcher at the Azores islands in 2011-2012. He first discovered sea turtles in 2014 while working as a Coordinator at the Iniciativa Carey del Pacífico Oriental in Estero Padre Ramos in Nicaragua, under the supervision of the Corcovado Foundation’s former sea turtle biologist, David Melero. Elías joined the Foundation’s Sea Turtle Conservation Program as a Coordinator in 2014 and has made a major contribution to the development of the program ever since.

Go to our Sponsor page to meet some of the wonderful contributors that make our volunteering programs and conservation work possible!

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