The Children’s Eternal Rainforest (CER), founded in the mid-1980s, grew out of a commitment by Quaker immigrants to preserve the forest to protect watersheds used for farming. This forest, adjacent to the Monteverde Cloud Forest (also privately preserved) and Arenal National Park, is considered one of the most biodiverse in the world, especially for birds, bats, and butterfly species. The forest’s name comes from the funding collected by school children, from over 40 nations, to purchase land from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s. . Today, the forest is managed by a community NGO, the Monteverde Conservation League (MCL), with an active Board of Directors and civil society engagement. Funding for the forest comes primarily from the Costa Rican government’s Payment for Services program and from two hydroelectric power plants. All three sources of funding are in transition and likely to significantly decline. There are, however, new opportunities for funding, including: global movement to carbon offset, tourism, research, environmental education, and interest in endangered species.

The Capstone team will help identify funding opportunities to:

  • Maintain operational costs of the Children’s Eternal Rainforest.
  • Create an endowment fund for the forest.
  • Expand the forest by purchasing adjacent and surrounding lands and then reforesting those lands, which are currently used for cattle.
  • Better enable MCL to connect with other key actors who are part of the Bellbird Biological Corridor and regional conservation efforts.
     

In addition,  the team will also explore how to better engage tourists and key industry actors. They will find opportunities for more effective messaging; community-building and collaboration.