Forest News & Notes – Fall 2013 Newsletter

Captured! Longtime Poacher Will Be Brought to Justice

Poachers often target animals like this Paca, which can be sold as bush-meat on the black market.

Poachers often target animals like this Paca, which can be sold as bush-meat on the black market.

The wildlife of the Children’s Eternal Rainforest can rest a little easier tonight with the news that one of the most dangerous poachers in the area is no longer on the hunt. After a months-long effort, Forest rangers have caught a suspected poacher in the act and had him arrested through a joint operation of CER guards and local police.

Madrigal was caught with this Paca and a gun.  Stopping poachers is dangerous business for guards and wildlife alike.

The poacher was caught with this Paca and a gun. Stopping poachers is dangerous business for guards and wildlife alike.

For reserves like the CER that provide safe haven to threatened plant and animal species, poaching is an ongoing threat. Tropical birds, orchids and endangered animals like the jaguar and other large mammals are continually at risk. Forest conditions make poachers difficult to catch since poaching often takes place at night because many hunted animals are nocturnal. This, combined with rainy conditions and dense habitat, makes detecting and tracking those hunting illegally a challenge.

Capturing illegal hunters is dangerous business. Many hunting illegally are armed and highly motivated because the animals and plants they target can be valuable. When caught, the suspected poacher had already killed a paca, one of the Forest’s large mammals, which can sell for about $25 per pound on the black market. Sadly, people with a taste for these protected animals can go to certain restaurants where highly expensive exotic “bush-meat” like the paca is made available “off menu” as a delicacy.

Stop Poaching Now!

The poacher in this instance was caught on a Saturday night after CER rangers received information that a hunting party might be entering the Forest. With local police, they positioned themselves near the poacher’s probable exit from the reserve, and when he emerged they succeeded in detaining him after a struggle. This year, Costa Rica became the first country to ban all recreational hunting. As a result, the suspect faces stiff penalties including fines and the possibility of time in jail.

At 55,000 acres, the Children’s Eternal Rainforest is challenged by having only five guards to monitor and patrol the Forest. But this poacher’s arrest is a major victory for all of you who have supported the Forest’s protection forces and the precious wildlife that they protect.   Click here to help stop poaching now.

Kids in Action

A Classroom Economy Donates Profits to the Rainforest

CDS students

Front row: CDS Students Laura, Ava, Lucy, Dillon, Ryan, Jack; Back row: Teacher Alissa White with students Jacob and Jonathan. Not Pictured: Arushi.

More than 25 years ago, when Eha Kern’s first- and second-grade students at the Fagervik School in Sweden first heard about the wonders of the Costa Rican rainforest, its importance to their lives despite its seeming remoteness, and the pace at which it was being destroyed, they decided to do something about it. Captivated by images of sloths and jaguars, the sounds of howler monkeys and tales of strange medicinal plants, they brainstormed ideas on what they could do to help.

Kern’s students put on presentations, made and sold books, wrote to newspapers, and sent letters to everyone they knew asking for donations to help protect this wondrous place. The more they used their imaginations, the more funds they raised, and the more rainforest they saved. Their efforts were ultimately joined by students, teachers and other adults from around the world, and it is in honor of all of these students that the Children’s Eternal Rainforest was named.

Continuing this tradition of innovative student-driven action, Alissa White, a teacher at Chesterfield Day School (a St. Louis, Missouri independent elementary school serving students from eighteen months through sixth-grade) created an innovative program to engage her third-graders in fiscal responsibility and philanthropy – a classroom economy. Every student in Ms. White’s class has a job and, at the end of two weeks, receives a “paycheck” for their work.

But last January, the third-grade students at Chesterfield Day School were “laid off” from their current positions and encouraged by their teacher Ms. White to start their own business. After considering their options, the students decided their business would be “CDS Owls – The Duct Tape Store.” This store would sell hand-made duct tape flower pens for $2.50 each, a price based on the students’ market research. Profits would be given to a charity of the students’ choosing, and having learned in their Cultural Studies class about children raising money to protect the disappearing rainforest, the third-graders chose to give part of their profits to the Children’s Eternal Rainforest.

When asked why they decided to help the Forest, third-grade student Dillon replied, “Because I found out that trees were being cut down and animals were being hunted so we decided to support the Children’s Eternal Rainforest.”

The creative efforts of Ms. White and her third-grade class continue the tradition that has made the Children’s Eternal Rainforest possible, and help these students become truly global citizens. We thank them and all of the students and teachers who broaden their minds and take thoughtful action on behalf of this special rainforest, our planet and its future. Well done!

Travel to the Rainforest

Wouldn’t You Rather Be Making Chocolate?

Cocoa Pod

From this cocoa pod – to the chocolate we love!

Chocolate. So many of us love it, but have you ever wondered how it’s made, or where it comes from? We’re thrilled to be able to share with you a unique opportunity to find out on a culinary eco-adventure to the heart of the rainforest with renowned confectioner Rick Jordan, recently honored as one of the Top Ten Chocolatiers in North America.

Did you know that chocolate is made from the seed pod of the cocoa tree, a plant found in tropical rainforests? So are many of the wonderful flavors and spices that that we love to pair with this dark, luscious treat. Vanilla (the only edible orchid), ginger and cinnamon – all are from rainforests plants. After a stay in the pristine and magical Children’s Eternal Rainforest, you’ll travel to biodynamic farm and eco-lodge, Finca Luna Nueva, where Rick will share with you the fascinating history of chocolate and the process through which it’s produced, culminating in the chance to produce your own world-class confections using organic products straight from the heart of the rainforest.

Don’t miss this chance – space is limited. Contact us today to reserve your spot or get more information here: trips@friendsoftherainforest.org or 314-941-1257. (July 19 – 27, 2014; $3200 per person; proceeds benefit the Children’s Eternal Rainforest.  More info / signup here)

Holiday Reading!

The holidays are fast approaching and if you’re looking for gifts, we’re sharing some of our favorite books that will take you and your family to the rainforest.

The Forever ForestThe Forever Forest: Kids Save a Tropical Treasure by Rachel Crandell and Kristin Joy Pratt-Serafini
Written by the founder of FCER, this beautifully illustrated book will take you and your child on an exploratory adventure through the Children’s Eternal Rainforest.
Tropical NatureTropical Nature: Life and Death in the Rainforests of Central and South America by Adrian Forsyth and Ken Miyata, Illustrated by Sarah Landry
Explore the wondrous fragility of rainforests in this collection of essays with a foreword by FCER’s very own Advisory Board Member Dr. Thomas Lovejoy, who calls the book “a journey in itself.”
Flute's JourneyFlute’s Journey: The Life of a Woodthrush by Lynne Cherry
Take an exciting journey as Flute, a young Woodthrush, undertakes his first migration to Monteverde, home of the Children’s Eternal Rainforest. Perfect for conservationists-in-training, ages 5-8 years old.
50 Simple Steps to Save the World's Rainforests50 Simple Steps to Save the World’s Rainforests: How to Save Our Rainforests with Everyday Acts by Kim Henderson
Inspired by a stay at FCER Advisory Board Member Tom Newmark’s biodynamic farm, La Finca Nueva, this book gives easy and fun ways to protect our world’s rainforests every day.

From Our Board Chairs

Dear Friend of the Forest,

An army runs on its stomach. A board runs on its members. We are thrilled with the new and long time board members who have made a significant commitment of time, talent and passion to the preservation of the rainforest. Each issue, we would like to introduce you to some of our board members and share with you their talents, dedication and passion for FCER’s mission.

Maggie Eisenberger

Maggie Eisenberger

This month, meet one of our longest-term Board members: Maggie Eisenberger. Recently honored with FCER’s ABCD (“Above and Beyond the Call of Duty”) Award, Maggie is a recently retired Montessori science educator with a M.S. in Tropical Ecology. For years, Maggie has served as the volunteer head of our Eco-Travel and Education Programs. In retirement, she has spearheaded the creation of our FCER Schools Program, which provides students with the opportunity to experience the Forest, participate in ongoing research and design their own independent projects, while giving teachers the curriculum and tools to educate students about tropical ecology and prepare them for a unique immersive learning experience that incorporates scientific study, multi-culturalism, reflection, global awareness, empowerment and activism. What an accomplishment!

We also want to welcome aboard our newest Board members: Andrew Burke, Teresa Crossland, Elizabeth Kayser, Patrick Osborne, PhD., and Steve Mahfood. We look forward to sharing more about these energetic and talented eco-champions with you in the future. Without our amazing, committed board, supporting our front line people who are protecting the rainforest on a day-to-day basis would be 10 times more difficult.

For the Forest,

Signed Jane and Carol

Jane Oliver, Co-Chair FCER Board
Carol Weisman, Co-Chair FCER Board

Founded in 1986 by the efforts of school children from around the world, the Children’s Eternal Rainforest in Costa Rica is a 55,000 acre reserve that protects some of our planet’s most biodiverse habitat and endangered species. FCER is a US non-profit dedicated to raising awareness about rainforest conservation issues, providing youth and adult education opportunities, and buying and protecting land as part of the reserve.

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