MCL celebrates their 25th birthday this year!

Old MCL photo

It’s MCL’s 25th birthday!

25th Anniversary MCL

MCL stewards the largest private reserve in Costa Rica. The story of MCL is totally unique – it’s about children’s hope, the uniting of a common conservation purpose, 44 countries donating funds, and over 215 land acquisitions.

Twenty five years ago, 14 people concerned about rampant rainforest destruction in Costa Rica created the Monteverde Conservation League (MCL).

Rachel Crandell planting a tree

While on a trip to Europe, one of MCL’s members met a Swedish elementary school teacher who was fascinated with MCL’s story and invited them to her classroom. The students were inspired, and they decided they would help raise money to help purchase more land for the reserve. After raising over $18,000, the story of the school children from Sweden saving the rainforest made the local newspaper and then went global. Children from over 44 countries all throughout the world started to raise money to donate to MCL’s cause, and many donations also came from sister organizations established to support the rainforest.

Rachel Crandell (pictured to the right in 2008), co-founder of Monteverde Conservation League U.S. Inc., and her second grade students were a part of this international grass roots movement. MCL members and staff wanted to honor those young people who had worked so hard to create what is now the largest private reserve in Costa Rica, by naming this reserve the Children’s Eternal Rainforest.

All sorts of plans are under way to commemorate this 25th anniversary. Bob Law (co-founder) and staff are reviewing board meeting minutes, old newsletters, photos and people’s memories to create a timeline. What were the highlights and the major milestones along the way? Highlights of MCL’s history will be put on a banner. A slide show will be made for the web site. And this information can be used in other ways such as a walkable line along the ground at events. It will show how the Children’s Eternal Rainforest grew over time, the challenges MCL has faced, and the involvement of different people and places around the world.

Old MCL photo

Plans for March 2011 include sessions at a local farmers market to show what has been achieved and to attract people to visit the Children’s Eternal Rainforest. This will be followed by an open house at Bajo del Tigre for local families to come and explore the trails and take part in the eco-learning activities in the Cassita classroom. There also will be community eco-active days – planting trees from the nursery in the La Tigre section of the CER, and cleaning up the rivers around Monteverde.

Ecofest, Monteverde’s festival of art, music and conservation, is planning to commemorate MCL’s 25th anniversary this year, starting with a dinner to launch the festival at the MCL Information Center on the eve of the festival. We will update you on MCL’s other celebrations throughout the year.

MCL Colleagues

Wendy Brenes (Information and Ecotourism Coordinator) and Rowan Eisner (MCL communications volunteer) discuss plans for MCL’s 25th anniversary celebration. Wendy and Rowan work closely with MCLUS to provide news of the CER.

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