“Early on the morning of our first full day in Costa Rica, we got up to go birding with Alex Martinez, our host in Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui. As we were walking through a pasture not far from his B & B, Alex pointed out two pair of large green Macaws, flying in formation overhead. He told us “You are looking at ten percent of the nesting population of Great Green Macaws in Costa Rica.” At about the same time, a small green feather floated down from one of the birds, which Alex picked up and gave to our seven year-old son, Kyle. Later that evening, after dinner, Alex spoke with us about the efforts of the conservation community to restore and protect the Great Green Macaws (“Lapa Verde” as they are known in Costa Rica) and their habitat in northern Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Throughout the rest of our trip, we saw many new and amazing birds and other wildlife, but nothing impressed us quite as much as the sighting of those four beautiful Macaws.
After returning home, Kyle was assigned to do a research project for his second-grade class, and he chose to study the efforts to save the Great Green Macaw in Costa Rica. As a part of that project, he decided to try and collect enough donations to preserve one of the Almendro, or “Mountain Almond” trees that the Macaws use for a major food source, as well as for their primary nesting sites. As part of his project, Kyle gave several presentations to his classmates, and set up a display to collect donations during his Spring Class Program. He also spoke with his Spanish teacher, who helped the effort by asking her Spanish class students to draw pictures of rainforest animals, which were then made into coloring books, and sold to classmates and others in their school for donations to help save the Great Green Macaws. At the end of the school year, all of the donations were combined, and we discovered that we had earned enough money to preserve not one, but two Almendro trees!” – Ray, Sandy and Kyle