We are very proud of KSTR’s co-founders, Janine Licare and Aislin Livingstone. They have both just graduated from two very prestigious colleges, Janine from Stanford in California and Aislin from McGill in Montreal. Congratulations to you both!
Janine starts right away with a two-year program, Teach For America, teaching elementary school children (with English as a second language) in East Los Angeles. Janine will concurrently be getting a Master’s Degree in Education at Loyola Marymount University. We are thrilled that she will be able to teach these kids about the rainforest, it’s destruction, and then empower them to save it!
Aislin is currently doing her internship on sustainable agriculture in New Brunswick, Canada. After that they send her to her placement in either Cuba, Costa Rica, or Honduras and she will be assisting community- based projects working on biodiversity restoration. Way to go ladies!!
Janine and Aislin were both raised in Manuel Antonio and saw the rainforest destruction first hand. The area became very popular and more and more people wanted to build. When they were just 9 years old they set up a roadside stand and sold items they made. At first they used the money to buy chicken and pickles at Pickles Deli but then wanted to do something to save the rainforest with their money. So they raised $80, which Janine’s mother matched, and they donated the money to buy 4 acres in the heart of the rainforest of Montezuma that would never be developed. Being very excited by what they had done, Janine’s mother agreed to drive them to Montezuma to see the land they had bought.
Once they arrived they looked up the organization that they had donated the money to, only to be told that they had no way of knowing if the money had been used for administrative costs or even where it had been used! They were young, still only 9 years old, and very sad.
On the way back in the car Janine’s mom gave them a solution. They could start their own organization and make sure that every dollar donated would be accounted for. So they started KSTR by adopting trees out to people and planting them where there needed to be reforestation. They have kept track of every tree since then, and know where they all are, so if anyone wants to see their tree, they can go to the location of the planted trees to see it. After that they managed to get a loan and purchased 5 acres of rainforest in the middle of the rainforest in Manuel Antonio. They sold each meter for a $1 to pay back the loan. The piece of land was finally paid off last year!
They also had help from a group to find locations of where monkeys were being electrocuted or hit by cars, and through the years have successfully placed 130 bridges across the roads to help. KSTR now has a professional monkey bridge team that goes out monthly to fix bridges, put up new ones and monitor all of the bridges. They also have monthly meetings with ICE to coordinate where branches need to be cut back from the live wires and to discuss any new electrocutions. ICE sends out their cherry picker to help when needed.
Since this program was started 10 years ago, the Endangered Titi Monkeys population has more than doubled!
KSTR now has a wildlife rescue center with a full time wildlife vet and 2 helpers, last year they took in 120 animals for 26 species, with an incredible release rate of 55%!
KSTR also has a Wildlife Sanctuary for wildlife that can never be released, with over 30 monkeys.
The girls’ roadside stand has turned into a large Souvenir Store with 100% of the proceeds going to save the rainforest! It is located in the Hotel Mono Azul. (There is a 10% off coupon in Quepolandia if you want to check it out.)
Janine and Aislin also created the first public library in the area and it is still open today with more than 2500 books located right behind the KTR Store.
KSTR has a kid’s camp that meets for special events, like when the US Ambassador came to the area and wanted to meet with KSTR.
There are sister projects all over the world and chapters in other areas as well.
There is quite a lot to be proud of when it comes to these two girls who just turned 22! We wish them both the best and can’t wait for them to come back and take over the projects as adults!