Meet our members: MIDWORLD

Dear friends and supporters,

Thanks to the unconditional support of some local businesses we have been able to continue all of our programs. We are very grateful and would like all of you to know who they are:

MIDWORLD (http://midworldcostarica.com/) is one of our new members. Our great friends offer an amazing set of adventures for everybody: the classic canopy tour which features the longest “superman-style” line in the country (1 mile long!), all their lines, both canopy and superman, are double cabled and fit the latest international safety standards for canopy tours, high ropes course with puzzles and adventures, ATV tours and they can also organize other types of tours in the area like sportfishing. They are located in a 1000 acres property with 3 miles of riverfront and an amazing forest. We tried it and we cannot wait to go back!

MIDWORLD has been supporting KSTR since May 2011, and they share our sustainability and conservation goals. They own a sustainable teak plantation from which they get all their building materials.
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KSTR and ICE Partner to Save the Monkeys

You see them every day parading across monkey bridges and electrical lines, but the recent electrocution of six titi monkeys in Pocares reminds us that there is still a need for a better balance between our modern world and the surrounding eco-community. While we need electrical lines to power our needs, the trouble for wildlife starts when the wires—either two primary or a primary and secondary—make contact with a grounded object, such as a tree or land, or with each other. When this occurs, the wires become electrified, creating a dangerous situation for monkeys accustomed to using them as a means of passage.

This is exactly what happened on October 16 when the monkeys in Pocares—all members of the same troop—were electrocuted and then rushed to KSTR’s Wildlife Rescue Center by a concerned passerby. Sadly, such events are not isolated occurrences in Costa Rica; in fact, dozens of monkeys are injured or even killed trying to cross the roads that wind through their natural habitat. And with more and more electrical wires being strung along the corridors that link one section of rainforest with another, greater numbers of monkeys and other animals are using wires for transportation.

This year alone KSTR has treated 30 electrocuted animals, suffering from shock, internal burns, heart arrhythmias, respiratory distress, and pulmonary edema. Injuries to three of the tiki monkeys from last month’s incident were so severe that they had to be euthanized following days of treatment in intensive care. The others are still recuperating at the Wildlife Rescue Center but are scheduled to be released in Pocares this week.

In an effort to save more animals, KSTR has partnered with ICE to develop innovative solutions. In 2012, ICE will restring insulated wires from Quepos to Hotel Mono Azul and from Hotel Costa Verde down to the beach—two areas that KSTR identified as being highly trafficked by the animals. The current electrical poles are not able to support the weight of the insulated wires, so a portion of the money will also be used to replace poles.  ICE will continue installing preventative devices. In the past year, ICE has put approximately 40 cover-ups over exposed wires on top of transformers where KSTR has noted that the majority of monkey and sloth electrocutions occur. ICE is also now placing cones on wires that lead from the ground up to the transformers. These cones act as physical barriers for smaller species that cannot climb past the cone. In addition, ICE is utilizing “’little spiders,” which transmit a small electrical current to warn animals of danger on the wires.

Both KSTR and ICE agree, however, that simply trimming down trees is one of the most important ways to prevent animal electrocution. If there is no visible way for the animals to pass from one side of the street to another, they will jump and grab onto a tree branch. But if that branch happens to touch a primary or secondary wire then they receive a shock. At KSTR’s last meeting with ICE, locations in Quepos and Manuel Antonio where trees needed to be cut back were identified.

Members of ICE’s new Natural Resources Department were shocked by KSTR’s reports and photos of burned and amputated animals, and have asked KSTR to begin sending immediate reports of electrocutions so that the location and cause can be rapidly investigated.  This will not only help prevent injury along the same wires in the future, but it will also enable ICE to deliver better service to its customers since each time an animal is electrocuted, power is lost, requiring ICE to track down the exact location of the outage and restore the electricity.

A Day at KSTR’s Kids Camp

Planting trees at Kids Camp.

Are you visiting Costa Rica with your family and want to provide your kids with a unique educational experience? Check out KSTR’s Kids Camp held every Saturday at the Hotel Mono Azul, KSTR’s headquarters in Manuel Antonio. We host anywhere from 8-15 kids (locals, expats, and visitors) each week at our camp where the goal is to empower the future generation and help kids realize that they too can make a difference in the world today. Our kids learn the importance of the environment and what they can do to help protect the local rainforest and its inhabitants. We begin with a little bit about the history of KSTR and our efforts, followed by a different lesson plan each week presented by our camp leaders–for example, endangered species, renew, reuse, recycle (the 3 R’s), or what happens to a plastic bottle when it’s not recycled but tossed into the rainforest or ocean. Occasional field trips give our kids the opportunity to work hands on to help educate the public and save the planet. They may distribute our “11 Reasons Not to Feed the Monkeys” pamphlets to visitors at the National Park or learn about sustainable farming by planting fruits and vegetables at the nearby Blue Banyan Inn. During our arts and crafts time, the kids paint rocks, design bookmarks, and/or make bracelets and earrings, which are all sold in the KSTR store, where 100% of the proceeds are donated to help save the rainforest.

Camp is from 9-12am every Saturday, and any child age 5 to 18 can attend. A minimal charge of 2500 colones ($5) for a day at camp includes snack and transportation, and all money goes to further KSTR’s goals. Email us to sign up your kid today!

Help Save the Rainforest and Take Home Souvenirs

Looking for the perfect souvenir for yourself or your friends and family back home? Make sure you stop into the Kids Saving the Rainforest (KSTR) Souvenir Shop, where 100% of the proceeds are donated to help save the rainforest.

The initial idea for the shop came in 1999 when two 9 year old girls living in Manuel Antonio wanted to help save the surrounding rainforest. The duo painted rocks and made postcards, which they sold to raise money for their cause. The KSTR organization grew from their efforts, and eleven years later, KSTR volunteers still paint rocks and make postcards and bookmarks to sell in the store.

We’ve expanded our main store located in Mono Azul Hotel on the road to the beach and have a second location open for business now in the Blue Banyan Inn just outside of Quepos. Inside our stores you’ll find unique souvenirs to help you remember your experience in Costa Rica. Wooden sculptures, paintings, and crafts constructed from indigenous materials, such as bamboo, coconut shells, and coral, are all made by local artisans. Some are signed and dated, and no two pieces are the same. Elaborate jewelry designed with shells, bamboo, and stones make great gifts. And of course there is a variety of clothing and toys for the kids.

Best of all you can feel good about your purchases. Absolutely 100% of the money from sales in the shops goes to help fund KSTR projects: maintenance of KSTR’s animal rescue and rehabilitation clinic; construction of monkey bridges so that the animals have safe passage high above the roads; reforestation of natural monkey habitation; and education of local children and other visitors about their natural surroundings.

Visit KSTR for more info on our mission, volunteering opportunities, or directions to our stores.  To see our day to day activities, join our Kids Saving The Rainforest Facebook Group.

Look Both Ways Before Crossing the Street

Monkeys using a KSTR bridge to cross the road.

Mom always said look both ways before crossing the street. Well, the same is true for the monkeys here in Manuel Antonio. Each year dozens of monkeys are injured or even killed trying to cross the roads that wind through their natural rainforest habitat. In recent years, more and more electrical wires have been strung along the corridors that link one monkey habitat with another. And without any other means to get across, monkeys pass along the wires. You can image how dangerous it is when they make contact with the live wire. Monkeys have suffered electrocution, burns, loss of limbs, and in severe cases death. If injured monkeys are found, they are taken to a rehabilitation clinic run by Kids Saving the Rainforest (KSTR)—a non-profit organization dedicated to helping the endangered Titi monkey and repopulating the rainforest—and if possible released back into the wild after receiving care.

To help protect the monkeys, KSTR raises money to put up “monkey bridges” in Manuel Antonio. Monkey bridges are 2-inch-thick ropes that are strung between the trees high above the streets in the most dangerous places that monkeys cross. Look up as you’re wandering the windy road that leads to Manuel Antonio’s national park and beaches and you’ll see the blue and green ropes just about everywhere, and if you’re lucky, even a monkey or two. The monkeys use these ropes rather than the electrical wires to safely get from place to place. In the past 11 years, KSTR has put up over 130 bridges in the area. The bridges are made possible by people’s donations and are maintained by KSTR in those people’s names.

Unfortunately, this past June a storm with high winds and driving rains knocked down thousands of trees in Manuel Antonio and destroyed at least a fourth of the monkey bridges. As a result KSTR has ramped up its efforts to raise funds for new bridges and has replaced been able to replace many of damaged ropes.

You can help save the monkeys, too! Learn more about our volunteer programs or make a donation today on our website.

Article on cans

WHO CAN CAN THE CANS? KIDS SAVING THE RAINFOREST CAN!

How many times have you seen the cheeky monkeys in the Manuel Antonio National Park, perched on the edge of a garbage can, eating their fill? The Park Rangers have seen it for years, and had mentioned it as a major problem in our discussions about where to direct our energy and funding. We put it on our list of projects for the coming year, but we were not alone in wanting to do something about the problem! In the meantime a Canadian woman visited the Park and noticed some monkeys feasting out of garbage cans.  She was so appalled that she made a donation to Kids Saving the Rainforest, which would be used to place lids on all of the garbage cans in order to keep the wily monkeys out.

Our first move was to figure out where all the garbage cans were located.A volunteer from Montreal, Valerie Evans, took on this mission. After much searching, she reported that there were 11 garbage cans in various states of disrepair, some without lids, and all with several layers of grimy paint on them.Our initial plan had been to simply paint them white, and replace the missing lids, and then have the kids come and decorate them.Easy, right?Not really!We quickly realized that we needed to go all out, and hire solderers to make the missing lids, have someone scrape the old paint off and paint them with coats of white weatherproof paint, and then have professional artists come in and help the kids decorate them.

Solderers were easy to find.Painters were easier still.Unfortunately, professional dirty garbage can scrapers are pretty rare, so I myself was roped into doing that part of the job!I often chuckled to myself as I worked, when I would turn around and find a small crowd of onlookers/supporters behind me, awed and disgusted by my extreme state of grunginess, as I scraped years of paint and grime off of the cans.But before I knew it, I had scraped the paint from all 11 of them, and I could call in the professionals to do the rest.They were finished painting them white in a matter of a few days, and we were ready for the kids to make them beautiful!

You wouldn’t expect to hear the two words, “garbage” and “beautiful”, in the same sentence, I know!But if you see the bins now, you will be truly impressed.The kids and the professional artist transformed the cans into true works of art, monkey-proof and very nice to look at, as well.What started out as a project to keep monkeys from gorging on garbage ended up being a project to beautify the National Park, too.Thanks to everyone who was involved, and please remember to close and latch the lids the next time you use one of the fabulous new waste bins in the Park!Those wily monkeys will be watching…