ARCAE’s Childrens’ Environmental Education Workshop: Punta Banco

On Friday March 16, 2012 the ARCAE association will hold an environmental education workshop at the Punta Banco elementary school for all children in grades K-6.   Activities will include a beach clean-up competition, the making and hanging of signs with environmental messages around the town, interactive presentations on local marine life, and videos about the effects of trash on our oceans.  The event will run from 7 am-12 noon and is part of ARCAE’s (a Costa Rican environmental and educational non-profit), work in sustainable community development in Southern Costa Rica. 

Since December, 2011 the organization has been collecting data on the presence of marine species off the coast of Punta Banco and Pavones – 2 communities located at the mouth of the Golfo Dulce (Sweet Gulf) along the country’s Pacific coast near the Costa Rica-Panama border. 

The area is a small-scale, ecotourism attraction teaming with marine and rainforest wildlife.  Local residents work primarily in tourism, artisanal fishing efforts, and agriculture.  Commonly referred to as an ecological gem, the Southern Pacific coast of Costa Rica, and its adjacent Osa Peninsula, has experienced agressive development pressures in the past few years.  Some of the projects being planned and/or implemented include large scale tuna aquaculture, an international airport, cell phone tower construction in locally important view sheds, large-scale marinas, increased logging efforts, and gravel extraction. 

Local residents have the power to determine the area’s economic future.  Ultimately, they will decide if this future is based on locally owned development initiatives or on the interests of large scale international developers.  ARCAE is responding to community members’ desires to design environmental protection strategies that allow for locally based economic opportunities.  Environmental education is a piece of this sustainable development strategy.

For more information, contact Ingrid Rojas at irojas07@hotmail.com

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