Chilamate Rainforest Eco Retreat firmly believes that in order for their conservation project to be sustainable over time, the local community must perceive a benefit. Thus a major part of the family run rainforest conservation and sustainable tourism project includes work in the community.
Even before the conception of Chilamate Rainforest Eco Retreat, they began giving free English classes in the community and have since developed an Environmental Education program and other different workshops for the community. Additionally, they run two major sports programs for local youth: Chilamate Saturday Soccer Camp and the Sarapiqui River School. Each of these programs offers much needed activities for local, at-risk youth, completely free of cost for them.
The Retreat only hires local labor and procures to purchase as much as possible all of the food and products that are used at the Retreat from local producers and suppliers. Meghan and Davis are also very active community members.
Meghan currently participates as the President of the Chilamate Elementary School Administrative Board (since 2011), the Costa Rican Coordinator for World Leadership School (since 2009) and Academic Experiences Abroad (since 2013), World Leadership Foundation Board Member (since 2012)and is an active member of the local women’s group (since 2006). She has also continued her studies, at the Peace University, where she has taken courses in Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Social Change, Measuring Impact, Skills for Effective Negotiation, and Educating in the 21st Century, amongst others in a diploma program (Diploma in Social Innovation) that she finished in April 2014. Davis is the Costa Rican Ambassador for World Kayak, active in the Municipality and Chamber of Commerce, founding member of local community Organization Chilamate Activo, and founder of the non-profit local Saturday Soccer Camp and Sarapiqui River School which aims to keep at risk youth off the streets while giving them the basics in kayaking.
Through Chilamate Rainforest Eco Retreat and their work in the community their goal is to expand their conservation area and they firmly believe that is only possible if the local community perceives a real benefit from their project.
Thanks to their work with World Leadership School they consistently work with 6 local schools supporting in infrastructure projects and teacher training and have built 3 playgrounds, 3 basketball courts, a library room, and bathrooms, amongst many other projects. They also coordinate home stays in three different communities which links local families to international visitors in a very powerful way.
Meghan and Davis have seen many conservation efforts fail because there is no local buy-in of the projects. They sincerely believe that the local community has to be involved and benefit from every aspect of their project to ensure that the rainforest conservation is sustainable and will expand in their very critical section of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor.
We are proud members of Pack for a Purpose, an initiative that allows travelers like you to make a lasting impact in the community at your travel destination. If you save just a few kilos of space in your suitcase and bring supplies for area schools or medical clinics in need, you’ll make a priceless impact in the lives of our local children and families. Please click here to see what supplies are needed for our project/projects.