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La Reserva Forest Foundation

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Environment, Land Resources Conservation

Mission: La Reserva Forest Foundation restores and preserves native tropical forests for all living things by planting diverse tree species, educating people, partnering with land-owners and inspiring all to share our vision.

Geographic areas served: Tropical forest belt around the world

Community Stories

19 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Harold8

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

LRFF under the compassionate and dedicated leadership of Roberta Ward Smiley and Daniel Wilson, along with their many amazing volunteers, are bringing about necessary and measurable results. Not only do they positively impact the reforestation in Costa Rica, they are educating and inspiring countless others around the world to embark on similar efforts to help restore our precious planet.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Awesome people doing awesome things. A great experience to be a part of the organization and surrounded by positive energy and influential people.

2 Karlos S.

Volunteer

Rating: 0

me ha ayudado a hacer algo importe y bueno para el planeta y que ay que ayudarlo siempre porque es lo mas hermoso que dios nos ha dado :)

1 Galii S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

la reserva es una excelente fundacion que ayuda a reforetar los bosques de la zona

1 Charlotte16

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Working at La Reserva was the best experience of my life and I feel privileged to have been apart of the wonderful work they do every single day. During my time there I got to see first hand the importance of La Reservas work and work with the people, like the Maleku, whom the charity helps support. I learnt about forest regeneration at all levels and how imperative it is we support the natural regeneration of tropical forests as La Reserva does. I can't recommend this organisation, its work and members enough - if you can support it in anyway it will be one of the best things you do.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been working as a volunteer with La Reserva Forest Foundation for almost 3 months now. I have learned and seen alot about this great organisation. The dedication to reforest and preserve the tropical forests is amazing. The people that work here and that work with us are inspiring. La Reserva recently reforested an area near the Rio Sol, its a corridor for flora and fauna to migrate and spread to different locations. These corridors are of high importance and La Reserva is doing a great job creating these corridors. Next to creating corridors and slowly reforesting the world, La Reserva helps the local and/or indiginous people by providing jobs in helping maintaning these reforested areas. Also La Reserva helps in educating those who are involved or interested in reforestation and preservation. I have gain great insights of what I would like to work with in the future. Preserving the worlds tropical forests can be done by giving forests a higher economic value than its destructive values (timber, agriculture), in my opinion carbon sequestration is a great solution. I would highly recommend this organisation to any other future volunteer.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a volunteer, I served as a founding member of the Board of the La Reserva Forest Foundation, watching it grow from an idea to a committed and energetic leader of reforestation efforts in the Arenal Tempisque Conservation Area, an area cited as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO as one of the most important watersheds in Central America. Inspired by what La Reserva was doing, we planted thousands of trees on our own property nearby and have been rewarded with the creation of a mini biological corridor for hundreds of species. This has been rewarding work indeed, and we applaud the persistence and dedication of La Reserva in creating a new culture of growth and conservation around Lake Arenal.

Previous Stories
6

Board Member

Rating: 5

As a former board member and "volunteer," I was helpful in many ways in the founding and organization of La Reserva. It was intense work, because Roberta and Dan are intensely involved in this project, with a passion for living trees and creating forests to preserve the aquifers and offer opportunities for animal populations to migrate. Costa Rica is one of the most bio-diverse countries on the planet, and we are losing that diversity at an alarming rate. Just one example: the howler monkey population has dropped by 50% in just the last 15 years -- mostly due to loss of habitat, as well as the forest "bridges" that connect one habitat with another. Working with Dan and Roberta is an education -- not just about forests, but about what it means to be so dedicated and energetic in the pursuit of one's dream. Their trajectory over the past few years has been electrifying. They are now known everywhere, including among all the environmental institutions, both public and non-profit. They participate in some of these organizations and carry their message wherever they go -- especially in the local schools. They give tours of the forest they've created, collect seedlings, sell indigenous trees from their nursery, maintain the thousands of trees they've planted, and manage a thorough-going communications program. This is truly an organization worthy of support!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

La Reserva Forest Foundation is amazing. This foundation has a team of dedicated people who work endlessly to try to make a better world for the rest of us.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The work of La Reserva Forest Foundation is so precious, that all words would be not enough. La Reserva is saving our Earth, in fact is saving us, our civilization.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I did an internship at La Reserva for 5 months last year working as Executive Assistant to the CEO, Roberta. As a student of Modern Languages (French and Spanish) in England, I am currently undertaking the 'year abroad' aspect of my degree for which I spent my Spanish half in Costa Rica. Roberta was extremely helpful and welcoming from the start, and after a very friendly Skype interview, found me a host family nearby who are friends of hers and Dan's. At La Reserva I was given a wide range of tasks ranging from translations, letter writing and blogging to video making, calendar design, production and promotion and accompanying them on day trips to Maleku tribal villages! Roberta, Dan (Roberta's partner), Suzy (the very friendly Chihuahua cross who greeted me every day with excitable muddy paws), Gino (the Great Dane who greeted me every day with a very large not-overly-pleasant slobbery kiss), the La Reserva parrot and Squeak the loudest snoring cat I have ever met, really have something special at La Reserva. Even the walk up is pretty surreal, with captivating views out over Lake Arenal and Arenal Volcano looming in the distance, quite often a rainbow or two framing the idyllic scene following the afternoon rains in wet season. The work that La Reserva does is innovative, wide ranging and essential to the survival of the rainforest and its inhabitants both human and animal. The unconditional love that Roberta and Dan have for the earth and its inhabitants is really rather inspiring and it is their enthusiasm and passion that keep LRFF going through thick and thin. I had a fantastic time in Costa Rica working at La Reserva, and I am hoping this summer to return or to volunteer in some way from England, possibly to help set up an LRFF UK!

Courtney C.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

La Reserva Forest Foundation (LRFF) is an incredible organization working towards restoring the Costa Rican rainforest. As a college student in California, I haven't had the pleasure of returning to Costa Rica to directly volunteer with LRFF, but I plan to in the future. They are so smart with what they do, considering all aspects on life in Costa Rica from the trees and vegetation to the monkeys and other wildlife, and the farmers and people trying to make a living. I've throughly enjoyed giving some of my very little income as a monthly donation, and have loved reading the periodic emails sent to me about their diverse and focused projects. LRFF is an awesome non-profit that I'm thrilled to continue to be intimately affiliated with.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the opportunity to fund raise for any organization in the world and chose to donate my funds to LRFF. This organization is run by intelligent, driven leaders that I've had the pleasure of meeting personally. Roberta and her staff are truly inspirational. I hope one day to return to Costa Rica to visit their neck of the woods and plant one of their countless trees that are helping to restore our precious rain forest. Thank you LRFF for your extremely hard work and amazing accomplishments!

El T.

Volunteer

Rating: 2

I have nothing positive to say at this date. Sorry.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I moved to Costa Rica hoping to be able to engage in reforestation and wildlife preservation efforts. I met Roberta and Daniel of La Reserva Forest Foundation at their first ever fundraiser. Despite having virtually no funding or support at that time, they were planting trees anywhere they could get an agreement from landowners. I was moved by their dedication and commitment to reforestation and habitat restoration. I am proud to work with La Reserva regularly and have seen the foundation take on bigger challenges and become better organized and more effective in our efforts. Community outreach, educational programs, nursery creation projects, animal rehabilitation and reintroduction and biological corridor program, and ongoing forest docent programs along with cultural restoration projects are among the expanding efforts being made at La Reserva. In 2009 we planted 10,000 trees and more still in 2010. Other lands we have reforested are showing signs of returning fauna and diversification of flora in the few short years since being planted! This makes me even more excited about the work we do with La Reserva Forest Foundation. Roberta Ward Smiley and Daniel Spreen are a true inspiration and deserve to be supported and encouraged in their work at La Reserva Forest Foundation.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

After one walk through the restored tropical forest with Roberta as guide, we were transformed and have committed ourselves to helping La Reserva grow and mature, just like the trees they plant. If a dozen people in powerful positions would take that walk, the world would be a different place.

11

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My husband and I helped to plant trees last fall with other industrious volunteers. Roberta and Dan are extremely dedicated to reforestation and their enthusiasm is highly contagious. I now am involved in the monthly meetings and in a small way assisted with fundraising. It has been a very rewarding and positive experience.

9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

While there are various organizations that are involved in planting or re-planting in deforested areas, La Reserva also makes an impact with education. Yes, they have planed over 10,000 trees, they have also "planted" the idea that the disaster of deforestation can be reversed. They have talked with, and educated local land owners, and school children regarding the importance of this project and the positive impact that it can have for all of us. Additionally, with the tours of the already re-forested land that Dan and Roberta have converted from pasture to jungle, they have been able to educate people from all over the world. Without exception, those who experience the tours come away with a completely different outlook as to the possibilities of reversing the damage that humans have inflicted on our environment. They deserve all of the credit for accomplishing this and with proper funding there is no limit as to what further could be accomplished.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was a volunteer at La Reserva Forest Foundation for a month last year. It was an amazing experience doing hands on work to restore native tropical forest. During my time I was also exposed to some great literature provided by Dan and Roberta on restoration and environmental conservation in Costa Rica. While volunteering I worked on biological corridors as living fences, planted over a thousand seeds in the native plant nursery, and learned about tropical forest ecology. I liked the reserve and the work they are doing so much that I returned again this year and volunteered for a few days helping plant trees, repair living fences, and enjoying nature hikes through the reserve. This place has opened a new passion in me and I have the highest regard for the work that Roberta and Dan are doing for the environment. I hope that through the various ways they are conducting outreach that the foundation will be able to do more good for the local community and also for the global community who either knowing it or not, relies on these forests for a better Earth.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My husband and I took a tour of LaRserva alittle over a year ago. We were so impressed with what Dan & Roberta were doing we went back to the states, sold our house, and moved here to be a part of this special nonprofit.We're not the only ones who are here to volunteer.Everyone envoled with LRFF has the same passion. They don't just plant trees.It's very important to LRFF that the Ticos[Costa Ricans] are payed for their work.They plant the native trees and maintain them for two years. The forest, once planted, grows back to its thick, lush, green beauty.This is the natural habit of the sloth, birds,butterflies,puma, and our beloved monkeys to name a few animal species. Just last week at LRFf a pair of white face monkeys were spotted. Roberta last saw them here 15 years ago. They are coming back because they have the corridors now.LRFF plants to connect the forest areas to become large corridors so the animal habitat can travel and multiply in thier natural eco system.The indigenous people look to the forest for their food and natural medicines. This just touches the surface of what LRFF is all about.Please go to webb site WWW.LRFF.ORG. Come to La Reserva ,meet Roberta &Dan;,take a tour and see for yourself.The tour starts at thier house. There is no ticket office or snack bar. After the tour you go back to the house and have a cold drink. LaReserva is truely a "grass root" organization. That's why we're here and we're loving every minute of it. We just need the money to plant. Come experience the feeling of planting a native tree in the forest.LET'S GET PLANTING! That's our motto.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My husband and I went on a forest tour at La Reserva Forest Foundation and were astonished at how quickly the native tropical forest has regenerated from cleared cattle pasture in just 10-15 years. We were also amazed at how much this dedicated group of volunteers has been able to accomplish with very few resources. They create miracles from nothing!