Going Beyond Borders for Birds
Baltimore Oriole by David Freriks -- Each spring, millions of birds return to Wisconsin from distant winter haunts. Hungry and tired from thousands of miles of perilous travel, our birds can count on Wisconsin to provide the habitat they need. But that is not always the case south of the border, where more than half of Wisconsin’s 238 breeding bird species spend the winter. Throughout Latin America, deforestation and incompatible development are squeezing Wisconsin’s birds into ever smaller wintering grounds, threatening their long-term survival.
Despite significant conservation efforts in Wisconsin, global bird populations continue to decline. Loss of habitat, pollution and global warming threaten the birds that enhance our quality of life. Our migrating birds spend only about half of their lives with us, so protecting them requires a ‘whole-life-cycle’ approach.
Recognizing the need to act internationally on behalf of Wisconsin’s birds, the Foundation has joined public and private partners at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Neenah Paper to safeguard important migratory bird wintering habitat on Costa Rica’s Osa peninsula.
"It’s a significant gift to our reforestation and habitat protection work," noted Dr. Adrian Forsyth, president of the group’s board of directors, "and we are grateful for the support." Forsyth continued, "the long term conservation of migratory songbirds is only possible because of such north-south partnerships."
Jutting into the Pacific Ocean, the Osa peninsula harbors the last remaining old growth rain forest on the west coast of Central America. Enormous trees, some more than 1,000 years old, provide critical habitat for hundreds of species of birds, including 54 species that call Wisconsin home. Eighteen of those species are state conservation priorities, three are listed as threatened and one is endangered.
Source: Natural Resource Foundation of Wisconsin
Dream Tripping in the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica. Catching up with Neenah Paper's Eco-Trip for Two winner, Sean Arian
Have you ever one a nice trip somewhere? Well, Sean Arian—to his astonishment—did. And now this Los Angeles lawyer with a passion for the environment is hardcore environmental adventurer on Neenah Paper’s “Eco-Trip for Two” in Costa Rica and its miraculous Osa region. Mr. Arian was randomly selected from more than 5,000 entries in Neenah’s contest to win the environmental adventure of a lifetime in celebration of its ENVIRONMENT® Papers line late last year. He kindly agreed to blog about his experience for Against the Grain. But! In the heart of nature’s most fragile environment deep inside the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica, WIFI is no sure thing. Go Green! But not with envy.
And the Winner Is...
Sean Arian Blog 1
Wednesday March 2, 2010
No one ever wins a competition. That's what I thought. I certainly hadn't. I only filled out the Neenah Paper entry form at the Opportunity Green conference in Los Angeles because my intern Max did. When the first call came from Neenah after a few months saying that I won the grand prize, I thought it was a scam. I ignored it. Then I got s second call. I ignored that one too. It was only when I got the FedEx package with all the details that I thought "wow, this might be real. What did I win? A trip to Costa Rica? Seriously?!" My fiancé Mike did a little internet research--it was legit. Damn, I won a trip to Costa Rica! And it's a NICE one. No lectures about timeshares. Later that day, I went out and bought a lottery ticket.
Out of Los Angeles...
Sean Arian Blog 2
Saturday, March 05, 2011 12:11 AM
It's midnight and I'm waiting at LAX for the flight to take off. Overnight flight looks to be rough--the flight is totally booked. This will probably be my last post in awhile. Bosque del Cabo is completely off the grid. Seriously. They generate their own electricity. No phones. No TV. No wifi. I think it's one of the 5 places left on the planet like that. Take that, Zuckerberg.
Arriving in Costa Rica...
Sean Arian Blog 3
Saturday, March 05, 2011 02:39 PM
Thanks to the Gran Hotel Costa Rica's WIFI connection… It is day 1 of the trip in Costa Rica, we're on a long layover in San Jose. Hunger. On the overnight flight, we slept through the meals, it's now close to noon and we haven't eaten yet. But we're about 15 minutes away from pollo asado, rice, beans and tortilla. And then a walk around the center of San Jose until it's time to catch our puddle jumper to Puerto Jimenez. Coffee at the Gran Hotel Costa Rica. A very fancy hotel. The piano man in the lobby is playing Aerosmith. Seriously. And they have wifi!
In-Flight Eco Lessons...
Sean Arian Blog 4
Sunday, March 06, 2011
Things I found out about Costa Rica from an in flight magazine: They have eliminated all taxes on renewable energy to encourage local businesses and individuals to install more. About 25% of Costa Rica has been designated national parkland. Both of Costa Rica's small domestic airlines (Sansa and Nature Air) are carbon neutral.
Inside the Beautiful Osa Conservancy
Sean Arian Blog 5
Tuesday, March 08, 2011
Today we visited the Osa Conservancy--Neenah Paper is one of their bigger sponsors. Over the last 5 years, they have acquired over 1200 hectares of land, former cattle ranches, teak plantations and areas where other non-native hardwoods. They've been replanting a lot of the areas with a large variety of native trees. In some cases, they are pulling out non-native trees and replanting them with natives (pulling out all the old teak trees means they've got some great wood to make furniture for the research center). Along with private landowners, the government and hotel owners, they are trying to develop contiguous "nature corridor" down the mountaintops all the way to Corcovado National Park. The idea is to allow wildlife a corridor to roam. They are planting trees that will attract certain animals that provide a benefit to the corridor. For example, they are planting a particular fruit tree that will attract a particular kind of fruit eating bat. The bat eats the fruit and then drops seed (ready made with fertilizer) in other areas, ensuring the growth of even more trees. Aside from trees, the Conservancy has some other cool project going on, including the protection of sea turtle hatching grounds (by the way, they are lacking only $500 to attend an international sea turtle conference in San Diego in April--any generous folks who care about the turtles out there, feel free to donate). That's all for now!
At the Animal Sanctuary
Sean Arian Blog 6
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Problem of the day: how to get the monkey off your back.
When you’ve got the monkey on your back, here’s some real life advice on how to get it off:
1. Give her what she wants. Does she want that fruit you were trying to feed to the koati? Give it to her. If you know what’s good for you.
2. Don’t grab her. Monkeys only get grabbed by other animals when they are about to get eaten. It scares them. They will empty their bowels on you.
3. Don’t stare. Staring is a sign of aggression. She may try to rip off your ear.
4. Don’t smile. Barring your teeth is a sign of aggression, too. See above.
She finally did get off my back, but I had to give her a monkey massage (actually, she just wanted to be scratched--that monkey had a lot of itches!). The animal sanctuary--and the river cruise we took to get there were pretty cool. Aside from the friendly monkey, some of the things we saw included:
• crocodiles cruising the river
• a big yellow boa constrictor coiled in the trees
• beautiful scarlet macaws recovering from injuries
• some sloths that predictably moved veeeeery slooooooowly
• little baby monkeys, impossibly cute