Mike Nolan (rainforest at mail.org)
Mon, 02 Mar 1998 18:51:14 -0500








The Rainforest Conservation Fund, Inc. (non-profit) has organized high
quality/low cost Rainforest and Marine Biology Workshops in Belize,
Costa Rica and Ecuador. Each is approximately two weeks in length and
hosted by highly respected non-profit organizations in each country.
During our Workshops you will spend most of your time in the field with
local guides and biologists studying rainforest ecology, wildlife,
biodiversity, medicinal uses of native plants, natural history,
rainforest conservation, land management, local cultures, archaeology,
geology and much more…. One week of our Belize Workshop is devoted to
Marine Biology and Reef Ecology. Accommodations range from comfortable
dormitories to simple cabins. During our Belize and Costa Rica Workshops
groups will camp for short periods. Food is plentiful and typical of
those found in Latin America, including chicken, rice, beans, soups,
fresh fruits and vegetables, cereals, eggs and bread. Meatless
alternatives are offered to vegetarians. Individual meals will be
provided on all field excursions. Your participation in these valuable
experiences helps support a variety of rainforest conservation projects
in Latin America. We suggest that schools add our Workshops to their
summer curriculum offerings, so that students get credit for attending.
Graduate credits in education are available to teachers for attending.
Our Workshops have been designed to create a better understanding of the
many complex issues surrounding the conservation of precious tropical
resources. You will return home enlightened and hopefully even more
committed to conservation, not only in the tropics, but in your part of
the world as well. In the following you will find brief descriptions of
our Rainforest and Marine Biology Workshops in Belize, Costa Rica and


LENGTH: 14 days/13 nights COST: $865.00

Our Belize Workshop is hosted by Possum Point Biological Station and
their experienced staff of biologists and guides. Located in a beautiful
jungle setting along the Sittee River, near the coast of central Belize,
the Biological Station consists of comfortable cottage-style housing, a
large dining hall and classroom. Possum Point offers easy access to
lowland tropical forests, a variety of rainforest communities, vast
coastal mangrove and lagoon environments. The area is teeming with
wildlife including parrots, toucans, howler monkeys, coatimundis,
anteaters, peccaries, jungle cats, numerous amphibian and reptile
species. Workshop participants arrive at Belize City's International
airport, followed by a short charter flight south to Dangriga, where
Possum Point staff will meet and transfer your group to the Biological
Station. Activities during the first week include guided trips to a
variety of riverine ecosystems in hopes of spotting iguanas, crocodiles
and boa constrictors; visits to local Creole and Garifuna communities,
where participants can interact with residents and learn about their
unique cultures, medicinal uses of local plants and sample some of
their ethnic food; travel to nearby Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary
and the world's only Jaguar Preserve, where the group will study
rainforest ecology and camp. Other planned activities include night
hikes to observe nocturnal animals; evening insect observation studies
using blacklights and guest speakers that will discuss a variety of
topics including Mayan archaeology, Belizean history, conservation vs.
economics in a developing country and conflicts between ecology and
Belize's citrus industry. During the second week, the focus will change
to Marine Biology as the group travels by skiff to Wee Wee Caye (WWC), a
small mangrove island located ten miles off the coast of Belize. WWC has
a Marine Lab equipped with running seawater tables used to study
collected specimens and accommodations similar to those at Possum Point.
The pristine waters around the island support a variety of marine
ecosystems-tide pools, turtlegrass beds, patch reefs, mangroves and
sand-cones fringed with huge sponges and gorgonians. Participants will
be taught how to snorkel and have daily opportunities to explore these
various habitats. The Barrier Reef, largest in the Western Hemisphere,
lies a short distance to the east and will also be investigated. The
variety of marine life found here is incredible-colorful sponges,
countless species of coral, tunicates, anemones, starfish, spectacular
fish and dolphins. On the last day of the Workshop your group will
return to Sittee River and travel, by bus, along the beautiful
Hummingbird Highway to Belize City. The trip back includes stops at
Inland Blue Hole National Park and the very unique Belize Zoo.


LENGTH: 12 days/11 nights COST: $845.00

Our Costa Rica Workshop begins with your arrival in San José and
transfer, by bus, to Las Juntas de Abangares. Here, your group will be
welcomed by the mayor of Abangares as Distinguished Guests of Costa
Rica. Workshop participants will study rainforest ecology, conservation,
land management and geology. Accommodations will be dormitory-style at
Las Juntas. Your group will visit the Quaker community of Monteverde and
surrounding Cloud Forest Reserve. Characterized by cool climate and lush
vegetation, Monteverde is home to three species of monkeys, sloths,
coatimundis, kinkajous, the spectacular resplendent quetzal, red-eyed
tree frogs, and blue morpho butterflies. Included in your visit to
Monteverde will be a tour of the Butterfly Garden, a local butterfly
breeding project, the Hummingbird Gallery and a presentation about the
adjacent International Children's Rainforest Reserve. There will be
numerous guided hikes in both Reserves. The group will also visit the
nearby village of Santa Elena to discuss conservation and reforestation
projects with members of the community. While in Costa Rica, the group
will travel to Arenal Volcano, the most active in the Western
Hemisphere. Here, you will be led on a special evening hike to observe
the volcano, where on clear nights, red-hot molten lava can be seen as
it shoots hundreds of feet into the sky. This will be followed by
camping near Lake Arenal. The group will then travel to Palo Verde
National Park, located along the Tempisque River. Palo Verde is made up
of a variety of wetland habitats and tropical dry forest. It is known
for having one of the largest concentrations of waterfowl and shorebirds
in Central America, including the jabiru stork. Your visit to Palo Verde
will include a boat trip down the Tempisque to observe crocodiles, large
iguanas, howler monkeys and a wide variety of birds. This will be
followed by travel to Santa Rosa National Park, located in northwestern
Costa Rica. Santa Rosa protects the largest remaining stand of tropical
dry forest in Central America and coastal nesting sites of the
endangered Pacific olive Ridley's sea turtle. Other planned activities
during the Workshop include a guided tour of a coffee plantation; travel
to a nearby cattle and dairy ranch, followed by an afternoon of
horseback riding; a tour of the Abangares Gold Mines, where
"coligalleros" extract gold for making jewelry; mist netting of bats; a
guided night hike in the rainforest and evening presentations on a
variety of topics including the medicinal uses of rainforest plants;
sustainable uses of rainforests; reforestation projects and Costa
Rican/Central American history.


LENGTH: 14 days/13 nights COST: option 1-$850.00/option 2-$1000.00*

Our Ecuador Workshop takes place at Jatun Sacha Biological Station,
which is located along the Napo River. The first two days will be spent
in Quito visiting the National Herbarium and Vivarium, where rainforest
plants are identified and stored. Here, talks will be given on the
history and geology of Ecuador and the Jatun Sacha Foundation's
conservation efforts. This will be followed with a spectacular eight
hour bus ride to the Biological Station. Your route will take you up and
across the continental divide of the Andes, at an elevation of 13,000
feet, and then down into the upper Amazon basin. Several stops will be
made along the way to experience and discuss the numerous life zones,
including alpine and cloud forest ecosystems. At Jatun Sacha
participants will study insects, amphibians, reptiles and birds, along
with many plant species, including epiphytes, bromeliads and orchids.
The region in and around Jatun Sacha is considered by many as the most
biologically diverse in the world as 520 bird species, 750 different
kinds of butterflies and more than 100 species of orchids have been
observed. Your group will also learn about rainforest ecology; take part
in a reforestation project; have a "solo" experience in the rainforest
and learn about the medicinal uses of rainforest plants from a local
Shaman. The latter will include a visit to the Shaman's home and
nursery, where many of these herbal remedies are grown. A highlight in
Ecuador will be your hike to the local Quichua Indian Village of
Capirona. Here, participants will live for two days and observe how the
Quichua live in harmony with the rainforest. Indian guides, using
interpreters, will explain how they hunt, fish and garden. Your stay
will include evening story telling, listening to Indian music made with
primitive instruments and sampling local food. There will also be an
opportunity to make pottery and take part in a blow-gun demonstration.
Participants will return to Jatun Sacha by dugout canoe. At the end of
the Workshop your group will return to Quito along a different route,
farther to the south, and travel through the famous "avenue of the
volcanoes". Here spectacular canyon scenery, waterfalls and rivers will
be seen, along with stops at several villages to acquaint participants
with Indian life in the highlands of Ecuador.

*Both Workshops are the same in content. Groups choosing Option 1 will
stay at Jatun Sacha Biological Station, where accommodations consist of
rustic cabins, new cafeteria/classroom and a small library. Option 2
participants will stay at Cabañas Aliñaui, located a short distance from
the Biological Station, where accommodations include cabins, each with
a private bath. Meals are served in a small dining room, with the entire
Aliñaui complex situated on a bluff overlooking the Río Napo.



Number Workshops by order of preference with #1 being your first choice.
Spaces are filled on a first-come first-serve basis. Please be aware
that Workshops are popular and may fill quickly. It is recommended that
you register as early as possible.

BELIZE: 14 D/13 N JUN 15-28_____ JUL 10-23**_____ AUG 1-14_____

COSTA RICA: 12 D/11 N JUN 17-28_____ JUL 15-26**_____ AUG 3-14_____

ECUADOR-1: 14 D/13 N JUN 15-28_____ JUL 15-28**_____ AUG 2-15_____

ECUADOR-2: 14 D/13N JUN 15-28_____ JUL 15-28**_____ AUG 2-15_____

· Workshop costs INCLUDE all food, lodging, transportation within host
country, guides and instruction.
· Workshop costs DO NOT INCLUDE international airfare. The Rainforest
Conservation Fund has worked closely with the airlines to offer airfares
at discounted rates. Costs will vary depending on your point of origin.
· It is highly recommended that each participant be covered by
COMPREHENSIVE TRAVEL INSURANCE, which covers not only medical conditions
that may arise, but also trip cancellation, delay, damage, loss or theft
of baggage, etc. Insurance can be purchased at a very reasonable rates
through the Rainforest Conservation Fund.
· All groups must be accompanied by a responsible adult at least 21
years of age.
· COMPLETED REGISTRATION FORM and $100.00 DEPOSIT due: April 15, 1998
(checks should made out to the Rainforest Conservation Fund, Inc.)
· REMAINING BALANCE due: June 15, 1998


Rainforest Conservation Fund, Inc. 501 (c)(3) non-profit
29 Prospect NE Suite #8
Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503 USA
Phone: (616) 776-5928/Fax: (616) 776-5931
E-mail: rainforest at mail.org