OTS co-organizes meeting to position the Barbilla – Nairi Awari zone as a visitor destination in Costa Rica

Complex times of planetary crisis call us to develop alliances based on cooperation and interdisciplinarity to promote healthy lifestyles among people and with our environment at the territorial level. Therefore, together with the Mar a Mar Association and with the support of different local organizations in the area of Barbilla, Brisas de Pacuarito and Nairi Awari Indigenous Territory, OTS co-organized the first Conference on Biodiversity and Environmental Education Barbilla Nairi Awari, in the Barbilla National Park in Siquirres de Limón, Costa Rica.

Barbilla is an area of high biological and cultural diversity, geographically located within the Talamanca mountain range, where community, state, and regional conservation efforts are being developed. This event represented for the communities an opportunity for reflection, training, and joint work through existing local initiatives and the channeling of new opportunities to position Barbilla as a destination for biological and biocultural diversity and environmental education. 

The event took place on October 27, 28, and 29, 2023, and it was attended by about 150 people. Among those present were local communities with the participation of public entities, farmers, NGOs, and organizations such as SINAC, UNED Siquirres, Refugio Lapa Verde, UCR, CONARE’s Sub-commission of Indigenous Peoples, Monteverde Community Fund, Costa Rica Wildlife, etc. 

During the three days, we enjoyed presentations, discussions, the exchange of experiences, a craftmanship fair, traditional dances, activities for children, and a visualization exercise. These efforts provided tools to the population on green initiatives, research, human-wildlife coexistence, environmental education, ecotourism, co-management of biological and cultural diversity, as well as challenges, experiences, and lessons learned by the Bribri, Cabecar, Maleku and Boruca indigenous populations in ethno-tourism. On the last day, an intersectoral work team was formed to follow up on inputs gathered at the conference with the support of the Mar a Mar Association for the creation of a destination for biodiversity, cultural diversity, research, and environmental education. 

We invite you to get to know your countries better and to value your people, traditions, and nature; to get out of your circle, to visit and learn from the communities in a respectful and responsible way; to make a different kind of tourism, more conscious, in which your visit contributes to initiatives, community projects, and sustainable local development. If you are a researcher, we encourage you to involve local people in the process, do participatory and open science that responds to needs and has a subsequent impact; support socio-environmental causes; and recommend these sites to more people in your social media. 

Photos: Mauricio Páez Huertas, Melissa Arce Cerdas, Alfredo León Arias, Socny Francis Hernández and Sede Universitaria UNED Siquirres

USAID-ASHA - La Selva Research Station
OET coorganiza encuentro para posicionar zona Barbilla – Nairi Awari como destino de visitación en Costa Rica