Environmental Education: Experiencing the Bosque Eterno de los Niños

Programs for this blog post

Women for Environmental Action

Authored By:

Delaney O'Brien

The Bosque Eterno de los Niños, or “BEN” for short, is a Costa Rican nonprofit conservation organization protecting 23,000 hectares of rainforest. Also known as the Children’s Eternal Rainforest, their mission is “to preserve and rehabilitate tropical ecosystems and their biodiversity.”  Today, Climate Change Mitigation students took a field trip to “BEN” to learn about the rainforest and see it in action. 

By the 1980s, much of Costa Rica’s rainforest had been shifted to use for agriculture. This shift threatened the overall health of the ecosystems around the entire country. Biologists and scientists from Monteverde and Canada began to campaign to purchase land and begin the restoration process. In 1987, a U.S. biologist, Sharon Kinsman, traveled to Sweden to talk about the rainforests and their disappearance. School children in Sweden were so moved by the story that they wanted to do something, so they did. Students began selling baked goods and putting on concerts, ultimately raising enough money to buy six hectares of land. The first land purchase sparked organizations around the world to raise money and purchase and donate land to the Bosque Eterno de los Niños. Now, the Bosque Eterno de los Niños protects 23,000 hectares over 200 properties within three provinces. There have been over 1.6 million trees planted in and around the Bosque Eterno de los Niños, bringing back native species of plants and animals. These conservation and restoration efforts continue to positively impact the entire country of Costa Rica, from being a huge carbon sink to providing water to five different watersheds. 

Today, the students were taken by a local guide through the Bosque Eterno de los Niños where we learned about a variety of plant and animal species. Students went on a one hour long tour, walking along trails of the BEN. We were even able to see the rare Bell Bird, who specifically mate in the Monteverde area. The Bell Bird is a migratory bird that is only seen here a few months of the year. We saw monkeys, glass butterflies, strangler figs, and much more. The students were all so excited to ask our guide questions and see as much as they could. 

Not only did the students get to learn about and experience the Bosque Eterno de los Niños, but they were left to reflect on the story of this reserve. The children who raised the first funds for the Bosque Eterno de los Niños could only imagine it would grow to what it is today. This truly shows if everyone cares a little bit, we can accomplish a lot. 

If you are interested in learning more about the Bosque Eterno de los Niños, follow them on instagram at @childrensenternalrainforest!