In the process of planning their family vacation, high school Junior Tiga and college student Chelsea’s love for animals and nature filled them with a desire to volunteer and educate themselves in their areas of interests. They googled “sloth sanctuary in Quepos, Costa Rica” and found Kids Saving the Rainforest. They emailed them and found out about their unique volunteer program and signed up!
The first day of their vacation was spent immersed in the rainforest, up close and personally helping protect and rehabilitate wild animals.
They reported that Kids Saving the Rainforest is a really well run place – very well organized, clean, well presented. Their guide Mackenzie was so friendly and educated them about the animals really well how to help with conservation efforts. He gave them each specific duties- such as feeding and cleaning animal habitats. These roles gave a sense of purpose and meaning to their time. Preparing food and sweeping up compost may seem menial to some young people, but to these, it was a joy!
They learned the ins and outs of the how and why of conservation efforts, such as the dangers of touching wild animals, how to tell the difference between male and female sloths, and what to do in different situations when they encounter them in the wild.
They loved meeting and learning about new animals like Aguttee, Coatis, Marmosets, Curassow, the different monkeys, and Scarlet Macaws.They found it especially helpful before going into the Manuel Antonio National Park.
“Kids saving the rainforest’ twisted together both engaging with local Costa Rica wildlife and learning about their habitats and the surrounding environment. We were immersed into a program focused on sustainability and animal well being, two proponents that I try to mirror in my own life and every sanctuary should as well. I learned so much valuable information on new animal behavior and volunteering- it was such a cool experience!” – Chelsea, Environmental Studies at Dartmouth College
The animals all have interesting rescue stories. Electrocution and being abandoned by mothers are some of the most common.
They care for each animal with the help of trained professional vets and staff. They help train each rescue to go back into the wild. They have a “baby boot camp” especially for young animals.
Overall this family from Colorado experienced a whole different culture and their perspective on nature and how to preserve and protect it has expanded. It got them starting to think about potential interests of further study and potential jobs in wildlife and conservation science.
Kids Saving the Rainforest Internship is a non-profit organization. They have volunteer opportunities and an internship program. If you are interested in we are happy to help connect you.