Posted by Diana Vachon on Oct 02, 2019
President Keith thanks GDFCF Executive Director Eric Palola and Development Advisor Monique Gilbert for their presentation about GDFCF's efforts to conserve the tropical biodiversity of Costa Rica.

Speakers: Guanacaste Dry Forest Conservation Fund (GDFCF) Executive Director Eric Palola and Development Advisor Monique Gilbert talk about their efforts to conserve the tropical biodiversity of Costa Rica.

Costa Rica’s climate is similar to here in VT and is about the same size as W. Virginia.

Costa Rica has the same biodiversity as North America. And Costa Rica has 4 major ecosystems: Marine, Dry forest, Cloud Forest, and Rain Forest.

A few of the problems was face are the tropical wild lands are largely unknown by society even if they are protected and we cannot adequately protect, manage, use, understand, or love, a place we do not know. Parts of Costa Rica have been protected since 1971 and the area has grown organically over time from 15,000 hectors to 169,000 Hectors. 420,000 acres. This is roughly the size of Chittenden county and ½ of Grand Isle. Costa Rica is a Tropical Dry Forest, which is bone dry in our winter and spring and lush in our summer and fall months.  In the 1500s, the Spanish came and ranch and raise livestock. It was cleared for cattle. And they brought in a non-native grass. Today it’s a restoring forest.  There are three volcanoes in Costa Rica, which makes it a cloud forest.

The biodiversity survival mission or bio-development is a method for conservation of a complex tropical wild land.  They have public and private co-management with the federal government and non-profit organizations. Working on building an intensive species-inventorying program since 1978. And they are deeply networked with international scientific institutions.

They integrate with society through the development of tropical real estate in a sense, and education, etc.  500,00 species are real clients, from insects to whales.

They recommend the book “Last Child in the Woods” by Richard Louv. He talks about the research done to show the importance of nature for the healthy development of children.

GDFCF believe that if they make it big enough and get along with normal society, it will with stand the interactions and climate change.

Employees called Parataxonomists are building a DNA barcode library. They are training to do collection and identification of invasive species, collect data, and prepare specimens for preservation. Working with the University of Ontario in molecular identification to build the International barcode of life database. 

Some interesting facts, humans are only 8% different in DNA than chimpanzees. Butterflies look so similar but they eat different plants, different parasites, and live at different elevations 100m and 500m. When on educational visits to the parks, the staff and children wear snake chaps on their shins to protect themselves from vipers of all sizes. Nonprofit organization passes funds by fixing buildings, paying salaries for educational teachers and communications.

Car raffle is on Friday 10/11. All tickets are sold. 

Friday 9/28 is Light the Night Walk: John, Keith, Linda, Charlie, Bob all attended and said it was really terrific. 

We have 2 more farmers markets and then Tod Whitaker passes the managing torch to Sophie.

Charlotte Tractor Parade is on 10/13. We are parking cars: John H., Charlie, Roz, Keith, Jon L., and Linda, maybe Bob Root have signed up.

There is a race on 10/12 at Shelburne Farms on 11/3. We are handing out water near the Arbors and Depot Road. Please meet at the Shelburne Athletic Center. We need 5 volunteers for the big race.

Trafton announced the one-year anniversary of losing Alan Bates. We shared a moment of silence. We love you Alan. 

Happy fines. And it’s another roll over.

10/9  -Don Chattfield from All Souls Interfaith Gathering will be our speaker.

The Board will meet on 10/22 not the 17th.

Margo gave her two minutes on why she joined Rotary.  – Linda Barker and she worked together at the bank.  And Margo met Linda Gilbert. After Margo left the bank, she still wanted to still be connected to the community. So she joined Rotary. Being a Rotarian and married to a Hinesburg police officer, she feels part of the positive aspects of society and likes giving back to our community. Margo tagged Diana to speak next week.  

Sunday 11/3 at 4;30 at Zen Center is the hunger banquet. $35 per person plus bring a food shelf donation.

Meeting adjourned.  See you all next week!

Respectfully submitted by Diana Vachon Secretary

Read more about the Guanacaste Dry Forest at