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Monica Myers conservation efforts making impact in Costa Rica

Photos courtesy: Melissa Espinoza (Communications Department, ACG, Costa Rica).

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Monica Myers' (MA '16) passion for conservation and education is helping to bring about great sustainability efforts with her integral involvement in the implementation of a new conservation initiative in Sector Santa Rosa, Costa Rica.

Monica Myers currently works as the field manager of a long-term primate monitoring project in Sector Santa Rosa, Área de Conservación Guanacaste (ACG), Costa Rica, called “Behavioral Ecology, Social Dynamics and Population Recovery of Neotropical Primates.” This project is a collaborative effort between the University of Calgary, Canada and Tulane University, USA that has been running since the 1980s and is headed by Dr. Linda Fedigan, Dr. Katharine Jack and Dr. Amanda Melin.

Sector Santa Rosa is a national park that combines conservation with sustainable land use practises and is located within a larger network of protected wildlife areas. This management program integrates research, public education and ecotourism to protect sensitive ecosystems within the province of Guanacaste, Costa Rica. Ecotourism in Santa Rosa has increased significantly over the years and although this is economically positive for the country, aspects have negatively affected both the primate study population as well as other wildlife species that reside within the park. Animals have become garbage foragers and changed their natural behaviours due to the amount of waste that is improperly disposed of in the public use areas of the National Park. As a solution, members of the ACG have rallied together and created a campaign called “Quiero Dejar un Huella Verde,” which loosely translates into “Leave it Green.” The team is composed of the Administration, Biological Education, Communication, Ecotourism, Restoration and Forestry, Sectors and Research Departments.

The mission is to reduce the ecological footprint of tourists through public education and outreach, infrastructure development, impact assessment and the introduction of a waste management plan that includes a recycling program to create a system for sustainable ecotourism in protected wildlife areas within the ACG and its surrounding communities. They give away locally manufactured souvenirs (t-shirts, bumper stickers and reusable water bottles) in return for public donations to generate revenue for this initiative and all members of the team have selflessly contributed their time as unpaid volunteers. Together, they teach and promote positive behaviours because everyone’s “actions count towards maintaining a healthy environment!”

To read more about the program visit the website: