Title

Maderas Rainforest Conservancy: A One Health approach to conservation

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-1-2021

Abstract

Maderas Rainforest Conservancy (MRC) was incorporated as a conservation nonprofit organization in 2008, and manages two sites where biological field courses have been offered since the 1990s: La Suerte Biological Research Station in Costa Rica, and Ometepe Biological Research Station in Nicaragua. MRC employs a One Health approach to conservation education, and can serve as a model for other biological field sites. The Nicaraguan Molina family, who owns the sites, partnered with primatologist Paul Garber in 1994 to develop a primate field course aimed at introducing university students to field research. Through using their land to further conservation education and research, the Molina family has preserved the forest and engaged the local communities near their sites. Eight graduate theses and 46 refereed publications have been completed since 2010 based on research undertaken at MRC sites. While primate field courses have been offered at least once annually since 1994 and remain popular, a range of other ecological courses are now additionally offered. MRC operates from a One Health perspective, engaging in forest restoration and ecological monitoring projects, and has gradually expanded community outreach initiatives. MRC now conducts regular medical and veterinary missions in the communities surrounding the research stations which provide health care to local people and limit the population growth of domestic animals, thereby increasing the survival of wild animals. MRC is also active in ESL-teaching and conservation education, and funds Proyecto Jade, which empowers local women to make and sell organic jewelry. Through these programs, MRC works to help the local communities live more sustainably with the environment around them. MRC's support of research, commitment to education, medical and veterinary missions, and outreach initiatives to the local community all work together for the well-being of both the people and the environment, thus exemplifying the One Health perspective.

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