Some called it “a trip of a lifetime,” others “transformative.”  All of the ten volunteers who ventured across the Osa peninsula were greatly affected by the beauty of the Costa Rica landscape, the boundless hospitality of our hosts, the amazing diversity found in every inch of the rain forests and the incredible impact of Osa Birds!

From March-April 2023, I had the opportunity to lead a group of ten volunteers to work on trails, see birds and experience Tico generosity in Rancho Quemado.  None of it couldn’t have happened without Karen Leavelle and Osa Birds or Yolanda Rodriguez and the ladies of Vivero Quira.

I am a lifetime avid birder and have been called by the Costa Rican birds – many of which summer in my home in Northern Wisconsin.  After discovering in 2015 that nearly 10% of global bird species are found on the Osa peninsula, I made a personal goal to help protect this precious habit.  My second trip to Costa Rica in 2017 help paved the way to achieving this goal when I was introduced to Karen Leavelle of Osa Birds.   Over several years of correspondence, Karen helped me build relationship across the peninsula and create this volunteer trip – which brought a group of environmental specialists from across Northern Wisconsin to share their gifts with the conservation efforts on the Osa peninsula.

Our first stop was Rancho Quemado, just east of Drake Bay.  The group was particularly excited to work in support of Osa Birds, whose projects have enhanced the birds, the rainforest, and the communities around the peninsula. We visited first-hand the incredible commitment of the people in Rancho Quemado, turning once-hunting communities into growing eco-tourism communities. Their ongoing work to restore the rainforest – plants, birds, and other animals and all the interrelated elements – has created a healthy ecosystem there.

Our group was able to contribute to their fantastic work, drawing on several of our volunteers with extensive trail-building experience in United States national trail systems.  We helped re-route and install a long bridge for a section of their Sendero Osa trail.  Working with skilled and committed local community volunteers, we were able to create a trail through the rainforest that will be increasingly enjoyed in the coming years by visitors.

Yolanda Rodriguez served as main contact, host, and tour-guide in Rancho Quemado. One cool morning, she graciously led us on hike through the rainforest.  With her superb in her bird and wildlife tracking and identification skills, we saw many species, including Gray-headed Kite, Bright-rumped Attila, collared peccaries, Spider Monkeys, and chestnut-sided warblers (which are up here in our yards now on northern Wisconsin – all found on the trails surrounding their community.  Yolanda has worked for years on their Biological Monitoring team organized in 2015 with the support of Osa Birds, which has enabled her (and others on the team) to grow in her knowledge and understanding of the rainforest.  Her resulting appreciation and passion were easily passed onto us.

We were able to spend two glorious weeks on the Osa Peninsula. We deeply enjoyed the time in Rancho Quemado. The entire trip made possible by Karen’s connections and coordination along the way – thank you Karen and thank you Osa Birds. You are very welcome Ted!