Our guest blogger, Randy Gritz from Celebrations Costa Rica blogs about a new destination wedding trend. When Whitney & Daniel Pace got married at the Discovery Beach House they asked their guests to bring donations for Kids Saving the Rainforest.
I’m often asked about what should we give our guests as a favor to remember our wedding. I have a list that usually includes things like Costa Rican coffee, personalized mugs with a tropical animal as the handle and sarongs for the beach. These are great gifts but I want to focus on another trend by donating something meaningful to the community. A card is left at each guest’s place setting letting them know that in lieu of favors a donation to the community has been made.
You can make a difference in the lives of the people who live in the community where you’re having your wedding celebration. Let’s look at some possibilities. Evelyn Gallardo is the owner of Discovery Beach House in Manuel Antonio. She has been working with Pack for a Purpose. Her guests allocate space in their luggage to bring supplies to the local schools or nonprofit organizations.
Kids Saving the Rainforest was started by two young girls living in Manuel Antonio. These nine year olds were concerned about the impact that the disappearing rainforest was having on the animals. Initially their organization put up “monkey bridges” that spanned over the streets so the monkeys could cross safely. Their idea has grown and now there is a rescue center, sanctuary, and volunteer program.
ASEPALECO, founded in 1991, is a non-profit organization that promotes the protection and sustainable use of natural resources, whose ultimate goal is to improve socio-environmental quality of life through education, training and community organizations focusing on sustainable development projects.
Greentique Hotels have really stepped up and created various programs to represent sustainable practices. The Manuel Antonio Nature Park and Wildlife Refuge is an ongoing conservation project and nature exhibit. All proceeds remain with the operation of the refuge including the dormitory for the guides and student volunteers. The Santa Juana Rural Mountain Adventure and Conservation Projects focuses on reforestation and tree adoptions. Their tours help support many of the local families. At Villa Blanca the wedding couple and guests can adopt a tree or support school programs.
Kids Saving the Rainforest & Pack for a Purpose Partnership
David and I believe in giving back to our community. We’ve been conservationists and have been involved with primate projects for more than 30 years, which is why we’re extremely excited to partner up our Discovery Beach House with local organization Kids Saving the Rainforest (KSTR) and Pack for a Purpose.
What this means to you is that you now have the opportunity to help kids here in Manuel Antonio and Quepos make a difference in the quality of the lives of the local wildlife by donating items on the KSTR Wish List. You simply pack the item of your choice in your suitcase and bring it along with you. We’re happy to deliver the item for you. If you’d prefer to personally present your donation by making a site visit to the KSTR Wildlife Sanctuary – we can arrange it.
What a great way to introduce your family to the “Travel with a Purpose” concept. Your family will feel the joy of giving to a worthwhile local wildlife cause while you provide the opportunity to enrich your family’s vacation experience by empower contributing to the community you visit.
We’ve worked diligently over the last several years (since February 1999) to make a difference:
KSTR has purchased 4 acres of rainforest property where we built an animal rehabilitation center in which we care for and release injured and abandoned animals. We have saved and released over 30 animals so far!
KSTR has erected and maintains more than 120 monkey bridges that are used by monkeys and other animals so they don’t get hit by cars when crossing roads, nor electrocuted by using power lines.
KSTR has a reforestation program in which we have planted over 5000 trees to reforest and to create monkey corridors.
KSTR has a kid’s camp every Saturday where we teach local and visiting kids about the rainforest, its destruction, and then empower them to save it.
KSTR has Sister Schools and members all around the world, including countries such as India, Denmark, Viet Nam, England, Pakistan, France, Canada, USA, and Costa Rica.
KSTR has a Gift Shop where we sell artwork made by kids and local artisans. 100% of the profits go to saving the rainforest.
KSTR has a program within our community and in the National Park, where we teach the public about the importance of not feeding the monkeys.
KSTR has a public library, (the first in the area); with over 2000 books that people can borrow.
KSTR has published 3 children’s books that are being sold to the public.
There is need everywhere in the world. It can sometimes be difficult, however, to identify specific needs in places far from home. We believe people fortunate enough to travel to other countries often wish they could make meaningful contributions to help meet the needs of the places they visit. Such contributions are one way of expressing appreciation for the experiences and hospitality they enjoyed in other lands.
Our goal is to assist travelers who want to say thank you in this manner, or who simply want to expand their generosity beyond their own communities. The supply lists for destinations on our website are provided directly by the local community-based projects that will receive them, enabling travelers to make informed decisions and bring items which meet the needs of the people who will be using them.
After spending more than 20 years speaking to students at more than 500 schools worldwide about endangered primate and rainforest conservation (see related article) this feels like a perfect fit! If you agree, David and I invite you to help Kids Saving the Rainforest make a difference.