Let’s get closer!

 

  Each phase of the essential process that guides INBio’s action is of vital importance. However, it is during the third phase – the transfer of knowledge – that society is brought into direct contact with the information generated and processed through the institution’s five programs.
   
  Nature publications
   

 

 

One of the ways in which INBio transfers biodiversity knowledge to society is through the publication of books and other educational materials, most of which are available in Spanish-English editions. Editorial INBio is nourished by the work of its own researchers and educators as well as those of other scientific organizations. In 2001, it published the following books and educational materials:

• Un naturalista en Costa Rica, by Alexander F. Skutch.

• Guabas y cuajiniquiles de Costa Rica, by Nelson Zamora and Terence D. Pennington.

• Bosques nublados del neotropico, by Maarten Kappelle and Alejandro D. Brown (editors).

• Arboles comunes del Parque Nacional Palo Verde, by Ulises Chavarria, Jose Gonzalez and Nelson Zamora. • Plantas ornamentales nativas de Costa Rica (2nd edition), by Barry Hammel.

• Fabulas del bosque tropical (2Ľ edition), by Sonia Rojas.

• Map of the protected wildlands and Conservation Areas of Costa Rica, of SINAC/MINAE.

• Bio fact sheets, collection of 30 information sheets on Costa Rica’s biodiversity.

In October of 2001, Editorial INBio launched its virtual bookstore in order to sell its publications via e-commerce. This actions reflects the Institute’s interest in providing the international community with access to the discoveries made by INBio in its 12 years of life.

In addition, Editorial INBio participated in the production of various other informative documents and articles that fall within the promotional sphere.

   
  Support to ecotourism
   
 

INBio decided to launch a new initiative aimed at supporting the development of ecological tourism or ecotourism, as a sustainable activity that promotes biodiversity conservation.

This process brings together an interdisciplinary team with the knowledge, experience and capacity needed to respond to the growing demand for advisory services in this field.

During 2001, a study on Biodiversity and Tourism in Costa Rica, carried out jointly by INBio, the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT) and SINAC, was completed andEnvironment Program (UNEP), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Global Environment Fund-Biodiversity Planning Service Program of UNDP (GEF-BPSP).

Another project implemented that year was the creation of a website to promote the ecotourism services offered by the communities of the Savegre River Basin, in the Central Pacific Conservation Area.

   
  Audiovisual initiatives
   
 

Prompted by a desire to inform society about the great wealth of Costa Rica’s biodiversity, INBio has produced several special programs in audiovisual format, including the following:

• Production of a promotional video on INBioparque for the tourism sector.
• Support for the production of a promotional video for the program “Adopt a school”, directed at companies.
• Conceptualization of a documentary for the new Marine Park at Puntarenas.

The following material was also incorporated into INBio’s collection of photographs and videos:

• 400 photographs of butterflies
• 100 photographs of Hitoy-Cerere
• 50 photographs of INBioparque.
• 48 photographs for the Bio-dictionary
• 20 photographs for Editorial INBio

Other important achievements this year include the publication of 717 UBIs, progress in setting up the institution’s intranet and the completion of bilingual versions of hypertext documents on the tropical rainforest and the tropical cloud forest.

   
  Publications
   

Screen to view electronic publications.

INBio, as an organization that generates information and is responsible for its processing and transfer to society, uses a variety of mechanisms to disseminate the results of its efforts. During 2001, four field guides and 13 scientific articles were published.

In addition, work continued on another 27 articles; five more articles were completed and eight were sent to the editorial boards of different scientific publications. INBio is also in the process of preparing 15 field guides and three other are currently being revised at Editorial INBio.

In addition to maintaining and updating the INBio database on the Internet (http://www. inbio.ac.cr), this year five electronic publications were produced and six others are currently being prepared, together with 1,407 additional UBIs.

   
  Beyond the classroom
   
 

Children, young people and adults, students, tourists, scientists –everyone– has an opportunity to enrich their knowledge on biodiversity, through the different programs developed by INBio with the aim of sharing the information collected and processed over the years. Clear examples of this are the following processes:

   
  Biodiversity Education Program (ProEBi)
   
 

This program contributes to the bioliteracy process of students, teachers, the personnel of the Conservation Areas, non-governmental organizations, organized groups, the tourism sector and the general public.

Using informal, practical and interactive educational activities, ProEBi works to ensure that these audiences become aware and informed about the value of biodiversity resources.

ProEBi’s efforts are directed at pre-school, primary and high school students, for whom a series of activities were organized during 2001, including:

• Implementation of 152 workshops, in which 3,707 children and young people participated. The topics studied included:

- The country where I live.
- Knowing our biodiversity.
- Detectives of Nature.
- Bio-explorers: discovering natural treasures.
- Parataxonomists for a day.
- Forests are important to everyone.
- I conserve my environment.
- An adventure in the lagoon.

• Organization of eight workshops during school vacations, attended by 80 children.

• Conclusion of the information activity “Biodiversity Fact Sheets”. These fact sheets were published weekly in the daily newspaper La Nación during this year. The knowledge obtained from the information published in the newspaper was evaluated through a series of games. Eighty boys and girls from the Rubén Darío and Rafael Vargas Quirós school participated very actively in this closing activity, which received support from La Nación newspaper and the Dos Pinos Milk Producers’ Cooperative.

Bearing in mind that the educators are just as important as the students, specific activities were carried out with school teachers:

• “Acacia, natural allies”: this program organized 172 workshops in which 1,072 teachers participated. The idea is to enable teachers to complement their lessons with visits to INBioparque.

• Workshop “Evaluation of an attainable challenge in Environmental Education”, with the participation of 19 teachers of Ibero-America.

• Workshop “I teach, I learn and I play with biodiversity”, in which 30 Costa Rican school teachers participated.

• 284 surveys on values and beliefs related to the environment carried out with teachers and students who visited INBioparque, in order to better understand their interests and needs.

• Six bio-literacy courses for nature guides and the general public.

 
   
  Education and information products
   

Educational books and games for children.

In 2001, ProEBi achieved significant progress in the development of new education and information products:

• 3 three-dimensional maps of biodiversity in Costa Rica, for use in workshops with children.

• Ten sheets on biodiversity and protected wildlands.

• Information bulletin – both in electronic and printed formats – on the Tierra Limpia (Clean Earth) Program for INBio staff.

• Manual for teachers –this book is under preparation

• Faces of Nature: ten guides for teachers on educational activities related to biodiversity, for use with students.

• Bio-cards, five games in one on biodiversity.

• Traveling exhibition on biodiversity. The main feature of this exhibit is that interactive. The idea is to reach community groups and environmentalists throughout the country.

• Instrument for the evaluation of pre-school workshops, a work tool to assess their impact.

• Information bulletins for the coffee-growing sector.

• Second edition of the coloring book (Fabulas del Bosque Tropical (Tales of the Tropical Forest). • Collection of Biodiversity Fact Sheets, 30 information sheets on Costa Rica’s biodiversity.

 
   
  Program of international courses and workshops
   
 

This program operates hand in hand with other departments of INBio and contributes to the design of a set of training and advisory services, whose purpose is to share the experience accumulated by INBio and by Costa Rica.

The program of courses and workshops is aimed at international audiences, and seeks to respond to the growing demand for information and “know-how” in the areas of conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, through the sale of services.

One of the main priorities of the international courses is the audience of the Mesoamerican region. The activities implemented in this program were:

• Two international courses on capitalization and sustainability of natural assets and their environmental services, offered in alliance with the Institute of Policies for Sustainability (IPS), with the participation of 43 people from all over the continent.

• As follow-up of these alliances, two special workshops on bioprospecting were held in Jamaica and several lectures were organized in Barbados.

• Two internships were offered in the areas of coleoptera and fungi, with the participation of a Central American representative of an institution responsible for biological collections.

• With the support of the Government of Norway, 22 participants from eight countries attended a meeting to discuss the participation of civil society civil in conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.

• Packages containing educational materials and publications were distributed to 74 libraries or document centers of different institutions in the countries of the isthmus.

 
   
  Personnel development
   
 

During 2001, INBio’s efforts also focused on developing the skills and aptitudes of its staff to ensure the success of the joint efforts undertaken by INBio and SINAC. With this objective in mind, the following activities were implemented:

• Training for 286 SINAC employees, through 17 courses on conservation biology, environmental education, wetlands, administration of protected wildlands, ecology, flora and specialized lectures.

• Organization of seven activities to exchange experiences in conservation for professionals of SINAC and community leaders.

• Participation of SINAC officials in two international meetings: an agricultural extension seminar in Costa Rica and a meeting on conservation in the United States.

   
  INBioparque
   
 

DesSince its inauguration in February 2000, INBioparque has become consolidated as an educational and recreational facility, where visitors can learn about the vast world of Costa Rica’s biodiversity and its protected wildlands.

In the course of this year, INBioparque received 50,024 visitors, who had the option of touring the facilities accompanied by a guide or using the auto-guide leaflet. This number of visitors includes students of all levels, international tourists, organized groups and families.

INBioparque was also the venue for other types of activities. It hosted the First Health Fair, a crafts fair and the Third National Bonsai Exhibition.

In an effort to diversify its exhibitions and activities, INBioparque inaugurated an aquarium in the lagoon, as well as a butterfly farm and an orchid station.

Throughout the year, the ECODIRECTA company sponsored a special area dedicated to forest species of commercial importance.

A number of friendly companies also contributed significantly to the success of INBioparque’s activities, including Continental, Amanco, Tostadora La Meseta, Sunny Land Tours, Melia Corobici, Merck Sharp & Dohme, Motores Británicos, Costa Rica Temptations, Fundación Sacro, Dos Pinos and Canal 7. INBioparque also received valuable support from the public sector, through the Costa Rican Tourism Institute, the National University and the Ministry of the Environment and Energy.

In order to support the marketing and sale of INBioparque’s products and services, the following activities were implemented:

• Design of a marketing plan at national and international level.

• Participation in national and international tourism fairs: Fitur Madrid, Spain; ITB Berlin, Germany; World Travel Mart London, England and EXPOTUR in San Jose.

• A promotional video about INBioparque for distribution among wholesale tourism firms, tour operators and embassies and to show at fairs.

• Inclusion of INBioparque in the combined “Big Five” package, which offers visitors a tour of five tourist attractions in two days and one night.

   
  Otus Document Center
 

 

Students visiting the Otus Document Center.

Otus offers specialized information services to anyone interested in biodiversity, conservation and sustainable uses.

Otus also deals with general inquiries from the public on the subject of biodiversity. The main activities undertaken in 2001 were as follows:

• Expansion of the center’s capacity to respond to inquiries from the general public, with the incorporation of 1,200 documents in different formats in the database of bibliographical references.

• Responded to 10,276 requests for information: 4,680 personal inquiries, 2,496 by e-mail and 3,100 by telephone. In many cases, Otus redirects the inquiry to another department of INBio to receive appropriate attention.

• Initiated a feasibility study for the digitalization of services.

• In order to promote links with academic institutions in other countries, two consignments of INBio books and other educational products were sent out to 10 libraries and document centers in Spain during the year.

   
  The communities and staff of the Conservation Areas
   
 

SINAC is of crucial importance to INBio’s work because of the strategic role that this governmental institution plays in the conservation of biodiversity resources, as well as the roots it has established in many communities around the country. Although only a few educational activities have been implemented in alliance with SINAC, this will be an area of great importance for future development. Among the most important activities implemented were the following:

• Training for five environmental educators of ACOPAC. • “Learning about the Biodiversity Education Program” (ProEBi), for environmental educators of OSA. • Design and installation of 195 signs for information and interpretation purposes in Barbilla National Park and other areas of ACLA-C. • Three exhibitions on environmental education in ACLA-C, ACLA-P and ACOSA. • Two technical workshops on wildlife management. • Publication of articles in two local magazines of La Amistad-Caribe Conservation Area.

• Publication of seven manuals for interpretation of trails in the protected areas of Cabo Blanco, Barbilla, Limoncito, Palo Verde, Humedal Terraba-Sierpe, Corcovado National Park and Volcan Arenal National Park.

• The preparation of the Second Country Report for the Convention on Biological Diversity on the implementation of this agreement. This activity was carried out jointly with the Projects Unit of SINAC.

• Publication of the information leaflet “Questions and Answers on the National Biodiversity Strategy”.

   
  Sustainability for growth
   
 

One of the most important goals for INBio in the next five years is to achieve sustainability. To meet this great challenge, the General Coordination Group, with the support of the Institutional Communication Group and external consultants, undertook several strategic planning efforts in 2001, including:

• Analysis of the institution’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT).

• INBio in 2006 (Reflection on the future of INBio in the following areas of action: bio-literacy, bio-informatics, bioprospecting, conservation, ecotourism, generation and processing of information on biodiversity, sale of “know-how”).

• Presentation of the document “Perspectives and Funding Requirements for the Period 2002-2004”, to the Government of Holland, for its consideration of a new phase of cooperation.

• Discussion session to identify key factors of success to achieve institutional sustainability.

   
  In the communities
   
 

The sustainable use of biodiversity undoubtedly offers a way of generating income for communities involved in these types of projects. In 2001 two specific projects were implemented to achieve this objective:

• Co-management project between ACLA-P and the community of Biolley in the area of Valle del Silencio, La Amistad International Park.

• Community ecotourism project Bajo La Paz, San Ramon Reserve.

   
  Generating institutional resources
   

Visitors in one of INBioparque’s interactive exhibit halls

The sale of services, consultancies for national companies and finding new users for INBio’s services are tools to that enable the Institute to generate income and place at the service of society the experience acquired to date. Some examples are:

• Cerveceria Costa Rica: chemical and microbiological analysis of raw materials and manufactured products.

• Argues Ltd.: Qualitative analysis of plant extracts through thin layer chromatography and gas chromatography (chemical prospecting).

• Laboratorios LISAN: Validation of a methodology for chemical analysis of a plant of commercial interest (chemical prospecting).

   
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