ABOUT R.A.I.N.


We are a non-profit whose goal is to help save and restore tropical rainforest while improving rural peoples’ livelihoods.

Purpose


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R.A.I.N. is a publicly-supported charitable organization under section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. Donations are fully tax deductible.  R.A.I.N. seeks practical inexpensive methods based on solid science to address the related problems of deforestation, soil erosion, lost wildlife, lost rural livelihoods and poverty in the New World Tropics.

Our goal is both ecological and economic.  By slowing erosion and restoring natural ecological processes to land suffering from overuse and unsustainable farming methods, farmers can restore their own agricultural livelihoods. 

 

R.A.I.N. and the program it supports are unusual in the following ways:

  • our philosophy combines ecology and economics, seeking to restore nature but also human well-being,
  • funding comes from individuals,
  • it is a grassroots effort,
  • more than 95% of the funds go directly to the research and associated projects.

For more about the nuts and bolts of the non-profit, including how to receive the tax ID for RAIN, see below in the section for the Executive Director, Nancy Adrian.

Research


Inga, a "bean tree" (legume) with long seed pods containing dozens of seeds.  This tree can help other trees grow.

Inga, a "bean tree" (legume) with long seed pods containing dozens of seeds.  This tree can help other trees grow.

We support a long-term (>20 years) program of research on restoration, sustainable land use and effective local outreach.  Our working teams have consisted of Costa Ricans, Mexicans, Australians and Americans, including retired professors, academic researchers, farmers, teachers, laborers and students.  Our study site is an experimental farm in southern Costa Rica, Finca Cantarrana.

The ecological research approach that R.A.I.N. has supported for more than 20 years has been three-fold:

 

  1. Seek species of native trees that can grow in these degraded soils.  Trees that survive and grow over time will reduce erosion, reestablish soil fertility, and provide timber, fruit and other products for humans and wildlife. Few species can survive.
  2. Test methods of jump-starting this restoration process using "nurse" or facilitator species such as nitrogen-fixing legume trees.  See photo at left.
  3. Test other, non-tree-based methods to control erosion and restore fertility, for example terracing slopes with contour lines of Vetiver grass and inoculating soils with beneficial fungi.

Outreach

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We support local outreach in Costa Rica, such as school tours and workshops on the farm that benefit the local people. Scroll down the SOLUTIONS page for details.

We involve the local people in the project whenever practicable. Sometimes they assist us in setting up experiments or suggesting tree species to study.  Many of our neighbors now plant trees, often natives, on their own farms.  We are able to supply seedlings of several hardy species for them.

We also educate people in the U.S. and elsewhere about the problems plaguing the Tropics that stem directly or indirectly from deforestation, including abandonment of the land and illegal immigration.  Dr, Carpenter in particular has been in demand as a public speaker to church and university groups.

Scroll down to read about our leaders.

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Leaders

Nancy Adrian - Executive Director of R.A.I.N.


Nancy founded R.A.I.N. in 1997, her first year of retirement. An MBA and 20-year career as a trust and marketing executive at the largest locally-based bank in Idaho followed her first career teaching English.  In retirement she decided to use her skills to address some of the ecological problems facing our planet in the 21st century.

Giving back effectively demands collaboration.  The name R.A.I.N. (Rainforest Agrarian International Network) goes to the heart of the problems she wants to address – destruction of rainforest, erosion, lost farmland and livelihoods, poverty—and to our collaborative approach of addressing those problems.

Nancy has written fund-raising letters each year in May and progress reports on the work each November.  Skimming those letters gives a good idea of the history and the detailed activities of R.A.I.N--see the dates in the list below-right.  The letters range from explanations of the scientific hypotheses we tested to a description of cattle rustling on the farm! Click on any of the links to see both the fund-raiser and the report.  Be sure to scroll down in the links from 2009 onward to see lots of project photos.

Nancy volunteers her time as the Executive Director of R.A.I.N. and personally covers all administrative expenses for R.A.I.N., so that more than 95% of donor contributions go toward the project. She acts as manager and staff, working from her base in Boise, Idaho.  She set up our accounting system in 1996, visits the experimental farm regularly, and audits the accounting periodically.  The three-person Board of Directors also serves without pay as volunteers.

Contact Nancy regarding tax reports, tax ID number and other administrative questions (adrian@rainprogram.org).  She has filed with the IRS an Exempt Organization Return 990 each year beginning in 1998 under R.A.I.N.’s Employer ID Number.

Board of Directors of R.A.I.N.


President: Beatrice Black, river rafting. Bea also is the Executive Director of the Women’s and Children’s Alliance, Boise, ID

Vice President: Wayne Jensen on his farm in western Idaho. Wayne also serves as President of J & J Farms Inc, Genesee, Idaho

Secretary and Treasurer: John J. Beecham, PhD, IUCN BSG, collaring an immobilized bear in Greece. 

F. Lynn Carpenter - Project Director


Dr. Carpenter is the principal investigator of the research funded by R.A.I.N., coordinating the work of students, volunteers, academic collaborators, and Costa Rican assistants.  She taught and did research for 37 years at the University of California, Irvine, achieving Full Professor in 1984 in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. During the first 20 years of her academic career, her internationally recognized research concerned foraging behavior and competition in nectar feeding birds, such as hummingbirds and Hawaiian honeycreepers.

In the early 1990s, her concern for the destruction of tropical forests and biodiversity changed her research career from animal behavior to restoration ecology. She then began studying the restoration of native trees, soils, productivity and biodiversity on deforested, eroded tropical sites.  Such a career change is unusual, and the Rensselaerville Institute interviewed her for their journal "Innovating" in 1996 about why she did it.  Years later, the same question arose:The second half of the video on the HOME page shows her reaction when Dr. Bill Tomlinson asked "Why did you stop studying hummingbirds?".

Once she retired from teaching in 2010, she could expand the restoration work.  Retiring allowed her to work in Costa Rica twice a year for longer periods of time.  This expansion has allowed us to harvest of some of the fruits of our labor as well as broaden  the kinds of questions that we test in the field to ones with clear practical import. These changes coincided with growing community support.

Nancy (left) and Lynn (right) at Finca Cantarrana in 2011.

Nancy Adrian (left) and Dr. Lynn Carpenter (right) at Finca Cantarrana in 2011.

Along with a group of tropical biologists specializing in tropical forestry and agroecology, she began her first field experiment in 1992 on Finca Cantarrana, a typical eroded pasture that she purchased for a permanent field site in Costa Rica, which is the current site for R.A.I.N. 

Contact Lynn Carpenter with technical and scientific questions (flcarpen@uci.edu).

duver Sandi - Project Administrator


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Eduver, or “Eduer” as he prefers, was born and raised in the community of Copal, about 14km north of the farm.  He is a born naturalist and has studied the plants and animals in his middle-elevation habitat from childhood.  Therefore, he has over 40 years of knowledge of the wildlife in the region. 

We could never have accomplished what we have without him. He is a full partner in the project and as of 2014 part-owner of Finca Cantarana.  Eduer has a special talent with the native trees.  Not only is he able to identify different species despite the enormous diversity in the ecosystem, he knows how to find, gather, and germinate the seeds and care for the seedlings until outplanted. 

He began working with Dr. Carpenter in 1991 when she was still studying hummingbirds and the plants that they pollinate.  The two of them and one of her students worked out of the Las Cruces Biological Station owned by the Organization for Tropical Studies from 1991 to 1993 until Dr. Carpenter began her new work on restoration of tropical forest and soil fertility. While working full-time for Dr. Carpenter, he studied and earned his high school diploma by correspondence. 

UC Irvine considers his ten years of work in our project to be the equivalent of a bachelor's degree in forestry.

YOUR DONATIONS HELP STABILIZE HIS JOB WITH US!