COMMUNITY OUTREACH


Our outreach efforts are geared to benefit the local people and to educate people elsewhere about tropical restoration ecology and the problems these farmers face.

R.A.I.N. supports local and international outreach and education about tropical rainforest as well as the economic problems that people confront when trying to make a living from deforested soils. Our philosophy has always been that interaction with the local people will result in the most significant and useful advances.  Local knowledge has been crucial in the development of our ideas and methods.  In turn, we are committed to share any new useful knowledge that we gain. 

We began to share our information only after we believed our results were dependable.  Until then we described our goals and approaches in informal settings and interchanged ideas.  After about a decade as the project matured, we began more concerted efforts to share our results.

Our local outreach in Costa Rica has included:

  • tours of the experiments in the field for Costa Rican high school students in science courses and college students or graduate students taking courses at the nearby scientific field station of the Organization for Tropical Studies (“OTS”). 
  • talks and slide shows on the farm, disguised as parties!, that benefit the local people by sharing our research results. 
  • lectures to the local farmers’ association. 
  • donations of seedlings from our nursery to reforestation projects by local farmers, students, and indigenous people.  Photos below show us preparing, trucking, and delivering seedlings to the local Boruca Indian reservation.

We are well known in the community and are often invited to homes to talk about our work. 

We educate people in the U.S. and elsewhere about the problems plaguing the Tropics that stem directly or indirectly from deforestation. We have given tours to academic professionals visiting the OTS field station.  In 2002 we convened one four-day international workshop on the farm attended by faculty from Mexico, Costa Rica, Australia and the U.S.  On two of those days we held lunches for the local farmers to attend so the academics and locals could interact.

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We educate people in the U.S. and elsewhere about the problems plaguing the Tropics that stem directly or indirectly from deforestation.  We have given tours to academic professionals visiting the O.T.S. field station.  In 2002 we convened one four-day international workshop on the farm attended by faculty from Mexico, Costa Rica, Australia and the U.S.  On two of those days we held lunches for the local farmers to attend so the academics and locals could interact.

In 1994 Dr. Carpenter established an annual 10-week course in Tropical Biology for undergraduates of the University of California. taught out of Las Cruces.  The course required students to develop their own research project, and many chose to work at Finca Cantarrana , helping establish some baseline information early in the history of R.A.I.N.'s program. 

Our educational outreach also includes presentations by Nancy, Lynn and her students back in the U.S. and abroad. Audiences and venues have included, in the U.S.:

  • Lynn’s academic department at the University of California Irvine (UCI)
  • UCI's Faculty Club seminar series attended by the public at large from southern California
  • invited lectures at various academic institutions in the U.S.
  • church groups in California and Idaho
  • the Graduate School of business at Boise State University
  • elementary schools in Idaho,

and internationally:

  • the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, 2010
  • the Las Cruces Biological Station of O.T.S. in Costa Rica, various
  • conferences of the Society for Ecological Restoration, various
  • the International Institute for Tropical Forestry in Puerto Rico
  • the Association of Tropical Biologists conference in Costa Rica, 1997
  • an international symposium on ecology, Biosfera ’98, in Cuba, 1998
  • a conference sponsored by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the U.N. and the Forestry Research Institute of Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • the International Mycorrhiza Society in Australia, 2002
  • Southern Cross University in Australia, 2003

In addition, in her Biology courses at UCI from 1993-2011, Lynn included a section on R.A.I.N.’s work as an inspiration to students.  From this outreach she recruited 3-10 undergraduate students each year who did research projects on the farm over their summer break.  They lived for 2 to 3 months with local families within a mile of Finca Cantarrana.  Our neighbors speak no English, and the summer provided an intense cultural experience for these students.

Years later, many students said that this was a life-changing experience.

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