Catappa: Not Just Another Conservation Organisation

Jenna Griffiths


costa-rica-week-eight-255In January 2017 a new research institute, Catappa, will be opening its doors near the border of Corcovado National Park in Carate.  Catappa is based on three core principles:  sustainable development, ecological conservation and social and economic development. Catappa will work on programmes for the investigation of our natural world, for the creation of sustainable development, for the improvement of health and wellness, for education in schools and local communities and for the promotion of local art and culture.  From January, we will be accepting groups and individuals from Costa Rica and all over the world who want to learn about and help with any of our programmes, from groups of university students researching the biodiversity of the Osa, to groups wanting to improve their physical and mental health though yoga, innovative diets and immersing themselves in nature.

Maybe you are wondering, “Is this another conservation organisation with high-paying volunteers and little benefit to the local costa-rica-week-sixteen-152communities?” From Catappa you can expect something different!  We are not an international volunteer organisation but a small Costa Rican organisation, accepting groups and individuals with a genuine interest and passion for shared goals, and volunteers who can offer their skills in exchange for  meals and accommodation, with all money generated from our guests being put back into our programmes and into the local community. At Catappa we are fully sustainable, using 100% clean technologies, waste separation, reuse and recycling and sewage treatment by bioreactors for algae growth and bio-digesters of organic matter.

Our wildlife conservation projects are designed to feed into national and international priorities and will all involve local communities, schools and tourists, creating knowledge and passion for the natural world, as well as conserving the amazing biodiversity that we have on the Osa. These programmes are interesting and varied and anyone wishing to get involved can learn about bats, wetlands and their birds, all kinds of amazing mammals, water quality testing, invertebrates, otters, poison dart frogs and botanical cataloguing.

Our health and wellness programme isn’t just targeted at our visiting groups; it will be available to locals who want to learn more about how to live healthier in mind and body through yoga and working with native fruits, perennial plants and herbs for nourishment, flavour, and also to regenerate our soils, nutrient-rich food and medicine.

dsc_0854-6We are designing programmes for the creation of a more sustainable way of living, with the overall objective of this program being to improve the socioeconomic status of local people and for the protection of our ecosystems. Our schools and community education programme will involve practical and classroom based materials designed to train the next generation of environmental leaders, with practical work building tree nurseries and wildlife gardens in our schools, our objective to educate local children and increase the amount of land used for the conservation of wildlife.

Catappa has already designed its first art programme, Nature Education through Art and Photography, which will be open to the public in December.  A series of wildlife photographs taken by our wildlife biologist will be shown alongside boards describing the ecology and conservation of that animal, mixing art, education and nature. All funds raised through donations from the exhibition will be put into the science and community programmes here on the Osa.  Please come to Carate and visit us at Catappa to see this innovative exhibit and learn more about the wildlife here on the Osa.  Keep an eye out for our posters for the opening date.

If you want to get involved either through working with one of our programmes or making a donation to our work please contact me at  All funds raised will go directly into projects in the local area.

We look forward to seeing you at Catappa soon!

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