In 1999. Janine Licare and Aislin Livingstone, who were then nine years-old, decided they wanted to take measures to save Costa Rica's rainforest. Janine explains, "Growing up in an area surrounded by rainforest and incredible biodiversity, its disappearance and destruction was quite noticeable. When your backyard is being torn apart in front of your own eyes, anyone would be compelled to try to save it." With this in mind, she started Kids Saving the Rainforest, and its important work continues decades later.
Origin Story: Kids Saving the Rainforest
With help from Jennifer Rice (Janine's mother), Janine and Aislin came up with the idea to sell painted rocks at a roadside table in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica. Their goal? To raise money to save the local rainforest and its Titi monkeys. From that humble beginning in 1999, Kids Saving the Rainforest has expanded its mission to encompass education, preserving the local rainforest, and rehabilitating many kinds of animals. The organization is headquartered in Costa Rica, but it's incorporated in two U.S. states and has tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Major Programs of Kids Saving the Rainforest
Kids Saving the Rainforest has come a long way since its beginnings. The organization now operates a successful wildlife rescue center and sanctuary, has implemented wildlife protection programs, and is engaged in reforestation.
Wildlife Rescue Center
Kids Saving the Rainforest operates a highly successful wildlife rescue center. They have a release rate of 55 percent, which is much greater than the average release rate of such centers (33 percent). This is in large part due to the organization's team of wildlife veterinary professionals, wildlife biologists, zookeepers, and a nursery manager. Dr. Carmen Soto serves as Wildlife Regente, overseeing the wildlife team and operations.
The animals that are treated at the Kids Saving the Rainforest wildlife rescue center can't always be returned to the wild. Unfortunately, some are too disabled to go back into the wild, while others learned behaviors in captivity prevent them from being able to survive without human intervention. Once rehabilitated, these animals find safe haven at the organization's wildlife sanctuary.
Save the Sloths
Sloths are a special focus area for Kids Saving the Rainforest. Janine explains, "Sloths are some of the slowest animals you will ever see." As a result, they frequently end up in the wildlife rescue center with severe injuries. Many end up living out their days in the sanctuary. The organization encourages people to volunteer or donate to support their sloth rescue due to the particularly high need for rehab cages, enclosures, and (for those that can be released) GPS tracking collars.
Wildlife Bridge Program
Kids Saving the Rainforest doesn't limit their wildlife protection efforts to animals in their rehabilitation facility or sanctuary. They also work to protect local wildlife, including sloths, kinkajous, and Titi monkeys (commonly known as squirrel monkeys), by installing wildlife bridges to help them cross roads safely, without getting hit by cars or impacted by high voltage electrical wires that pose an electrocution risk. Countless animals are alive today thanks to these bridges.
Kids Saving the Rainforest is raising money to plant trees on the nearly 300-acre swath of land in Parrita, Puntarenas that was donated to the organization to be reforested. Their goal is to plant a combination of native trees and fruit trees, then utilize the land as a biological sanctuary for wildlife, while also releasing clean oxygen into the environment. The plan is for the area to become home to some of the rescued wildlife that the organization rehabilitates.
How to Support Kids Saving the Rainforest
There are many ways you can help support Kids Saving the Rainforest.
- Donations are always appreciated.
- They have an online store where you can purchase coloring books, ebooks, branded t-shirts, and stickers.
- You can create your own custom fundraising program to help raise money for the organization.
- If you're in Costa Rica, you can participate in their unique volunteer program or take a tour of the facility.
Save the Planet by Saving the Rainforest
The work of Kids Saving the Rainforest impacts the world far beyond Costa Rica. Putting a stop to rainforest destruction matters to everyone on the planet. As Janine points out, "The rainforest is like the lungs of our planet. It not only provides oxygen and clean air for us to breathe, but it is also a storehouse of treasure waiting to be discovered. It contains cures to diseases and is home to millions of unknown species."