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Monteverde Institute (MVI)

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Monteverde

The Monteverde Institute (MVI) is a non-profit educational organization founded in 1986 in the mountainous Costa Rican community of Monteverde. MVI was established to guide the increased tourism in a positive and productive manner for the benefit of the visitors and local community.

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 Amigos of Costa Rica
     P. O. Box 748
     West Chester, PA 19381

Amigos of Costa Rica charges a 3% fee on donations. If you would like to cover the fees associated with your donation, please include an additional 3%.

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About Us

The Monteverde Institute (MVI) is a non-profit educational organization founded in 1986 in the mountainous Costa Rican community of Monteverde.  MVI was established to guide the increased tourism in a positive and productive manner for the benefit of the visitors and local community.

MVI accomplishes this goal by integrating academic programs, research, and community initiatives into dynamic programs. Students (both Costa Rican and international), staff, local experts, local government, and community members interact to address local issues through participatory research, academic studies, solution design, and implementation.

The institute’s programs are based on the belief that in order to achieve sustainability—both locally and globally—a combination of environmental, social, cultural, economic, and technological factors must be carefully considered. To that end, MVI fosters a synergistic approach that blends international study abroad, applied research and community engagement. Its programs focus on tropical ecology, sustainable development, ecotourism, Spanish language and culture, conservation biology, community health, land use planning, integrated water resources, reforestation, and social justice.

MVI’s 38-acre campus forms part of the famous Monteverde Reserve Complex, an area of natural preserves that protect more than 65,000 acres of endangered tropical forest. This location underlines the importance of MVI’s commitment to sustainability.

As a community-based organization that supports local educational outreach, a publicly accessible library, research, and community programs – we need your help!  

Our Programs

Donations to MVI support programs like the following:

Conservation and Community Programs:
We work with the Monteverde community, local government, schools, and other organizations to collaboratively respond to community-identified needs through proposing, prototyping, improving, and sharing potential solutions to local sustainability challenges. We also collaboratively lead or support conservation efforts and related research in the Monteverde zone and the Bellbird Biological Corridor.

Citizen Science and Environmental Education:
Local students and conservationists participate in monitoring and data collection to promote understanding, appreciation, and conservation of nature.

Resilient Economies:
The economy is more than just money. Responsible and integrated stewardship of financial, natural, and human resources is core to a resilient economy. MVI promotes a more resilient local economy through capacity building for entrepreneurs; strengthening productive value chains; pursuing food sovereignty with local farmers, gardeners, and cooks; working toward zero waste through innovative design in waste and water management; and collaboratively developing a community-based circular economy model.

Community Health:
Meeting human needs without compromising the integrity of the non-human environment is at the core of our commitment to promoting community health. Through social and educational activities with senior citizens, mental health support workshops, promotion of physical activity, nutrition education in local elementary schools, various initiatives to increase food security, and more, the program focuses on local human health as a component of a One Health approach, recognizing the unbreakable connection between human, animal, plant, and ecosystem health.

Sustainable Futures – Sustainable Design and Community Infrastructure:
This program integrates local expertise and an international academic program to sustainable design of solutions to community-identified sustainable planning and community infrastructure needs. Sidewalks, playgrounds, improved traffic flow, and scenic overlooks are some of the projects that have been designed and implemented as a joint effort among MVI, local government, local professionals, and international architecture, landscape architecture, and urban planning students and faculty.

Water Stewardship:
Water stewardship of our local springs, streams, and water after human use, is critical, not only for this mountaintop community, flora, and fauna, but for all those along the rivers that begin here. Local students monitor the water quality of three local streams on a monthly basis in the MVI Adopt-A-Stream program, providing important data for understanding impact and improving stewardship of this precious resource.

Reforestation:
In partnership with the Fundación Conservacionista Costarricense, we work with landowners in the Bellbird Biological Corridor to support their voluntary reforestation efforts. Research on tropical trees and forest informs the local reforestation approach, conservation of endangered species, tropical habitat restoration on a broader scale, and species selection for landowners.

Library:
The John and Doris Campbell Memorial Library is a valuable community resource, and part of MVI’s commitment to information justice and cultural heritage conservation. It is home to a physical collection of books, historic documents, and local art; internet access and computer technology for community use; open-access digital collections of local research and information from researchers, students, interns, and community members; and a compilation of open-access resources relevant for anyone interested in information about Monteverde.

(Community Outreach and) Youth Summer Camp:
Cultural exchange through homestays, local youth summer camp Las Hormiguitas, cultural heritage conservation, local capacity building, and strengthening of social capital are all part of the Community Outreach program. We work with around 105 families in 6 communities in the Monteverde zone and beyond, and around 60 teenagers each year.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS):
Our GIS coordinator and open-access database of local GIS and maps serve researchers, professors, students, local government, other NGOs, conservation efforts, and emergency preparedness.

Research and Laboratory:
Research, whether by affiliates, in-house, or with international student participation, is a pillar on which MVI stands. Our laboratory is an important resource for local research and citizen science. On-going monitoring of local streams, resident and migratory bird communities, mammals, and weather contribute to the open-access data resources MVI provides for researchers, educators, and students.

For more information please

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Our Annual Report
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Thousands Needs

Amigos of Costa Rica is supported by
the CRUSA Foundation

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