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Wildlife Conservation Association (WCA)

Conservation
Environmental Education
Animal Welfare
Education
Rural Economic Development
Technology & STEAM
Nosara

The Wildlife Conservation Association (WCA) is a non-profit organization in Nosara, Costa Rica, dedicated to inspiring sustainable living through research, community engagement, and immersive educational experiences. We believe that successful conservation is dependent on us making the change to a sustainable lifestyle, where a harmonious balance of social, environmental, and economic interests exists.

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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 Wildlife Conservation Association (WCA) is a non-profit organization in Nosara, Costa Rica, dedicated to inspiring sustainable living through research, community engagement, and immersive educational experiences. We believe that successful conservation is dependent on us making the change to a sustainable lifestyle, where a harmonious balance of social, environmental, and economic interests exists.

Our Vision & Mission

Our vision is to be a leading example locally and internationally in wildlife conservation through our research, sustainability, and educational programs. Our mission is a planet in balance.

  • Mitigate the impact of the area’s burgeoning tourism industry and rapid development on wildlife
  • Attract scientists and nature enthusiasts from around the world, inspiring sustainable living and community conservation on a global scale
  • Feature awe-inspiring educational experiences and wildlife tours
  • Strengthen partnerships between nonprofits and local community

Program Areas

Research | Wildlife Conservation | Education | Community Outreach | Sustainable Tourism | Sustainable Development

Current Programs

Water Quality Monitoring | Nosara Biodiversity Project | Sea Turtle Conservation Marine Biodiversity Monitoring | Virtual Learning Experiences | Field Experiences | Volunteer Program | Thousands of Turtles Tours | Ostional-Nosara Sustainability Campus

Program Descriptions


Water Quality Monitoring

Only 14% of wastewater is treated in Costa Rica, threatening to contaminate drinking and recreational water while many communities already have limited access to potable drinking water. This program monitors water quality in the area and shares this important health and safety information with the public, bringing awareness to local water quality issues, and taking action to improve water quality. A laboratory for water quality analysis was established and results are shared on social media platforms and through the SwimGuide.org website and app.

Nosara Biodiversity Project

Costa Rica hosts about 5% of the world’s biodiversity and the Ostional National Wildlife Refuge protects a diversity of flora and fauna within its marine and terrestrial protected areas. This research project seeks to discover the diversity of life that occurs in the area by conducting scientific biodiversity assessments and engaging the community in citizen science. A research team established camera traps at Nosara Civic Associations parklands and regularly conducts biodiversity surveys. The involvement of the community also plays a key role in this program. Community members report their observations on iNaturalist, a website and app which automatically collects and compiles data for the area. The resulting interactive map of biodiversity enables us to make educated decisions to minimize the impact of development.

Sea Turtle Conservation

A majority of sea turtles nests in Guiones and Pelada are illegally taken or depredated by domestic dogs. However, limited resources exist for a full-scale conservation program at this time. Our goal is to develop and implement outreach and educational materials ​on sea turtle biology and conservation, bringing science to the community and engaging them as citizen scientists to collect data on sea turtle nesting activity. We work closely with the Refuge administration to increase beach protection by limiting motorized vehicle access and the presence of domestic animals in the Refuge. Basic training is provided to volunteers to identify and report sea turtle nests during morning beach surveys to collect data and monitor the local sea turtle population.

Sea Turtle Behavior and Marine Biodiversity Research

The Ostional Refuge hosts the highest density of sea turtles on Earth and a diversity of marine life. To ensure appropriate conservation measures are taken within the marine protected area, we need to learn more about sea turtle behavior at sea and find out what type of life exists in the area. In collaboration with Allen Coral Atlas, we are mapping the seafloor at the Refuge. Additionally, we are conducting surveys to monitor marine biodiversity and work with local fishing communities to learn more about this important natural resource and how we can protect it.

Virtual Learning Experiences

In light of demand for virtual learning and digital accessibility, we are creating interactive and engaging materials available for everyone to experience from their homes. We use innovative methods and cutting-edge technology to share our research and day-to-day activities and inspire others to get involved in conservation and sustainable initiatives. In collaboration with five other National Geographic Explorers and non-profit organizations in Latin America, we founded the Virtual Field School and offer courses in English and Spanish for life-learners and university students. We also develop and implement live stream and online educational content for children, families, and educators through our social platforms.

Field Experiences

We provide immersive educational experiences to inspire changemakers within our community. We offer hands-on field activities for the general public to engage in our research activities and learn about their natural surroundings. We also provide customized packages through memberships and community partnerships and subsidize the cost of programs to make these accessible to local and underprivileged communities.

Volunteer Program

We offer a training program for volunteers to participate in and learn from our day-to-day activities. We accept remote and in-person volunteers for a minimum time commitment of one month. We have developed an orientation and training program to ensure we align volunteer skills with our organization's needs. Volunteers are assigned a specific project in addition to assisting with other day-to-day tasks of the organization. Final deliverables are submitted at the end of the agreed upon time commitment.

Thousands of Turtles Tours

Sea turtle tourism has grown significantly in Ostional but the Refuge currently does not currently have the resources or finances to meet conservation management needs. This project aims to minimize the impact of tourism on sea turtles and other wildlife by providing awe-inspiring educational experiences and implementing sustainable tourism practices. We achieve this through a unique collaboration with the Refuge administration, local guides and other organizations that share our view. All revenue is reinvested in promoting sustainable practices, scientific research and conservation initiatives in the area, including donations to support the Refuge directly.

Ostional-Nosara Sustainability Campus

The initiative to establish the Ostional-Nosara Sustainability Campus is the result of a collaboration between the WCA, the Nosara Civic Association and the Ostional National Wildlife Refuge. Our goal is to create an integrated system of spaces that help to make the refuge's natural capital profitable to promote the construction of a resilient community in balance with nature. We meet bi-monthly with the Nosara Civic Association and the Refuge Administration to continue developing the Master Concept and Business Plan. We are also continuously networking to identify and establish sources of funding.

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Thousands Needs

Amigos of Costa Rica is supported by
the CRUSA Foundation

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