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Through Angel Villareal Bogarin’s hard work, initiative and leadership, the community of Matapalo has been strengthened in social infrastructure as he has inspired change and others to action. His participation as a community leader and his involvement with the Bandera Azul program, ASANA, as well as a liason for the Matapalo Beach Lifeguards has served as a grand example to other local Costaricans on the importance of being active community participants. His example has also shown the important role the private sector can indeed play to acheive stronger more united multi cultural communitities.

For first time readers to Making a Difference, here are the 4 principal and governing factors which allow our multi cultural community to become engaged.

1. Inspire Change.

2. Build Community.

3. Facilitate action.

4. Strengthen Engagement.

Here below ANGEL shares with us his current participation in community affairs.

As part of the social and environmental responsibility my employer started in May of last year, a number of initiatives to support and sustain organized groups and environmental projects in the community of Matapalo have been spearheaded. We began our involvement by supporting a series of community projects: the Matapalo beach sea turtle nursery, the ASVO Volunteer Program, the Professional Technical High School of Matapalo, the Matapalo Beach Lifeguard program which is composed of specially trained Matapalo youth, a beach reforestation program done collectively with ASANA and Hacienda Matapalo and finally involvement in the Ecological Blue Flag Committee of Playa Matapalo.

With the sea turtle nursery, according to the report ASVO, 140 nests were implanted for a total of 13,498 eggs planted and a release of 11,379 turtles (84.3%).

With Lifeguard Committee we are working on improving their organizational capacities and resources in seeking and incorporating more youngmen and women to assist in the implementation of preventive and safety measures for visitors to the beach.

We are also involved in a reforestation program that aims to increase forest cover on Biological Corridor Path of the Tapir and improve connectivity between forest patches to facilitate movement of wildlife. Last year they planted trees on the banks of the river and river Portalón Hatillo with school children and Santa Marta de Hatillo Portalón School. For this year are expected to plant about 16,000 trees and began activities with children at the school gate and planted 600 trees of 22 species on the banks of the creek Barbudal. The species are native to the ecosystem and provide food, shelter and protection against erosion. The trees are produced in the Hacienda Matapalo nursery.

With the Blue Flag committee of Playa Matapalo, we have been working on the values of protecting the environment, improve health conditions through improved sanitary conditions, water quality, safety and information for tourists and the community in general. This year we were awarded one star, but the goal for this year is to get the three stars, which effort requires a substantial amount of work.

The successful achievement in a short time frame in each of these projects have been due to the efforts of many people engaged in the development of the community. These examples to other community youth have provided encouragement to potential leaders who up until now have kept a low profile. Their sense of support from the private sector has inspired these otherwise quiet spirits to community activeness, realizing that they each have a talent to contribute in the overall effort to develop their community.

Our heartfelt appreciation goes out to Angel for his example of hard work and leadership. His organizational skills and hands on philosophy to get the job done has left its mark on the community infrastructure. In addition to and of equal importance he has influenced others to community action and helped us all to realize we each have a little something we can give of ourselves.

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