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A Month at KSTR

Hi guys! My name is Coralie, but everybody calls me Coco, I am 20 years old, and I am from Montreal, in Canada. I am about to finish my last year of study to become a veterinary technician in Quebec and I volunteered as an intern at KSTR for a month in the sanctuary.

Going to Costa Rica was my first-time solo traveling. I didn’t know what to expect from this internship since I didn’t have much experience with wild animals such as the ones we have at Kids, but I was really excited to be able to work for a month with these species and learn about wildlife rehabilitation. Going from Montreal to Quepos was quite a long ride! I had to take two planes, then the bus to get to the volunteer center, where I would spend the next 4 weeks. As soon as I got there, I immediately felt amazed by the nature teeming with life: toucans flying over my head, mountains touching the sky, monkeys leaping from trees to trees… and what about the warm welcome I received upon my arrival! We were a few girls sleeping in the dormitory and each of them made sure that we were comfortable in what was going to be our home for the month. We got to know each other a little bit better over the next few days and I really enjoyed learning about everybody’s countries and experience at kids.

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Kids Saving The Rainforest – Solo Mundo Abroad

KSTR is a 20 year old wildlife conservation project based near Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica. Our organization provides wildlife rescue, rehabilitation and release to all species of wildlife native to Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast including squirrel monkeys, howler monkeys, capuchins, sea turtles, dolphins, shorebirds, reptiles, and more. KSTR’s 52 acre property houses a study abroad campus that allows science students to access the surrounding beaches and jungles while having comfortable accommodations.

Current major projects include a wildlife bridge program and construction of a new world-class wildlife hospital and sanctuary.

What we do

We are a study abroad provider with university and conservation organization partners from around the world. Our courses are for highschool, college and university students interested in the fields of biology, ecology, zoology, marine science and veterinary medicine.

Solo Mundo Abroad offers Spring, Summer and Winter study abroad courses in Costa Rica, where students will learn in a tropical environment, in a country rich in biodiversity and natural wealth.

Through this course students will be able to experience the best of Costa Rica while learning through hands-on experiences in places with paradisiacal beaches, protected wilderness areas of tropical forest and ocean, mangrove swamps and marine environments, where species of flora and fauna that are in danger of extinction coexist.

We provide unforgettable hands-on experiences with wildlife, immersed in conservation efforts, that will truly impact the life of the students at a personal and professional level. Students will be able to embrace the opportunity to face real and exciting challenges and be open to experiences that expand their assumptions and perspectives.

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Kids Saving the Rainforest – April 2023


Kids Saving the Rainforest – March 2023


Kids Saving the Rainforest – February 2023

KSTR LogoKids Saving The Rainforest, is the only registered wildlife rescue center and Sanctuary in the area of Manuel Antonio. Therefore it has the very important mission of saving all the wild animals in need in the area. We help all kinds of wildlife—from sloths, monkeys and anteaters to macaws and toucans. Every animal that needs help will get it in our wildlife hospital.

The main reasons why these animals arrive to our Rescue Center is because of electrocutions, collisions with cars or windows, parasites, and dog and cat attacks. But even though we have a wildlife ambulance we can’t be everywhere, and we depend highly on the kindness of some human beings that take the time to help these animals in need and call us to inform about animals that needs to be rescued.

Would you like to be part of our rescue team? Here is a fast guide on how to know if an animal really needs help.

In the case of baby animals, it can get a bit tricky as it is difficult to know if these animals are really in need of help or just getting their first steps into the wild. That’s why we created a different guide exclusive for babies, but we always advise people that if they aren’t sure they can always contact us on our WhatsApp: +506 8568 5335

Do you know what happens to these animals once they reach our rescue center?

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Kids Saving the Rainforest – September/October 2022

KSTR LogoDaniIt’s Dani, your KSTR spokeskid! I just got done spending several weeks in Manuel Antonio volunteering at KSTR, and I have a TON of exciting updates to share!

First, a huge thanks to everyone who came to Monkey Jam. We had 250+ attendees (the biggest party), lots of fantastic, home-cooked Costa Rican food, and great bands and music. It was nice to see the community connect, all the new improvements to the sanctuary, and have everyone meet the animals. I heard interesting discussions about recycling programs, new hotel owners learning about the services KSTR offers (from an injured sloth to a snake on the loose!)—and lots of amazing stories about the animals KSTR has saved 🙂 Someone shared such a great story about sponsoring a wildlife bridge on their street and how it made them feel happy every time they saw monkeys crossing. Even a kinkajou family is using it to safely make it across the road with their baby. 

Second, KSTR has formally changed hands to two incredible conservationists, who are excited to usher in a new era for the organization. I spent a lot of time with Gabe, one of the new owners, who has an amazing vision for increasing the reach and impact of KSTR. He wants to focus on building a new, state-of-the art animal hospital, more marine wildlife rescues, and MORE KIDS! We’re going to be adding additional spokeskids (who you’ll be hearing from here in the future), and raising money for more exciting projects to rescue more animals. Luckily, the old owners are still involved at KSTR and helping out with the transition—I love them so much so I am glad we can continue to work together to help the amazing animals in Costa Rica!

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Kids Saving the Rainforest – August 2022

KSTR LogoDaniHi Quepolandia Readers! It’s Dani, your spokeskid for KSTR, back again for another article!

I’m back in Manuel Antonio for the summer, and I am volunteering at Kids Saving the Rainforest. Today I am going to tell you about our Nursery and Rehab Center.

In the Nursery, we have several different baby animals. We have 4 baby racoons, 6 baby opossums, 2 mice, and a lot of birds! All the animals in the nursery are super gentle, loving and adorable—and they each get their own special care routine. The raccoons need to be bathed 3 times a week, to keep them clean and healthy—and they get special food like a smoothie, made just for them! The smoothie has carrots, papaya, and banana. Sounds good, right? We also feed them fruit salad, containing watermelon, papaya, banana, potato and other fruits and veggies.

In the rehab center, we have 3 baby squirrel monkeys who lost their mom, and we’re going to release them soon! We keep them separate from the other animals, so they have minimal contact with humans. We have a baby Capuchin monkey, named Afronzito, who lost his tail from a shock from a power line. He’s healing now, but we probably won’t be able to release him—because he’ll have a really tough time in the wild without a tail. He’s really skittish—so we want to get him more used to the volunteers, so we can care for him. We also have 4 baby macaws, who lived in the Gaia preserve, but they were abandoned by their mother, so we’re taking care of them at the sanctuary until they are old and strong enough to be released at the Gaia again!

All the animals in the nursery, rehab center, and in the sanctuary, get enrichments to keep them busy, and to keep their wild instinct. On Friday, we made a climbing course for a baby racoon out of bamboo and rope! The mice got enrichments too—we stuffed a piece of bamboo with peanut butter, raisins, and honey, and then closed the ends off with cardboard so they can work for their treats! For Afronzito we stuffed a Kong with raisins and peanut butter, and froze it—so he has to use his tongue to break into the raisins…his favorite part!

Any donations you can make at kstr.org will help us take care of the babies—can’t wait to share another update with you—thanks, and Pura Vida!

KSTR Monkey Jam Fundraiser

KSTR – July 2022

Hi everyone, it’s me, Dani, your KSTR Spokeskid! This week, I am excited to introduce you to Tyler Smith, an awesome kid who recently volunteered at KSTR with his family. He’s going to tell you about his experience as a volunteer! I’ll be back with an article next month. Enjoy this one from Tyler for now!

Hello! I am Tyler. I am eleven years old, and I recently visited KSTR. I had an amazing time! I thought you might like to know more about this great place and what you can experience as a KSTR volunteer.

My family lives quite far away, so we began our journey by checking into the Blue Banyan Inn, a property directly on the KSTR reserve. From the beginning, I felt very close to nature. There were frogs on my path, and I had to step over a huge trail of leaf cutter ants to get to our cottage. I later learned that these ants were traveling over a mile from their nest to cut mango leaves off a tree near my room. That night, I could hear iguanas on the roof, moving and crawling around. 

Animal kitchen

On my first full day there, I went on a tour of the reserve. I learned that the inn got its name from a Blue Banyan Tree right on the grounds. I also saw a tree called the Ylang Ylang tree, jokingly dubbed “The Perfume Tree”, as it grew the flower that made Chanel Number 5 Perfume.

I enjoyed meeting the KSTR staff and the animals they help. I heard each animal’s story and discovered each animal’s personality. Don Pedro the Curassow was very feisty, nibbling at our feet and strutting around. Fozzie the sloth seemed lazy at first, but then tried to impress us by crawling upside down. Darwin the spider monkey was crazy. He would make loud noises, and I heard he once peed on a staff member! It was interesting to learn how the animals got there and how they were helped by the KSTR community. 

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KSTR – May/June 2022

DaniHi Quepolandia – belated happy easter! It’s Dani, your spokeskid 🙂

Today I want to tell you about a new owl we received, named “Chill.” I’m also going to tell you about an animal in our sanctuary called Grandma Bella! And lastly, I want to give you an update about the nursery, and our intern position!

Chill is a Ferruginous pygmy owl. He’s a child (juvenile), and he fell out of his nest. Luckily he isn’t hurt but he can’t fly yet because he’s too young—so we’ll keep him safe until he can be released soon. Chill is tiny. This species of owl usually only grows to be 15 cm tall! He’s able to eat by himself, but we feed him twice a day to make sure he gets enough food. There’s a Pygmy owl that hangs out on the road to our house in Manuel Antonio, and at night, he flies away right as the car gets close to him in the headlights—and every time he does, it makes my heart jump! I’m glad that Chill isn’t hurt, and I’m happy to see that KSTR is there to keep him safe—and make sure he doesn’t get himself into trouble ;-)—until he’s big enough to be responsible for himself and released to the wild!

Next up is Bella, who I call “Grandma Bella”, because she’s pretty old! Bella is a Marmoset, and she’s been living in the sanctuary for a long time. Recently, we’ve made some new adjustments to her enclosure, so she can feel happy and safe. Now that she’s older, she can’t jump from branch to branch like she used to, so we added some bridges to connect the branches together! On “cold” days in Costa Rica (I know, crazy!) we give her a hot water bottle to lay on, so she can raise her body temperature without having to move around a lot. When I first started volunteering at KSTR, the second time I was there, I was going into her enclosure to give her diced food—she jumped on my shoulder! I tried to get her off, but she clearly wanted to hang out and rode long with me while I fed the parrots! Eventually, she got tired of the Dani Ride, so I took her back to her cage 🙂

UPDATE ON THE NURSERY! We’re almost done building, and it’s time to start looking for interns! We’re now accepting applications to help the Nursery Mom with care for the babies. Check out our website if you want more information kstr.org.

KSTR – April 2022

KSTR LogoDaniHi Guys, it’s Dani, your spokeskid for KSTR!

Today, I am excited to share 3 stories about animals at the sanctuary with you—1 about an animal who is there for good but very happy and has a girlfriend, one about an animal fighting hard to get back out into the wild, and one very inspiring story about a friend of MINE who helped save an injured animal at KSTR.

Darwin is a spider monkey who was rescued from someone who was keeping him as a pet, and introduced him to people a lot. Darwin was aggressive towards people, and the pet owner asked KSTR to take him. Darwin continues to be aggressive towards people—but he has settled in very nicely at KSTR, and even has a roommate—or as I like to call her, a Girl friend (named Nina—who is also a spider monkey).

Next is a Capuchin Monkey named Arfonzito, who was electrocuted and had damage to his tail. After trying to save his tail, the vets at KSTR had to amputate his tail to save his life. He’s currently recovering at KSTR, and he is trying hard to learn how to live (and move) without his tail, so that he can go back to nature, where he belongs!

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KSTR – March 2022

KSTR LogoDaniKids Saving the Rainforest wishes Dani a very Happy Belated Birthday! (Sorry, we are on sloth time!). We can hardly believe Dani just turned 9 years old and has been our Spokes kid for over a year!

Hi Everyone, it’s Dani, your spokes kid for KSTR, Kids Saving the Rainforest!

Today I am so excited to make a big announcement—we’re building a new Nursery at KSTR, to rehabilitate baby animals! I thought that since it’s spring, which is when most babies are born in nature, it was a good time to talk about our new Nursery!

The new Nursery will have 2 stories. The bottom story will be for the “Nursery Mom” to stay comfortably and take care of the animals, and the upper level will be for the babies. If you’re wondering what the “nursery mom” is—all babies we have were abandoned, or don’t have moms, so they need someone to take care of them. That’s where the nursery mom comes in. She takes care of the babies like a child. She feeds them and makes sure their cage is clean and they are taken care of. We usually have 2 nursery moms, who trade shifts every 12 hours because the babies need to be fed as often as every 2 hours—this is an extremely demanding job!

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KSTR – February 2022

KSTR LogoDaniHi, This is Dani – your spokeskid for Kids Saving the Rainforest—or KSTR! 

First of all, I want to wish a very Happy 23rd Anniversary to KSTR! It was started in February 1999, by two 9 year old’s, Janine and Aislin, and Janine’s mom Jennifer.

Next, I want to wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day!

Today I am going to tell you about why the rainforest is so important for our planet, and our animals—and not JUST the ones in the rainforest. In addition to all the beauty that exists, and animals that live in the rainforest, the rainforest also does a lot to help our environment stay healthy and clean.  

The rainforest has many big trees and lots of plants that take in tons of Carbon Dioxide and put out clean air. If the earth’s atmosphere contains too much Carbon Dioxide, it will raise the temperature of the earth by changing our greenhouse gasses, and will harm animals that rely on the temperature, like Polar Bears, Penguins, and other animals that live in cold environments.

I’ve talked about this before, how we can limit our carbon footprint—like eating less meat/dairy, walking, biking, or skateboarding instead of driving, and not using so much energy by turning off lights when you’re not using them. The rainforests we have now absorb about 50% of the Carbon Dioxide we make—and it’s important that we keep the rainforest trees and plants healthy so they can help save the environment and the temperature on earth stay great for all its inhabitants!

Did you know that KSTR has planted over 17,400 trees over the past 22 years? Pretty amazing, right?

Here is a picture of 2 of the Co-founders Janine and her mom, Jennifer, planting a tree. It was taken 17 years ago!
At KSTR, we work hard to keep all the trees and to build our sanctuary around them—for example, we use natural fallen wood for the enclosures we build and the enrichments we put inside them! We’d love to see you at the sanctuary for a tour and we can tell you all about what we’re doing to save the rainforest.

Check us out at kstr.org.

KSTR – January 2022

KSTR LogoDaniHi Everyone—Dani Here!
We wish you all a Prosperous, Healthy, and Happy New Year in Beautiful Costa Rica.

Today I want to tell you about a few of the injured animals at our sanctuary, and what we need to do to prepare them to go back to the wild. The two animals I want to tell you about are Patricia, an injured Heron, and Teo, an injured Titi Squirrel Monkey.

Patricia is a Heron who was found orphaned, with an injured leg. She had to be immobilized, and her leg had to be bandaged so that it could heal. Because she was immobilized, she needs to learn how to hunt for her own food before she can be released.  

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KSTR December 2021

KSTR LogoDaniHi Everyone, it’s Dani, your spokeskid for KSTR!

Happy Holidays!

The holiday period is a busy time here in Manuel Antonio for tourists and locals alike. So I wanted to tell you about all the interactions we do with the animals during this period.  

In my experience working with the animals in the winter, we do lots of fun and exciting activities with the animals. We decorate the outside of their cages (so the animals can experience Feliz Navidad, from a distance 🙂 ) And we give them presents!  

During Christmas time every year we make “presents” for the animals, with their food inside! Then, the animals get to “open” the presents, and eat their food and treats. We try to give them their favorite foods or snacks in these presents. For example, we give the Capuchin monkeys spiders in their boxes (because that’s their favorite snack!). The Marmosets get peanuts, and the Coatimundi love watermelon, so we give them lots of extra watermelon in their treat box! Last year, kids in Quepos decorated the presents for the animals! We made sure to use kid-safe non-toxic markers to keep the animals safe.

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