Karma CaseyKids Saving the Rainforest

Volunteer at KSTR

KSTR LogoYoung and old volunteersBy Karma Imagine Casey

Hello fellow Quepolandia readers! This is Karma Casey, the Kids Saving the Rainforest spokes kid. If you’re not familiar with KSTR, it’s a nonprofit rescue, rehabilitation, and release program for all of the majestic wildlife of the Costa Rican jungle in the Manuel Antonio/Quepos area. They also plant trees, put up life saving wildlife bridges, and have a wildlife sanctuary that offers educational tours.

Have you ever wished you could do your part to help save the rainforest? Well, today I’m going to tell you about lots of ways that you can join Kids Saving Rainforest in their important work. Whether you’re a local, in town for a visit, or reading from far away, everyone can help make a difference!

Scarlet macawIf you’re in the Quepos/Manuel Antonio area, the easiest way to support KSTR is to come out for a visit! We offer tours at 9 am every day except Tuesday. We prefer you make a reservation, and you can make those online at kstr.org. For two hours you’ll learn all about the important work we are doing to help save the rainforest. The proceeds from the tour are how we fund our important work!

You’ll meet 50 amazing animals on the tour and hear their stories, including some of my favorites like Bouche, the Scarlet Macaw whose beak was damaged when he was kept illegally as a pet, Darwin the Spider Monkey, and Wendy and Izzy, two slow but determined lady two toed sloths!
What’s great is you will also learn all about how to respect wildlife while you are in Costa Rica, so send all your friends and guests to us first so they learn what to do! Quepolandia has been kind enough to print our “11 Reasons Not To Feed The Wildlife” flyer for some great tips you should follow when visiting the rainforest!

If you really want to make a difference while you’re in the area, let me tell you all about our volunteer program! This is a great chance to help support the organization and can even be fun for the family! Plus, it is perfect for you if you want to work with animals and you need experience.

Volunteers with a titi monkeyOur day volunteer program is available on Monday, Wednesday, or Friday. Kids over 12 can even come with their families, so long as they respect the wildlife and never try to handle or touch them. This is a very important lesson I have learned through my work with KSTR, and I would never try to hold, touch, cuddle, or cause unnecessary stress to any wild animal. If you can follow that rule, you can help, too!

The day volunteer program includes a fun lunch you share with the whole KSTR family (you might even see me there!) and transportation from Quepos or Manuel Antonio if needed. I have been doing volunteer work with Kids Saving the Rainforest for about two years now, and it is great. I love it and highly recommend it, and you can really make a big difference.

The day volunteers do things such as: preparing food, foraging, cleaning, making enrichments to improve the lives of the animals, etc. These things really help the animals, because without people like you giving them these things, they would never have them. Even though some animals have to stay in captivity, we can still try to make their life as good as possible, and you can help! But you must come respecting the animals, the rules, and understanding what is best for the wildlife.

Volunteers having lunchIf you have more time and you’re over 18, you can stay in the Volunteer Center at KSTR and help for two weeks or a month! Sometimes families come to the cottages and stay for a week. I have met so many great friends from all over the world this way, and they’ve all come here because they love animals and want to help them, just like me.

At Kids Saving the Rainforest, we also have internships. This is when people are going to school to become vets or biologists or work with animals, and they come to learn and to help rescue and release wildlife. The internships are divided into three parts; Veterinary Clinic/Rehabilitation, Wildlife Nursery (the babies), and Sanctuary/Zookeeping. To be an intern you must first have proper experience with animals before, and you also must be very dedicated. The interns also stay in the volunteer center, and each one becomes an important part of the KSTR family. Write to [email protected] to learn more about becoming a volunteer or intern!

Volunteers preparing animal  mealsIf you live near the KSTR sanctuary, we could really use your help picking leaves to nourish and fill up hungry baby sloths who are destined for lives back in the wild. We need the tender leaves of Beach Almond, Mango, and Cinnamon, and the rough Guarumo leaf, also known as Cecropia. These might grow in your yard, or you can find them on the beach, and we really need help keeping up with the appetite of these hungry sloths!

If you’re far from the rainforest and can’t make it to KSTR, don’t worry! There are also quite a variety of things you can do to help Kids Saving the Rainforest right where you are.

Before I moved to Costa Rica, I was raising money to send to help the animals, and you can donate at kstr.org. I painted piggy banks with the words, “Be The Change” to help inspire other kids to raise money to help save the rainforest too, and the money they gave me for them was donated to KSTR.

Through my work as a spokes-kid, I wrote a letter to a class of kindergartners that inspired them to make a rainforest museum in their classroom, complete with KSTR blue rope wildlife bridges, and they invited the whole school to a fundraiser where they earned enough to put up two bridges! Everyone can do something if they try!

Volunteers cleaning a beachYou can also sponsor an animal, buy a wildlife bridge or donate to plant a tree to help save the rainforest! Also, one of the most helpful things ever is to spread the word about Kids Saving the Rainforest, and how to respect the earth, educating the public. That’s why I write to you here every month, and I really thank you for reading me. I hope I’ve inspired you to make a difference, too.

Well, that’s the end of this article. But remember, if you find injured or orphaned wildlife in the Quepos or Manuel Antonio area, send a Whatsapp message to 88ANIMAL, and this will go right to the KSTR clinic team who can come to the rescue!

Read me next time!