Children's Eternal Rainforest
Children’s Eternal Rainforest BEN (Bosque Eterno de los Niños)
The Children's Eternal Rainforest (CERF) is managed by the Monteverde Conservation League (MCL) is located on the Tilarán mountain range in northwestern Costa Rica. This range presents a steep sinuous topography which is characterized by peaks and mountain ridges, valleys and canyons as well as abundant rivers of rapid currents that drain both the Pacific and Atlantic slopes of the country.
The CERF is over 22,500 hectares (54,000 acres) in size and encompasses primary and secondary forest as well as regenerating areas. It borders the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve and Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve to the north and east, and along with other private reserves and the Arenal National Park, forms a forest block under protection of about 50,000 hectares (110,000 acres).
In general the CERF can be categorized into three forest types: seasonal evergreen forest, cloud forest and aseasonal rain forest, this later type being the most representative within the reserve. However, the CERF includes 6 out of 12 life zones present in Costa Rica as well as a great variety of habitats between 450 and 1,800 above sea level.The Children´s Eternal Rainforest is a project that has caught the imagination of children and adults around the globe. It is the first international children's rainforest in the world and the largest private reserve in Costa Rica.
The dream of a rainforest saved by children began in 1987 at a small primary school in rural Sweden where study of tropical forests prompted nine-year-old Roland Teinsuu to ask what they could do to keep the rainforest and the animals that live in it safe from destruction. Young Roland's question launched a group campaign to raise money to help the MCL purchase and save threatened rainforest in Costa Rica. With the guiding hand of teacher Eha Kern and her husband Bernd, and the assistance of tropical biologist Sharon Kinsman, who introduced the Monteverde project to the school, Roland and his classmates raised enough money to buy six hectares of rainforest at a cost of $250 per hectare, including surveying, title search, and legal fees connected with the purchase.
Out of this initial success, a group of children dedicated to saving the tropical rainforest formed Barnens Regnskog ("Children's Rainforest"). The vision took hold, sweeping the globe, with contributions flocking in from the far corners of the world. Fundraising projects have been as varied as a child's imagination. Children have collected aluminum cans and glass, baked cookies for sale with rainforest ingredients (ginger, chocolate, vanilla), or asked for a parcel of rainforest as a Christmas or birthday gift.
The original six-hectare preserve, established near Monteverde in 1988, has grown to more than 22,500 hectares (over 54,000 acres) of land, the largest private reserve in Costa Rica, bordering three sides of the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve. But do not think that the MCL has stopped here…more land awaits purchase!
Flora and Fauna
The Children's Eternal Rain Forest and Monteverde, as well as other nearby areas, have been the focus of numerous studies and vast collections of both plants and animals. Since the 1960s, many naturalists, students and biologists have contributed to the knowledge of the cloud forest and other adjacent habitats. To date, there have been 60 species of amphibians, 101 reptiles, 425 birds and 121 species of mammals registered in this area. This makes a total of 707 species of land vertebrates that represents 50.5% of the total known species in Costa Rica.
The knowledge about the number of invertebrate species in the zone is very scarce for the majority of groups. Extensive inventories of butterflies have been carried out by W. Haber and R. Stevenson who report 658 species. However, very little is known about other invertebrate groups. The climatic conditions and the topography of the terrain have allowed for habitat diversification and a high degree of endemism. Monteverde is known worldwide to many people due to the now extinct golden toad (Bufo periglenis). This species inhabited only the high and humid parts of the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve.
The diversity of plant species in the zone is also great. Three thousand and twenty one species of vascular plants have been recorded, which is one third of the total species of this taxonomic group reported for the whole country. Other little known species are also endemic to the zone. For instance, about 10% of the total flora recorded is considered endemic to the Tilarán mountain range.
Visiting the Children´s Eternal Rainforest
Stay at one of our biological stations inside the Children´s Eternal Rainforest. These stations, San Gerardo and Poco Sol, are ideal for retreats, workshops, study groups, research projects or vacations. To make a reservation, please contact us.
Both Stations offer
- Delicious Costa Rican meals
- Classroom space
- Hiking trails through primary and regenerating forest
- Excellent wildlife viewing opportunities
- Presentations upon request
San Gerardo Field Station
The San Gerardo biological station is located on the Atlantic slope in the Cordillera de Tilarán at 1,200 meters above sea level and within our private reserve the Children's Eternal Rainforest (CERF).The station can accommodate 32 people and offers facilities for students, tourists and researchers. There are 6 rooms on the second floor, each with a private bath and 2 bunk beds. The second floor balcony provides a spectacular view of Arenal Volcano, Arenal Lake and the surrounding forest. The first floor consists of a kitchen, dining area, rooms for guides and group leaders, and a meeting /lecture room.
The nearby areas of the station offer trails along primary and secondary forest as well as regenerating pastures. The forest type in the zone is catalogued as Premountain Rainforest that is an evergreen forest, with a canopy at 30 to 40 meters in height, abundant epiphytes and a dense understory. The annual rainfall is over 4000 mm and the duration of the short dry season could be 0 to 2 months.
If you enjoy birdwatching, we recommend visiting the site between April and June, when a great portion of the species are very active due to their breeding season. The bird's songs are melodious and the courtship displays of the Bare-necked Umbrella Bird are simply spectacular.
Poco Sol Field Station
The Poco Sol biological station is located on the Atlantic slope in the Cordillera de Tilarán at 720 meters above sea level and within the private reserve Children's Eternal Rain Forest (CERF).
The infrastructure of the station is divided into two buildings. The main building has been rebuilt, and has a capacity for up to 34 people. Each room has its own private bathroom, along with up to three bunk beds per room. The building consists of two floors; the main floor including a meeting area, bathrooms, and sleeping rooms, and the second floor including a lounge area and more sleeping rooms. The second building is a newly remodeled kitchen and dining room. The site offers facilities for students, tourists and researchers.
The nearby areas of the station have 10 km of trails along primary and secondary forest as well as regenerating pastures. The site has a variety of habitats such as a 3.8 hectare lagoon, a waterfall, fumaroles and hot springs.
As the San Gerardo Station, the forest type in the zone is catalogued as Premountain Rainforest (an evergreen forest), with a canopy of 30 to 40 meters in height, abundant epiphytes and a dense understory. Nonetheless, due to its lower altitude and close proximity to a transitional forest, Poco Sol represents unique biological diversity, forest structure and scenic beauty.
Bajo del Tigre Trails
The Bajo del Tigre sector is physically separated from the Children's Eternal Rain Forest and is managed by the MCL. Bajo del Tigre is situated in Monteverde and is approximately 29 hectares in size, although the property is surrounded by other forested properties in the zone. The type of forest found in Bajo del Tigre is rare and poorly represented in the country due to the deforestation to make way for coffee plantations and urban zones.
Bajo del Tigre has an altitudinal range from 1,020 to 1,380 meters above sea level and receives over 2,400 mm of rain annually. In this type of seasonal forest, the dry period extends from January through the beginning of May. Bajo del Tigre has a reception center for visitors and a gift shop with items related to our organization and conservation in general. In addition, next to the reception center is a "Children´s House" oriented to environmental education for local kids.
In Bajo del Tigre, there are about 4.5 km of trails that allow you to enjoy the unique flora and fauna of the area, as well as an excellent view of the sunset over the Nicoya Gulf.
For guided tours prior reservation is necessary, please contact us.
The Night Hike allows visitors to see the difference between the forest during the day, and at night. An experience you will not want to miss!
Visitors are provided with a trail map and interactive guide.
Finca Steller Education Center
In 1993, the MCL acquired an adjacent farm to the BEN with the goal to build an Education Center. Three years later, thanks to donations from international organizations and individuals, we were able to construct modest buildings to carry out education and reforestation activities. Finca Steller Education Center, located in La Tigra de San Carlos, has a classroom, a kid's house, and a tree nursery for the production of native tree species. In addition, we maintain trails available for hiking through primary and secondary forest as well as regenerating areas. Since a great portion of the farm was pasture area, we established experimental plots for habitat restoration, experiments with commercial plantations, and a small arboretum. We have also established a permanent forest plot for research.
To visit Finca Steller, please contact us.
Asociación Conservacionista de Monteverde
Post Box: Apdo. Postal. 124-5655, Monteverde, Costa Rica
Phone: (00506) 2645-5003
Asociación Conservacionista de Monteverde
Phone: (00506) 2468-8382
Monteverde Conservation League, U.S. Inc.
Address: 242 Old Sulphur Spring Road, Manchester, MO 63021