Keep the Rain Forest Wild in Campanario, CostaRica

Hi Everyone, 

This is Nancy from the very remote Campanario Biological Station in the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica.  Many of you have been here and have seen the beauty and wealth of the extensive primary forest and all the wildlife it supports.  Some of you have come for courses and research (and even relaxation) in this off-the-grid station.

Now we need your help.  Given the world's pandemic crisis and, therefore, the lack of international travel by students and other visitors, we now find ourselves in our own crisis.  With your donations, we can continue to keep an eye on this forest, continue with projects and monitoring of wildlife, and maintain the place for when you can all come for a visit.  We want to continue to show students and visitors the intricacies of the rain forest, of the intertidal zone and of the marine world, as well as demonstrate how we all can shrink our environmental footprint.

Every little bit helps, so please donate now!

Thanks so much,

Nancy and the entire Campanario team

Mission Statement

The Campanario Biological Station, a conservation effort of its founders and supporters, is dedicated to preserving tropical eco-systems, both terrestrial and marine, through protecting a tract of tropical lowland rain forest and its coastal zones in Costa Rica, offering environmental education programs for national and international students of all ages, and promoting tropical research and studies. 


The beginnings:

All my life I (Nancy Aitken, principal founder of the Campanario Biological Station) have loved hiking and being outdoors. I spent 10 years in the Girl Scouts, would routinely camp with family and friends, and later I volunteered with Peace Corps for 3 years. 

The dream I always had was to have a school with an environmental emphasis.  There is an urgent need for us, as inhabitants of this planet, to live with Mother Nature, not against her, to tread lighter on her, and reduce our environmental footprint. 

Experience is the best teacher!

After almost 20 years in Latin America, I "met" Campanario in 1990.

Supporters joined in with the goal, and the project was born.

Working over the years to develop educational programs and activities for students of all ages, has been a work of love and considerable growth for me.  The adventures for visitors and students range from easy hikes of 3-4 hours within the Campanario forest, to climbing into hollow trees, to watching wild life in its natural habitat which truly surrounds us all, to conducting a personal investigation, to snorkeling for viewing the marine world, to ..... and the list goes on and on.





And, of course, we enjoy Campanario's sunsets at the end of the day!

A forest-friendly way of life:

Over the past several years, there have been increased social pressures on the forest and marine eco-systems due to population growth and in-migration, illegal hunting and fishing, and the tourist boom.  All of these have caused a devastating decline in natural food sources for the jaguar, other large cats, and other large wildlife, forcing them to venture beyond their accustomed ranges.   Early June, just a week ago at this writing, saw the white-lipped peccaries on one of Campanario's trails, and close by were park rangers guarding the peccaries. 

As you can imagine, with increased social pressures, come roads, vehicles, electric power lines, and so on.  Campanario continues to be off-the-grid for everything, therefore visitors learn a different life style while living among the wildlife.  We humans are the visitors to their world.

 no roads (come via boat or hike in, which might take a while),

electricity (solar panels and careful monitoring of use),

fresh water (filtered spring water),

waste water (septic systems and leech fields),

no trash pick up (Campanario deals with 4 different types of trash in different manners),

no mail service (you'll just have to wait!)

and no internet (leave your electronics at home)

"rush hour" in Campanario

our power grid

laundry "self-service"

5-star "jungle basic"

The future for Campanario:

Hundreds of students from all over the world have visited and studied at Campanario to learn about the rain forest and the marine world adjacent to it.  We've had, on average, 12 groups of students annually since 1999, with a group size of approximately 12 people.  You can see how many folks have experienced Campanario!   Students participate in a manner of living far different from what they are used to – washing clothes by hand and using the sun to dry them, eating locally sourced and fresh food, walking everywhere instead of driving, and taking time to enjoy watching an insect, the waves, and the sunsets.  The plan is to continue this extraordinary learning. 

Students periodically send back updates about serious environmental awareness programs they have initiated in their communities and/or how they have gone on to advanced studies and careers in environmental sciences.  Campanario likes to think it has played a part in the lives of these people.


A contributor to Trip Advisor posted this, which pretty much sums up the experience at Campanario.

                                                Off-the Grid and Off the Charts!

 A study abroad trip to Costa Rica with my University brought me to Campanario, and I miss it every day since we left!  This area is an untouched part of the world that is unlike any place I have ever been before.  When coming to Campanario, expect to disconnect and leave your comfort level at home.  The food is great and the living spaces are clean and safe, although not what most are used to.  The people that work at Campanario are from the area, so they are passionate about sharing the place they call home with others.  There are many opportunities to explore the area in and around Corcovado National Park with wonderful and knowledgeable hiking guides (Freiner is awesome!).  This place fosters not only learning about yourself and surroundings, but about real life issues that will change how you see the world.

Thanks to Emily for this description of Campanario and her experience.

link to Trip advisor: 

We are needing funds to move us past this pandemic crises and to continue this experience into the future.  Please pass this message on to all your network of friends, family, neighbors, everyone you know!

Thank you so very much for your help,












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Nancy Aitken Zadroga 
Danville, CA
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