Save a Natural Wonder! aB Nicaragua

Hello! We are a group of students from the Honors College at Florida International University who joined alternative Breaks in order to travel to and do community service work in Nicaragua's Ometepe Island, one of the world's natural wonders and a UNESCO-designated Biosphere Reserve, during our Summer Break (May 3-11, 2014).


As described in the video, last year our FIU Honors College project not only created a nursery where approximately 3,000 seeds were planted, but also initiated the immediate and continuous planting of the island's endangered species of hardwood trees through the reforestation and conservation of the Volcano Maderas and River Istian areas of the Maderas Nature Reserve.

The group, alongside local community members, scoured the forest floors gathering seeds of specific species of trees once prevalent on the island but now pushed towards the brink of local extinction. Specifically they focused on large, hardwood species which years ago dominated the Ometepe forests and would normally have a lifespan of 200 years or more. However, because of their valuable wood these giants were aggressively harvested by friends of the then-Somoza regime and thereafter by lumber pirates. Where there used to be thousands of trees with trunk diameters of 5 feet or more now there are maybe a dozen of that size if that. Species that were planted include: cedro, pochote, cenisero, nispero, guanacaste and roble.

The team established an on-going legacy of environmental sustainability for Ometepe and an example of environmental preservation and sustainability for Nicaragua and other developing nations. The project initiated Ometepe Environmental Sustainability Initiative, itself a part of Break Away's Nicaraguan Compact.


The Arboreal Species Reforestation Project that we will be taking part of is now in (Post) Phase 2. This upcoming summer break we will not only plant more trees than the amount that was accomplished last year, but also fulfill the four goals specified below for the continuity and expansion of the project, as well as the increased awareness.

***Take inventory of the trees planted in the target area of the Istian estuary to document survival rates;
***Restock the nursery with species of trees to be planted in the second target area, the foothills of the volcano Maderas in the Maderas Nature Reserve;
***Expand the nursery to include higher demand fruit trees to be transplanted by locals on private parcels of land; and
***Launch the educational aspect of the Project by giving presentations at the local schools.

Currently, our group consists of twelve members (five of which were part of the group last year) who are very excited about spending their break by making a difference. For that to happen, we have organized several fundraising events to cover the airfare and the project costs, however, we still haven't been able to reach our fundraising goal and our deadline is approaching. Please support us and help us reach our fundraising goal! Any amount, no matter how small, will be greatly appreciated!

The Honors College reforestation project in the FIU News website

FB page for the group of Honors College students that went to Nicaragua last year with more pictures
  • Anonymous 
    • $10 
    • 84 mos
  • Laila Lipszyc 
    • $117 
    • 85 mos
  • Melany Freiria 
    • $118 
    • 85 mos
  • Daniel Irigoyen 
    • $117 
    • 85 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $10 
    • 85 mos
See all


Maria Francesca Castro 
Miami, FL
  • #1 fundraising platform

    More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more

  • GoFundMe Guarantee

    In the rare case something isn’t right, we will work with you to determine if misuse occurred. Learn more

  • Expert advice, 24/7

    Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more