How it all began
Our founder Lana, tells us how she came to start the White Hawk Foundation...
I had just finished my yoga practice and I was in Savasana on the deck of the Rancho Grande at Luna Lodge in the year 2000 when I felt a shadow go over the top of me. I opened my eyes in time to see a white hawk flying right above my body. I looked up in time to see it fly out over the rain forest canopy. From this day on I have had a relationship with the white hawk. It started to communicate with me. When I had a problem it would call out or it would fly up above me in the sky and down the valley where Luna Lodge is located. I knew and felt that everything was going to be alright or that something positive was going to happen in my life.
A Japanese woman named Yoshiko started coming to Luna Lodge every year to go bird watching. One day we sat down to talk and I started to tell her about the relationship that I had with the white hawk and how much I loved it. I told her it was my dream to protect the very important biological corridor that was connected to Corcovado National Park. I indicated that I I wanted to start saving the land and I wanted to name it the White Hawk Project. Yoshiko told me that the white hawk also loved me and was happy that I wanted to protect this area and that he supported me. She was very intuitive. When she was leaving Luna Lodge she gave me the first large donation to start the project. She gave me $700 in crisp U.S. dollar bills that she had brought from Japan.
About one year later I was in the Rancho Grande in the restaurant and an English man told me that he had come to Luna Lodge to check it out because he was going to buy almost the whole other side of the valley and put condos with pools and air conditioning. I almost fell over backwards. The gentleman had been a guest at Luna Lodge for over four days. He left and I started working on a plan. The White Hawk Project had begun its mission: To protect and preserve the Carate River Valley and as much of the Peninsula de Osa as I could.
Students planting plants to attract butterflies.
Bamboo School in Carate
Our children are the leaders of the future, they are the ones who will have to take on the environmental challenges to come, and they need to have the passion, inspiration and knowledge to deal with these challenges. Today more and more children are disconnected from nature, playing on phones and computers instead of outdoors. We have to invest in environmental education and outdoor learning. Being immersed in nature also has proven benefits to help improve physical and mental health and facilitate learning. How can we expect children to learn about and value nature and be the stewards of its resources if we do not provide them with the means to do so.
Environmental education is especially important in areas where there is an intensity of biological diversity and where these areas are under threat from various anthropogenic influences. In Carate, a remote area of the peninsula, there was previously no access to environmental education or a functional school to provide even the most basic of education. There was poor sanitation, only one teacher for all age ranges, and the school was cut off in the rainy season.
The founder of The White Hawk Foundation, Lana Wedmore, the ADI of Corcovado (Association of Integral Development), and the Board of Education in Carate have worked tirelessly for 12 years fighting for a new school. Finally this dream has been realized and the school is complete. The children started their education in May 2017. The school is completely sustainable, made out of bamboo that will last 50 years. It is within walking distance for most of the children. It has proper running water, cooking facilities and toilets- all with sustainable black and grey water systems in place.
Earthing with the students of Carate
Construction of the first sustainable bamboo school in Carate
President Luis Guillermo Solís and First Lady Mercedes Peña celebrating the opening of the sustainable bamboo school
Hoola Hooping activity
In addition to building the school, the White Hawk Foundation has a goal of creating an environmental education program. This new program would include these elements:
1. Classroom teaching on various habitats that exist in Costa Rica, their threats and solutions for protection, together with fun and informative classes on the species that exist here and how we can protect them.
2. Outdoor hiking in the various habitats that exist to introduce children to the plant life and some of the species that can be easily seen.
3. This program would also introduce the Jane Goodall program, "roots and shoots'". A portion of land nearby the school would be used to educate the children about how we can use land sustainably. The land is divided into three sections; a) The children have to use one section for a purpose that is beneficial for wildlife, for example, a wildflower garden to attract pollinators. b) The second area is used to farm food sustainably. c) The final section is used in a fun way for the children to enjoy while learning about nature.