The Children’s Eternal Rainforest (or “BEN” after its Spanish name, Bosque Eterno de los Niños) is the largest private reserve in Costa Rica, bought and protected thanks to the fundraising efforts of children from around the world. The campaign was sparked by a group of Swedish primary school students in the late 1980’s, and quickly gained support from other schools, individuals, and organizations from 44 different countries.
Straddling 7 different life zones, the BEN is one of the most biologically diverse 23,000 hectares on the planet. Although it covers just 0.0048% of the world’s land surface, it is home to a wildly disproportionate amount of the world’s flora and fauna: 2% of the world’s orchids, 3% of the world’s butterflies, and almost 5% of the world’s bird species, to give just a few examples.
The BEN is also important as a watershed, feeding numerous downstream communities, farms, and hydroelectric projects. And it is the backbone of a block of protected areas that draws hundreds of thousands of visitors to Arenal, La Fortuna, and Monteverde each year, providing the economic mainstay for thousands of local families.
The BEN is owned and managed by the Monteverde Conservation League, a Costa Rican nonprofit organization founded in 1986. To date, the MCL’s main achievement has been to purchase and protect this wonderland, and it continues to acquire critical, strategic pieces of land when funds area available. The organization’s main focus now, however, is on other forms of consolidation – specifically, seeking ways to achieve greater financial sustainability, strengthen its education programs, and foster more research in the BEN. We need your support to make this happen!