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Prior to the Children’s Rainforest campaign, the MCL had been buying land in the threatened Peņas Blancas Valley just east and below the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve. Wolf Guidon, Bob Law (both original resident Quakers and MCL board members), and biologist Bill Haber (first MCL director) had been buying threatened rainforest since 1976. I took over from Bill in June of 1988.  Donations to save this area of forest were raised through the fundraising efforts of biologists Alan Pounds, Adrian Forsyth, Michael and Patricia Fogden, and many volunteers. Approximately 10,000 acres had been bought and the Penas Blancas land purchase campaign was coming to an end when Eha and Bernd Kern and the Swedish Fagervik school contacted Richard Laval (MCL board member) about buying some rainforest with donations from the children.

Like you, the children who saved a rainforest for future generations are forever heroes.

And -- BEN could not have been created without the help of scores of other people working behind the scenes. To name just a few who haven’t been mentioned: Cynthia Echeverria was MCL sub-director, Carol E. Leiton was Office Manager, and Omar Coto was Director of Forest Protection. (Omar took my place after I left the MCL in June 1991).  Lisa Wirtanen and Faye Hadley kept us all in touch with the many Children’s Rainforest groups springing up around the world. Willow Zuchowski (board member and artist) and Ree Sheck published our newsletters and were our public face. Wilford "Wolf" Guidon guided me for many miles and hours on steep winding mountain trails, as we identified areas of forest to purchase. I will always be grateful to the efforts of our Board of Directors (especially Teri Matelson) and an amazing staff including Guillermo Vargas (Director of Environmental Education) and Marco Venicio “Semi” Zamora (Director of Reforestation) ---all accepting 18+ hour work days, 7 days a week for three years, to help make the Children’s Dream a reality.

A heartfelt thanks to all.

Jim Crisp
MCL Director 1988 -1991


Ocelot photo by Annie Griffiths Belt
Courtesy of National Geographic.


Willow Zuchowski





by Sue Memhard with Jim Crisp