Nov 3. 2014


  • Interview with Gisella Fernández Estrada! about ecotourism and Santa Elena’s history
  • Exploring downtown Santa Elena
  • Borrowed books on community planning and green urbanism from the Monteverde Institute

Interview with Gisella Notes:

  • I found out that Chaquitta, the reserve so many hotels have recommended to me, is surrounded by banana plantations and enormous amounts of pesticides. In fact, the river crossing the patch of primary forest is polluted with pesticides.
  • She fears that Monteverde may be drifting from conservation to adventure tourism.
  •  She is starting a co-op (like a visitor center+tourist operator+arboretum ) in Cartago for tourism. That way individual interests don’t override one another, which usually results in unsustainable practices, and everyone can benefit collectively. The co-op will be used for marketing and conservation purposes.
  •  In Monteverde, all are local and family-owned businesses.

I was scared that ecotourism, the justification for my project, is simply sustainable, making my endeavors null. However, Gisella redirects me and reminds me I am focusing on improving the visitor experience, not the promotion of mass tourism, which is unsustainable.

As I was exploring downtown Santa Elana, I came across an empty parking lot next to a construction site. The constructor worker invited me in and the first thing he complained about was that the tour guides were all fakes and self-interested. He wished there was someone he could complain to! He also told me how a third of the construction site will become a tourist information center, another third a restaurant and the last a fast food operation where cars can come and go as they please. He tells me it is currently owned by Villa Verde.

This is the place, this entrance point to Santa Elena and other part of Monteverde, where I want to make a difference.

I also had a nice conversation with Austen, my colleague, during a dinner party at my advisor’s house. We talked about how the Holocaust museum serves to remind people of what has happened. Maybe something like an ecomuseum can serve as a reminder of what nature is and has been as well.

Hydrangea hortensia is invasive!
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A cool app my professor recommended for those who love to eat fish:

Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 1.26.04 PM

Main differences between a biologist/ecologist and designer/techie. So what comes up first when you think of Amazon?

Well, an ecologist sees this:

Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 6.39.09 PM

But a designer/techie thinks this first!

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What’s next:

  • Continue research at Monteverde Institute
  • Begin prototyping!