Vermont Woods Studios Handmade Furniture


Earth Day Musing: Volunteering

April 21st, 2010 by Peggy Farabaugh

Ken-volunteering Do you volunteer?  Are there any causes you feel passionate enough about to throw yourself into and try to make a difference.  If so, bravo for making the world a better place.  If not, maybe give volunteering a thought.  Yes, it takes time away from the urgencies of everyday life, but maybe a little breather away from all that work would do you good.







Here we are with Jenny, the school principal
Our family recently volunteered for a cause that's most near and dear to my heart:  rainforest conservation.  We partnered with the Eco Preservation Society of Costa Rica, a non profit that's actively engaged in wildlife conservation and reforestation in Central America. 

Our volunteer project gave us a chance to get to know the people who live in the rainforest and gain a better understanding of their priorities and how we can support them in their environmental mission (I'll expand on that later as we're currently exploring possible ways to help through projects at  Vermont Woods Studios Furniture). 


I don't want to be overly dramatic, but I think most people who have volunteered in projects like this, especially in third world countries, would agree that it's a life-changing experience.  You have a chance to give a little bit of yourself to others and to the cause, but actually it's you who receives the greatest benefit.

So, on this 40th anniversary of Earth Day, maybe give volunteering a thought. What's your passion?  What's your cause?  


A Bookcase for Natalia

March 24th, 2010 by Peggy Farabaugh

Natalia-BriceƱo is a teacher at the Portalon School in Costa Rica.  In the mornings, she and her fellow educators teach students in Grades 1-4 and in the afternoons, they teach students in the upper grades.  It makes for a very challenging day, especially since up until last week, they had no textbooks for their students to use.  And Natalia had no desk or locker or "space" of her own where she could store learning and teaching materials.







Lucky for Natalia and friends that down the road from their school is the community-minded eco resort of Portasol, operated by Costa Rican natives, Carlos and Guillermo Piedra.  Under the Piedra brothers leadership, the property owners at Portasol have partnered with the village of Portalon in a mission of social and environmental improvement.







The Portasol community has provided uniforms, text books, computers and more for the children at school.  Portasol families also "adopt" local families at Christmastime providing necessary food, clothing, shoes, toys and school supplies when needed.  How many resort communities have you heard about that partner with local communities like this?  None? 

It's a first for me too and that's why we volunteered to join the partnership and build furniture for the school.



Now Natalia has a bookcase she can call her own and a place to put all the teaching tools she needs for her heavy workload– teaching 2 different grades each day.  We enjoyed building it for you, Natalia and wish you every success in your teaching efforts in Portalon.  We look forward to returning to Costa Rica one day.  The principal needs a desk.


Portasol, Paradise with a Social and Environmental Mission

March 23rd, 2010 by Peggy Farabaugh

 At Vermont Woods Studios, our wood furniture business is built on a foundation of sustainable forestry and we are particularly interested in rainforest conservation.  Through the Eco Preservation Society in Costa Rica we were able to partner with Guillermo and Carlos Piedra in support of their work at Portasol an eco-resort within the local community of Potalon, Costa Rica. 



Portasol Guillermo and Carlos Piedra are pioneers in the development of socially and environmentally responsible resort communities in Costa Rica and indeed the world.  Their innovative development of the eco-community Portasol, a paradise along the western coast of Costa Rica, is nothing short of amazing.

Both Portasol management (The Piedras) and the property owners at Portasol are committed to forest stewardship and sustainability.  They also support the surrounding community of Portalon. 





We were introduced to a group of Portasol homeowners who were at the local school, donating text books to the children.  This was the first time the children were ever given textbooks and they were ecstatic! 





The homeowners also donated an incredible computer lab to the school… one I doubt you would find in any other school in Costa Rica!  See our photos on Flicker for more details about the Portalon school.

We are so impressed with this type of partnership.  It's a great example of how responsible, sustainable development can occur in such a way that both the environment and the community are enhanced.  More about how we joined this partnership in the next post.  Thanks for reading!