March 24th, 2010 by Peggy Farabaugh
Natalia-Briceño 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.
February 19th, 2010 by Peggy Farabaugh
Part of our mission at Vermont Woods Studios is forest stewardship and a big part of that is protection of endangered species that call the forest their home. We have a particular soft spot for cats. Did you know that all of the worlds "big cats" are critically endangered? In the case of tigers, experts estimate there are as few as 3,200 tigers left in the wild. Three subspecies have been driven to extinction in the past century alone.
One of our favorite non-profits, the World Wildlife Fund is trying to save the tiger. With the Chinese lunar calendar having just rolled us into the Year of the Tiger, they have developed a plan to secure a future for these magnificent big cats.
Check out Tx2. The goal is to double the number of wild tigers by 2022, the next Year of the Tiger. If you want to help, read more about it here and take action to save this iconic species of the forest.