Environmental education with long-standing partner Karla Murillo

Karla Murillo has been in contact with Tropica Verde for many years. In this interview, she talks about her life, everyday life and experiences.

Karla, w
hat role did you play at Tropica Verde in Costa Rica and how long were you there?

Thanks to a cooperation agreement between the Cuencas de Limón Foundation and Tropica Verde, I worked as an environmental educator in 2023 and early 2024. However, I had already been in contact with TV for over 8 years through other organizations and led training processes for children and young people in the districts of Talamanca and Limón on topics such as nature conservation, environmental conflicts and other issues related to the use of natural resources.

Environmental education with Karla Murillo

What kind of environmental education did you carry out during your time at Tropica Verde?

An environmental education process was carried out for various population groups (communities, students from schools and high schools, representatives of organizations and institutions) and a network of nature conservation projects was established in the Caribbean.

Which target groups were your environmental education measures aimed at?

The work was aimed at pupils from primary and secondary schools as well as representatives of various organizations that carry out nature conservation projects and institutions associated with this topic.

What special projects or programs have you developed or led to promote environmental awareness?

A mapping and identification of actors in the Caribbean sector that implement biodiversity conservation measures was carried out to promote the network of conservation projects. In addition, face-to-face and online workshops on environmental issues were organized with community representatives from different districts to promote the network of conservation projects among Tropica Verde’s partners and others working on environmental issues. Finally, workshops for exchange and training in environmental education techniques were held for both teachers from the Ministry of Public Education and representatives of organizations and institutions to strengthen the network of conservation projects and share some methods of environmental education.

Can you highlight some of the successes or milestones of your work at Tropica Verde?

A network between different environmental organizations in the Caribbean (between Talamanca and Guápiles) has been established to strengthen local and regional governance through a space for exchange, support and learning. The area of regional environmental education was strengthened by training teachers in environmental issues and teaching methods. In addition, technical support was provided during some activities in the communities. An awareness-raising process for the local population on the importance of protecting ecosystem services and their essential role in conserving natural resources for the current and future well-being of their families was carried out.

What challenges did you face when implementing environmental education in Costa Rica?

One challenge was that there was little time available to carry out the activities, which limited the monitoring of the various initiatives planned by the participating organizations and institutions.

How have the local communities reacted to your environmental education initiatives?

The local communities responded positively and showed great interest in actively participating in the various initiatives proposed, as the issues addressed are closely linked to the principle that living beings need healthy habitats.

What long-term impact do you think your work has on the environment and communities in Costa Rica?

The biodiversity conservation activities carried out will have a positive impact on natural resources in the long term, as awareness-raising measures will create an informed population that is better able to make decisions.

What personal highlights or unforgettable experiences did you have during your time at Tropica Verde?

On a personal level, one of my biggest and best experiences was seeing the happy faces of the children when they were introduced to species they had never seen before, such as parrots, turtles, deer and sloths, and giving them the opportunity to explore protected areas, the sea, the forest and many other resources. It was also a great privilege to meet and share with so many people. I value their friendship and the fond memories of shared moments and am grateful that there are still committed people working to protect natural resources.

Are there any specific experiences or lessons you have learned from your work at Tropica Verde that you would like to share?

There are many lessons learned and experiences that I can summarize in three areas: the need for a working relationship with communities, promoting environmental stewardship, and establishing partnerships or networks to work more effectively.


After your time at Tropica Verde in Costa Rica, what is your next goal or project as an environmental educator?

As an environmental educator, I continue my work from the academic side. I currently teach environmental subjects at the distance learning university. I also work with ASADA de Bribri (local development organization) and the Southern Caribbean Fishermen’s Association on environmental education and awareness-raising activities in the communities.

Thanks for the interview Karla. We would also like to thank you for your many years of great work and your tireless commitment to the rainforest, the oceans and everything that goes with it!



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