We visited the Tamarindo Estuary with Instituto de Oceanología de Costa Rica and the Playa Grande Kids Club to commemorate World Wetlands Day. We found deer tracks and many birds in the salt marshes, including the beautiful roseate spoonbill.
February 2 is an environmental holiday, it commemorates World Wetlands Day, because on this day in 1979 the Convention of the Wetlands took place. Since that year, February 2 has been dedicated to commemoration of the importance of wetlands, their wildlife, and their benefits, through events and activities that increase public awareness and education about these ecosystems.
Las Baulas National Park
Las Baulas National Park has three estuaries, one of which is considered a wetland of Ramsar importance, the wetlands of Tamarindo. The Ramsar sites are based in "an intergovernmental treaty which provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and responsible use of wetlands" as the Costa Rican National System of Conservation Areas describes. To be considered a Ramsar site, this should be "a single representative site, rare, a type of wetland or really important place to conserve wetland biodiversity."
The Tamarindo Wetland was incorporated as a Ramsar site on June 9th, 1993 -- the third site designated in the country. For this reason, The Leatherback Trust celebrated the month of wetlands by promoting awareness of this ecosystem through field trips on a road that surrounds the Tamarindo Estuary, locally known as the Playa Grande salt marsh. We took these opportunities to share knowledge and learn more about wetlands, their biodiversity, and their importance.
On February 22nd, our friends from Instituto de Oceanología de Costa Rica arrived, and with them we observed different birds of this ecosystem such as the roseate spoonbill (Platalea ajaja), the woodstock (Mycteria americana), the white ibis (Eudocimus albus), the great egret (Ardea alba), and others.
As we walked in the salt marsh, we heard the howler monkey (Alouatta palliata) and saw footprints of wildlife species such as raccoons (Procyon lotor), coatis (Nasua narica), and even a deer (Odocoileus virginianus)!!
Field Trip with Kids Club Playa Grande
Then on February 26th we made another field trip, this time with the Playa Grande Kids Club. We saw other birds such as the black-headed trogon (Trogon melanocephalus), cocoa woodcreeper (Lepidocolaptes souleyetii), and the turquoise-browed motmot (Eumomota superciliosa).
The wetlands are ecosystems full of biodiversity, this is why their conservation is so important. TLT was extremely pleased to sponsor experiences like these and work together with Las Baulas National Park in the promotion of environmental education using the Park as an open classroom.