In May, CIRENAS unveiled a master plan for our new campus that will be built next to the ranger station in the Caletas-Ario National Wildlife Refuge. The new campus will help us better accommodate our visiting courses and researchers and will serve as a demonstration site for more sustainable building and land use in the Nicoya Peninsula. The master plan was unveiled at a special gathering of shared supporters before the Rainforest Alliance Gala in New York City.
The master plan evolved from CIRENAS’s experience on Hacienda Ario over the last five years, local and regional sustainable building and permaculture concepts, and the input of educators and researchers who have visited our site. The result is a campus designed to be regenerative, literally giving back to the land and people, similar to our programmatic philosophy. The design is influenced by other successful models in sustainable education and by other sites in Central America, and will promote a holistic view on how people can better interact in a place, manage resources, and become inspired.
To help us create this world class education center and demonstration site we have assembled a team of accomplished designers and innovators. A major focus of the new campus is on permaculture and to guide us through implementing an extensive plan is permaculture designer Chris Shanks from Project Bonafide in Nicaragua. Chris is considered one of the top permaculturists in Central America and has an extensive background in permaculture education, planning, design, and implementation for a range of international nonprofits and resorts. Every year Chris teaches several permaculture design courses and one of his former students, Sam Kenworthy, is now implementing a plan for CIRENAS. Sam also has experience working on water conservation, food systems, and renewable energy so together Chris and Sam are creating some innovative designs that take advantage of the multiple elevations on our site, address climate challenges faced by several countries in Central America that are effecting food and water supply, and embrace our remote location.
If you would like to receive a digital copy of our master plan or would like to get involved in volunteering to learn more about permaculture, please be in touch with Karla.