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First Ever La Cruz Ocean Festival Features BioMar


Some local boys participate in a beach clean-up activity.

The first-ever La Cruz Ocean Festival was held from June 8-10 in Cuajiniquil, El Jobo, and in La Cruz, with over 300 people participating! The festival aimed to motivate those who live in these coastal communities to learn more about the ocean, its wonders, and their responsibility for preserving its marine resources for the wellbeing of all Costa Ricans. The initiative arose from a group of students and researchers from the Centro de Investigación en Ciencias del Mar y Limnología (CIMAR) at the Universidad de Costa Rica, the citizen science group Ciencia Ciudadana Marina Santa Elena (CC-MAR), Área de Conservación Guanacaste (ACG), and the municipality of La Cruz. The GDFCF/ACG/CIMAR marine bioinventory project, BioMar, contributed to the overall festival, with many BioMar researchers participating throughout, and with funding from GDFCF for several of the activities. The marine parataxonomists, Yelba Vega and Gilberth Ampié, gave a talk entitled “Spokespersons for the Town’s Marine Life”, other BioMar researchers spoke about their work, and BioMar co-director, Dr. Jeffrey Sibaja-Cordero, led a beach invertebrate walk. Students participated in a beach clean-up, there was a band, and many, many other activities to celebrate the ocean. Marine biologist Mario Espinoza, in an article in Universidad de Costa Rica news, said, “These are communities that depend a lot on fishing resources, so for us it is important to demonstrate with data the importance of that area, not only for the fishery, but for the maintenance of resources over time.” He also noted that the festival focused on talking about the ocean in the singular, because “it is a single ocean that is interconnected, that belongs to everyone, that gives us sources of work, opportunities and resources.” The organizers plan to come back next year with an even bigger festival. (All photos courtesy of ACG's Melissa Espinoza and CC-MAR's Lucía Vargas.)

CIMAR's Leonardo Chacón headed up a BioMar table on echinoderms (top) and (bottom) marine parataxonomists Gilberth Ampié and Yelba Vega talk about their work with BioMar.

BioMar's Dr. Jeffrey Sibaja-Cordero explains the life history of invertebrates found on the beach.