The Ecological Blue Flag
~ by Melissa Jiménez Kardentey
A great achievement
The Ecological Blue Flag Award (BAE) is awarded annually to reward the efforts of volunteer work in conservation and development in line with the protection of nature, mitigation of climate change and the improvement of hygienic sanitary conditions for the inhabitants of Costa Rica. It also promotes community organization for local committees to beneﬁt present and future generations.
Currently, the town of Ojochal is committed to promoting conservation of Communities, Beaches and Educational Centers in 3 of the 14 categories promoted by the National Blue Flag Program (PNBA). In 2016 for the second consecutive year, Ojochal won the BAE Category Communities award. Since 2015 it is the only community working in this category in the Canton of Osa. It was agreed to register the Tortuga and Ventanas Beaches in the PNBA Beach Category in 2017. Both categories (Community and Beaches) carry out activities such as monthly waste collection in Tortuga and Ventanas Beaches, cleanings of the Balso River, environmental education talks, workshops aimed at community residents, reforestation and forest ﬁre actions. Many of these are in coordination with the BAE committee of Escuela Tortuga, government agencies and NGOs.
The level of commitment and organization of the community facilitated and motivated the initiative to win 4 ﬂags in 2017, which is a great achievement for the town. The volunteer members of the BAE committees of Ojochal are Melissa Jiménez, Gerardo López, Celustiano Samudio, Wilber Céspedes, Leyla Zuñiga, Karla Reyes, Kathy Sturk, Rita Lucas, Oscar Brenes, Olger Olivares, Santiago Dinarte, Orlando Cespedes, Yanitza Rojas, Bruce Duncan, Russ Oro, Richard Kempkes, Christian Beaulieu , and Lucy Tessier. Thanks to all the neighbors who, in one way or another, participated in the activities planned by the different committees. Without the participation of the community, these achievements would not be possible.