Innoceana opens Marine Conservation and Education Center in Costa Rica
Author: Flavio Güell
On January 29, 2022, the official inauguration of Innoceana's Marine Conservation and Education Center (MCEC) took place. Innoceana is a non-profit, non-governmental organization whose primary purpose is to protect, conserve and restore the oceans. The Marine Conservation and Education Center (MCEC) proposes an innovative model seeking to raise awareness in the local and international community on the comprehensive care of marine ecosystems, creating an ideal space for research projects.
During the inaugural event, guests were able to explore the 638m2 facilities of the MCEC, located in Ojochal de Osa. The establishment has a classroom equipped to receive students (both children and adults) to learn about marine biology, conservation, climate change, and scientific exploration programs. The building also houses a diving center where expeditions prepare to dive in the ocean and participate in research projects such as 3D coral restoration and mapping, species monitoring, water quality studies, and the disentanglement of marine animals stuck in plastic or ghost fishing lines.
Both expeditioners and volunteers can stay in the cabins adjacent to the MCEC. This lodge can comfortably host up to sixteen persons. Innoceana also plans to build a swimming pool at the MCEC designed to teach diving to anyone desiring to participate in marine conservation. It will also provide swimming lessons to children of the community, an offer that is not currently available in the region.
Eighty guests attended the inaugural event on January 29. Musicians like Nebo and Lao & Catherine enlivened the night. The artist Carlos Hiller performed a live painting session to the sound of the violins of the duet Omri & Tamra.
As part of this activity, a temporary exhibition of the art of US-based marine conservationist and photographer Andy Mann was set up. Mann —who works with organizations such as National Geographic and SeaLegacy— donated his art pieces so the attendees could buy them. The money raised will be used in various projects of Innoceana. This gallery will also serve to disseminate the work of artists from the community in the future.
The event featured passionate speeches by the NGO leaders: Laura Vanopdenbosch —Project Director—, Carlos Mallo Molina —CEO—, Yulian Cordero —Operations Director—, and Karyna Duran —Development Director—. The renowned marine conservationist Randall Arauz, the photographer Andy Mann, the painter Carlos Hiller, and Pipa from The Vegan Pirates —co-producer of "Entangled in Costa Rica", an award-winning documentary created in collaboration with Innoceana— also shared a few words.
With this event, the people's warmth, and the community's involvement, Innoceana officially opened the doors of its Marine Conservation and Education Center (MCEC). They welcome all noble people willing to get involved in the protection, restoration, and conservation of marine ecosystems, on which marine species depend and all animals, plants, minerals, and humans on the planet.
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