A Monteverde bird song medley

Enjoy the soundscape of Monteverde at the beginning of the rainy season with this compilation of birdsongs set to a catchy beat.


The cycle of generosity, by Martha Campbell

My granddaughter, Alejandra, and I did a project together of making a small platform here on the farm.  It wasn’t completely finished when I decided that I would do my first sit from 5:30 a.m. until 7:30 a.m. just to try it out and analyze what more needed to be done before I spent some time with Alejandra on it.

As I was walking up  from my house at 4:30 a.m. I was doing quite a bit of reminiscing….. The Monteverde Friends School was started on February 19th. 1951 at the Challes Farm outside of Heredia where the original group was staying as they looked for six months all over Costa Rica for the ideal place to locate our community. As there were 7 children in the group of school age the school was started right away so these children would not get behind. Mary Mendenhall, their teacher, then went on to serve the Monteverde Friends School for 20 years.

Myself and my brother and sister graduated from the Monteverde Friends School and also my three children, Marlene, Juanita and Federico. Now my grandaughter Alejandra, who now is in the 7th. Grade is there. My other two grandchildren, Maya and Felan also, “si Dios quiere”, will also be attending there in the near future.

Alejandra came to check on me around 7 a.m. and we finished fixing up the platform so that the next morning Alejandra and I spent from 5 a.m. to 6 a.m. on our sunrise meeting time together on the platform.

Today, the 15th of May, Marlene, Alejandra and Juanita and Maya spent a total of 9 hours all together amongst the four of them on the platform. Maya at 8 ½ months contributed 2 hours of that tree sitting time! Also a contribution, in Maya’s name was made to the scholarship matching donor’s fund for donors under 20 years of age.

There is a basic cosmic law –  that this a flow universe, as we give it flows out which makes an opportunity for more to flow in. As there is a saying in Spanish, “manos que dan nunca estan vacios” hands that give are never empty. This is not only a nice saying but it is true! So please help us support the Monteverde Friends School. The gift of an  opportunity for a good education is one of the most important things we can give to others…….

Martha Campbell

60 from the treetops

We closed the campaign yesterday witha gathering of friends below the canopy.

We have had an overflow of submissions in the last few days, so please continue to check this site, as we’ll continue to post videos, photos and writing.

Morning melodies at the Children’s Eternal Rainforest

What better way to begin the last day of the campaign than by listening to classical music from the canopy, courtesy of MFS students.

Thank you to the MFS 6th graders (Nati, Josué, Maisie, Noah, Diego, Francis, Ipsilan) and their teacher Nicole for helping us reach our goal of 600 hours! We’re now at 612.5 hours. Gracias a todos!

We will be celebrating the end of the campaign tomorrow with a classical music concert in Bajo del Tigre at 7 am and a countdown at the Monteverde Friends School at 12 pm. Hope you can all join us!

The most adventurous climber

You probably recognize these photos.

Yes, they are of Benito Guindon walking the annual Friends School Walkathon. Our readers by now may assume that all Monteverdeans are as adventurous as Benito. However, we want to clarify that Benito is the only one to walk the 12.5 km of the Walkathon on stilts.

So you won’t be surprised to hear that Beni has yet again outdone himself! He has contributed 32 hours to the canopy sit perched at the top of this tree on his farm!!! We don’t have an estimate for the height of the tree, but you’d probably rather not know.

This tree is also famous for a rope swing that has drawn many MFS students! But, how did Benito get up and manage to set up that hammock in the tree’s “cucurucho”, as Costa Ricans would say?

Our scheduler Daniel tried it out for himself.

We urge everyone to not attempt to climb this tree. It is highly dangerous, no pun intended.


Why am I sitting in a tree?

To be honest my night in the Joyce/Van Dusen platform with my friend Nela Moreira, April 29, 2011, was not the best experience of my life. It started beautifully. The afternoon was dry and warm, the sunset clear, Nela and I were well prepared: two sleeping bags each, warm clothes, paints, paper, brushes, fresh food, water, lights, cellular phones, nothing was missing. A quick good bye to our respective families and after a short walk in the woods we were up in the canopy.

We had about an hour to enjoy the daylight


in the tree, which was just enough for Nela to initiate a nice painting of the landscape, and for me to try to paint too but I am definitely not an artist so I chose to take photos instead. So far it was fun, the installation, tying up our bodies and things to the platform, organize ourselves in such a tiny area where each move needs to be thought about and secured, not to mention the breathtaking view on the forest and the feeling of being alone in the world. Adventure.

When the night arrived I saw a sky that reminded me of the Sahara, with thousands of stars watching us. Not a single cloud in the sky, which is quite unusual in this area. I did not know it yet but this was the omen of a scary, restless night. Soon after starting to admire the splendid sky and the shades of the trees in the starlight we understood indeed that the wind was going to be very strong that night, and it was.

First I pretended to be brave, and tried not to think about the platform moving along with the trees and about the gusty wind trying to push me towards the edge of the platform standing some 50 m above the ground (well, it was perhaps not as high but it felt that high at night, in my sleepy and confused mind). Second, I pretended to be brave, didn’t say anything about my feelings to Nela and never admitted I could not sleep. If I stayed all night in the tree, it was neither due to my bravery nor to my love of lonely wild places in the nature. The truth is that I was not sure whether the Joyce/Van Dusen family still had those big dogs, so I chose to stay in safety in the tree where at least I was tied and not in real danger, rather than intending to walk through a private property potentially watched by big dogs who didn’t know me and perhaps were hungry.

That was before Liam’s encounter with the Jaguarundi. Had I known this, I wouldn’t have worried about big and nice doggies.

So I am there in my tree, trying to sleep but awaken by the wind every ten minutes or so… Listening to the branches crack. Asking myself what I am doing there, and why. Thinking of Monteverde Friends’ School, and of this crazy challenge of sitting in the trees for 600 hours – only Monteverde people can imagine and make such things real. Thinking of how much this little wooden school in the forest has become an anchor point in my life, even if my boys don’t have the privilege to study there. Because, yes, attending MFS is a privilege. The children and young adults that are attending, or have graduated in MFS are special and incredibly gifted. MFS is not just a school; it is a culture, it is peace, a different way of thinking, the place where so many talents can express themselves and thrive, the heart and the soul of a kind, warm, friendly community I personally consider as unique in the world. MFS is also the place where I like to sit and breathe, smelling the comforting scent of the old wood, feeling a benevolent presence in the walls, a peaceful sensation, love. And during that night in the windy canopy I felt so happy to contribute to the campaign despite the long sleepless hours. Thank you so much MFS for all what you gave, is giving and will continue to give to this world in the future.

Marie-Cecile Beal


Rowan and Willy

Rowan Eisner and Willy Bach spent the night at the viewing platform of the Children’s Eternal Rainforest. Rowan has helped the Monteverde Monthly Meeting, including helping to lead Children’s Meeting, and most recently beautifying the school’s playing field. Willy is a peace scholar.

It looks like they had many visitors!

They heard long-tailed manakins and a rufous and white wren. Enjoy their calls!

A Blustery Morning

A Blustery Morning

Sunday morning…I was a bit reluctant to start my canopy sitting, in great part due to the wind and mist that was blowing around.   Somehow the weather felt more like the “temporal” season that we get in September and October, instead of the nice sunny rainy season mornings that we usually get in May.   The other reason I was moving slow is that there is something psychological about Sundays… it is not a morning that you´re supposed to rush around on.

By 9:00 am I was set up, not on a platform, like many of the tree sitters, but on a hammock, in the “Rainbow Tree”.  The Rainbow Tree is actually a Strangler Fig Tree that had partially fallen many years ago.  Instead of being up rooted and dying when it fell, the Rainbow Tree took root to continue growing , creating a tree like a rainbow.   As a child, growing up in Monteverde, the Rainbow Tree was often a converted to a tree house, pirate ship or robber’s den, depending on the games that I played with my brothers.  Of course it was a logical choice for my tree sitting.

The weather encouraged me to prepare with two blankets, a mug of very hot chocolate, a warm jacket and a good book.  My dog, Osa, also decided to brave the elements and keep me company for the morning.   Once I got settled in the hammock I figured I would immediately be engrossed in my book.  What I didn´t count on was being distracted by the wonderful silence prevalent in the forest.  Although it was practically raining outside of the forest, under my haven of the canopy and the Rainbow Tree there was only a light, gentle mist falling.  Because of the precipitation, and the lateness of the hour, the birds were completely silent.  The cloud cover and the canopy helped filter the light, to create a mystical, fairy tale atmosphere, with a gentle deep silence.   The silence was only occasionally interrupted by Osa, when she settled to find a more comfortable place to nap, below me on the forest floor.

It is hard to describe the forest when it is completely silent.   Usually the forest is full of creatures, large and small, that make a myriad of different noises-bumps, chirps, squeaks and squaks.  When all the chitter-chatter of the forest animals quiets down, the forest becomes a different place, a magical place conducive to reflection, meditation and peaceful thoughts.   This is the atmosphere I spent my four hours in.  I did end up reading, from time to time, and spent other moments in reflection and mediation.

Sarah Stuckey


La Familia Castillo Moreira aporta 3 pinturas a la subasta

Vista del arbol, Tarcicio Castillo, 2011, precio base $60

Tarcicio Castillo y Marianela Moreira pasaron varias horas pintando en la plataforma arriba el domingo en la mañana.  Aqui estan sus obras que ya estan ofreciendo en la subasta de arte.

Vista de arriba, Marianela Moreira, 2011, acuarela, precio base $60

Su hija,  Huarya esta en el octovo grado.  Igual que sus padres, es una gran artista.  Ella subió un arbol en la escuela (ver “7th and 8th graders rise with ropes and jumars) y luego pasaba la noche en la plataforma Joyce/VanDusen. Su pintura abajo tambien esta en la subasta.

Begonia, Huayra Castillo, (grade 8), 2011, base price $60