Rebeca Justcia and Rodrigo Ontaneda, environmental and social entrepreneurs, decided to take action against the damage that deforestation and human poachers were causing the environment of Ecuador. In 1987 they decided to create the Fundacion Maquipucuna. The following year they were recognized by the government as a non-profit nature conservation organization.
The non-profit Maquipucuna Foundation raised money to buy and protect a large swath of the richly biodiverse cloud forest of the Choco Andean corridor just two hours outside of Quito.
It spans an area of fourteen thousand acres, which is between 3000 and 8800 feet above sea level.
The elevation range provides the reserve with an extremely diverse mix of plant species, birds, and animals, and the home to the rare spectacled bear.
The foundation has also had an important impact on local communities.
They operate an ecolodge and non-profit nature preserve, and have managed to incorporate the community in eco-tourism and sustainable projects. Former wildlife and lumber poachers are now gainfully employed as guides, lodge staff and organic farmers growing native bamboo, cacao, and organic coffee in fields that are bird friendly.
They also educate the local community on sustainable living while conserving nature. They have received local and international awards for their efforts.
A visit here will provide you a unique bird and wildlife viewing experience and help support the local community efforts.
Photos provided by Pat Morrow