06 Jul Amazing leaders on the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica
The presence of leadership can come from the most unlikely places. While visiting the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica, I met Aida Bustamante. She is working with “Friends of the Osa” to understand “the population dynamics and extent of habitat necessary to support large mammals on the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica” (http://www.osaconservation.org/CameraTrapProject.html). To conduct her work, Aida needs support from private landowners and is reliant on private donations. Not only did she conceive, plan and executes the project, she is personally delivering presentations in English and Spanish almost daily throughout the region to rally support and change attitudes about habitat destruction, poaching, and other factors. She is literally a one-woman show with boundless energy and has infectious passion for her work. It’s nice to see a young leader walk the talk, and she is certainly not in it for fame, money or personal recognition. She sees the Wild Cats Project as an umbrella dynamic – that is, saving the predators at the top of the food chain keeps the entire ecosystem in check. Her work is certainly fascinating, but her leadership is just as intriguing. She talks about how important the “connections” are for habitat corridors, and the work she’s conducting is all about connections: Connections between schools, conservation groups, eco-lodges, private landowners, the local economies, and getting her work out through other organization’s newsletters. That’s leadership and she’s definitely one to watch!