Las Nubes Project was created by Dr. Howard Daugherty from the Faculty of Environmental Studies, after a generous donation made by noted Toronto physician Dr. Woody Fisher to York University in 1998.
The Fisher Fund for Neotropical Conservation, created in honour of Dr. Woody Fisher, supports the protection of the biological and ecological values of the Las Nubes Rainforest and adjacent area in southern Costa Rica. Working with the Faculty of Environmental Studies of York University and the Tropical Science Center in San José, the Fisher Fund has made significant achievements in research and conservation programs in biodiversity protection, rural sustainability, environmental education in local schools, and the use of Geographic Information Systems and remote sensing as decision-support tools for environmental management.
Creation of Las Nubes
Las Nubes (“The Clouds”) is a rainforest in Costa Rica which has generously been donated to York University by Dr. Woody Fisher, a prominent Toronto physician, medical researcher and co-founder of the Canadian Liver Foundation. York University’s Faculty of Environmental Studies created the Dr. Woody Fisher Fund for Neotropical Conservation to protect this rainforest habitat through an agreement with Costa Rica’s Tropical Science Center.
But the contribution of Dr. Woody Fisher did not stop with the donation. Each year, Dr. Fisher and his wife, Mrs. Valerie Grant, help York University to raise funds to support the Las Nubes Project and actively participate in different activities, encouraging students to continue with their legacy.
The Faculty of Environmental Studies is a leading centre in Canada for research on environmental and development issues.
The Tropical Science Center, established in 1962, is one of the pre-eminent ecological research and conservation institutions in the Neotropics. The TSC has pioneered the “protected areas” movement in Latin America through the creation of the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve.
Las Nubes is located on the Pacific slope of the Talamanca range in Southeast Costa Rica, an hour outside the city of San Isidro El General. To the northeast of the property is Chirripó National Park which continues into La Amistad, an international biosphere reserve which Costa Rica shares with Panama. Las Nubes thus forms part of one of the largest rainforest ecosystems in Central America.
The Río Peñas Blancas is the main river flowing through Las Nubes with its crystal-clear water cascading over rapids and waterfalls. Several deep gorges dissect Las Nubes. Downstream lies Los Cusingos, the lowland wet forest homestead of the world-renowned ornithologist Dr. Alexander Skutch. The Tropical Science Center now protects Los Cusingos as a bird sanctuary.
Under the direction of Prof. Felipe Montoya the Las Nubes Project mission is to contribute to community well-being in ways that are compatible and conducive to environmental conservation. Las Nubes does this through faculty and student research, environmental education, and through community engagement initiatives. By means of the Project's permanent and long-term presence and relationship with local communities and organizations, Las Nubes aims to develop a grounded theory and praxis around the sustainability of healthy and gratifying rural lifeways respectful of, and in harmony with the natural environment.