COMMUNITY INTERACTIONFlorblanca Sustainability
Think Globally, Act Locally.
Hotel Florblanca continually strives to move towards sustainability and support within our own community, knowing that these efforts can have far reaching effects beyond Santa Teresa. The following are actions we are taking to make sure we continue to move in that direction:
Hotel Florblanca provides at least 110 jobs in the community, both directly with the resort and also through vendors we reply on for products, materials, and services. These jobs contribute to improving the local economy.
We have had the opportunity to collaborate on remodeling projects and maintenance of community buildings through the Volunteer Program we developed with our workers.
Taking into consideration the distances and difficulties that the people of Santa Teresa have to face in order to continue or embark on their education, we have created a Training Program for our employees that deals with various topics including environmental, occupational, health, etc. This Training Program is shared with the community and other organizations in town.
In response to the increasing cases of crime in the area, we developed the Hermosa Beach Security Project, which has been active since its creation in 2012, eliminating the insecurity and fear that have been associated with the area in the past and bringing this beautiful beach back to our visitors and neighbors.
We signed the Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Explotation in Travel and Tourism as a sign of our commitment to our community and to developing a responsible tourism business. Learn more at (http://www.protegiendoles.org/codigo.htm)
Florblanca has been an active member of the Blue Flag Program since 2008. This program seeks to establish community organizations to comprehensively monitor the health quality of the beaches through water supply systems, proper waste disposal, and environmental education. Learn more at (http://www.visitcostarica.com/ict/paginas/mapas/areasurf.asp?tab=0).
We belong to the Environmental Committee of the Chamber of Tourism of Santa Teresa, developing recycling programs and training at the community level. The mission of this organization is to promote the area in conjunction with the development of the community by implementing a model of sustainable tourism. Learn more at (http://visitmalpais.com/about-us).
During the time we have been working hand-in-hand with Santa Teresa and the surrounding area, we have had the chance to participate in very important organizations in the greater community. This interaction with the community has provided us with a great deal of information on its specific needs.
Through our activity, we determined that the most vulnerable social group is the one comprised of children and teenagers because of the economical and tourist development in the area. The community has not provided this youth with cultural and athletic programs to keep them away from risky situations brought by tourism to an area like ours. Our local government has failed to counteract with viable solutions to these problems so we took on the task of finding cultural and athletic organizations that have shown a very good performance level, and who also need to be acknowledged and supported. In addition, we support some environmental initiatives that had spent several years trying to carry out their plans but with difficulty due to a lack of funds.
We identified some environmental initiatives that have existed for several years trying to carry out their plans but the lack of funds has made it difficult.
Our "$2 check out" system consists of giving our guests the option of adding $2 to their final bill to be devoted to meeting some of the needs of these groups, however it is not enough to reach the established goals and that is why we want to share the projects we support and thus unite their efforts for growth. Below are the options:
Baile Tipico de Manzanillo (Manzanillo Typical Dancers)
This is a group of 6-12 year old girls from our local school who began their training with their mothers and formed the first group of typical dancing on the area. Since 2012, they have participated in the popular FIA (International Festival of the Arts ) where they earn awards every year.
These girls need costumes and appropriate clothing for their presentations as well as tuition for their dancing lessons. In the past, a Florblanca employee collaborated on their training. However, this year the girls need the collaboration of a professional dancer to bring up their level of competition.
The average amount per girl to purchase a new costume is $80. A second option could be an open donation to help pay a professional instructor who charges approximately $30 per class.
Asociacion Deportiva Malpais Garabito- Puntarenas (Woman`s Soccer Team Malpais Garabito-Puntarenas)
25 college women organized themselves to form the nonprofit sports association "Malpais Garabito-Puntarenas" to carry out their childhood dream: play professional soccer!!
Breaking the paradigms of traditional Costa Rican society, these girls met many challenges to move up the ranks in our national soccer league. In 2013, they became part of the Costa Rican Women’s Major League. Now their mission is to maintain their level, so they have organized many fundraising activities such as the "Shark Football Soccer School" for children in Malpais.
Their job is to coach and teach kids between 5 and 12 years old. Funds raised are used for expenses such as nutrition and transportation of the team. Among their greatest need is the one of acquiring suitable uniforms which would cost $830 total for the 25 of them. It would also be a great help to provide them with sneakers or soccer cleats, gloves, shin guards, cones, balls, etc. These could even be second-hand items that will definitely get good use in training!
Programa Bandera Azul Hermosa-Santa Teresa-Carmen-Malpais (Blue Flag Program)
The objectives of this program are:
Control and protection of the sanitation and quality of sea and drinking water in coordination with the Health Ministry and AYA (Main requisite to obtain the “Bandera Azul”).
Constant cleaning of the beaches and streets.
Coordination, design, elaboration, placement and maintenance of signs at major tourist traffic points.
Environmental education through seminars given at local schools.
We earned our first Blue Flag award for our four beaches in 2006. Since then, the Environmental Committee along with other private and governmental agencies have managed to keep the award to the present day. However, the current great need is the installation of new garbage collection points in the area. These are urgently needed because of the growing number of visitors to the area in the last years.
The installation of recycling stations made of "plastic wood” which are rust and humidity resistant and valued at $730 each.
Biojardinera Escuela de Santa Teresa (Biofilter, Santa Teresa School)
Water shortages in the Santa Teresa area make this one of our most important collaborations.
Biogardens (known also as biofilters or wetlands) are ways of "ecologically disposing" of greywater. Wetlands absorb nutrients and filter particles from greywater, enabling it to be stored or sent through a properly designed system. The water passes through an excavation, with an impervious cover, filled with stones and plants that will filter the waters. Once the water meets the quality standards, it can be used for purposes which do not require potable water (irrigation, for example).
The proposed biogarden will filter water coming from the school’s kitchen sink, the hand washbasins, showers and urine from the boys’ urinals. Biogardens pass unnoticed as they look like any other garden. So, on top of being a natural way to filter greywater and a very efficient way to reuse water, they look really nice.
When building a biogarden, the first thing we do is assess the school’s current greywater production. We then design the form of the biogarden and its dimensions based on this assessment. Location is essential to this process so to determine the best location, we have to consider distance and altitude in relation the greywater production source, the land inclination and available space for the biogarden, the grease traps and the collection tanks.
Once the design is ready, earthworks will start to prepare the land. We then create an impervious cover for the biogarden, install the grease traps, collecting tanks, and the tubing system. The biogarden will then have to be filled with a rock base. Plants will be planted, final touches and aesthetic details will be installed.
Once the biogarden is ready, laboratory sampling of the outcome waters needs to be carried out to establish reuse. The process of building the biogarden will be held with the participation of members of the community, students, parents and teachers.
The total cost of the project is around $ 4,500 but we could start the project with an initial amount of $2,250.
As you can see, there are so mnany opportunities for Florblanca to make a difference in our local community. We truly appreciate any help or support our guests can provide to help ensure the continued safety and flourishing of our community.