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Bandera Azul Recognition
El Torito y San Fernando Schools Earn Blue Flags for Cleanliness

By Arianna McKinney

On behalf of Torito's blue flag committee, sixth grader Santiago Hernandez, English teacher Monica Falles Calderon and sixth grader Arismael Barquero Acosta display their school's second blue flag.


Just the idea of winning a blue flag is enough to motivate students to stop littering, to pick up trash and to recycle, making both their schools and their communities cleaner. Two schools in the Samara area earned the prestigious blue flag (bandera azul) this year: El Torito and San Fernando. Flags were presented to Guanacaste institutions at Coopeguanacaste in Santa Cruz on Friday, April 29th and a special celebration to raise the flag was held at San Fernando school on Friday May 27th, featuring a dramatization about the environment.

San Fernando representatives display their school's blue flag: (from left) 6th grader Tatiana Perez Matarrita, Board of Education member Luz Matarrita Matarrita, science advisor asesor de sciencia Rolando Sanchez, teacher Odette Baltodano Vargas, blue flag committee member from the community Eithel Acosta Castillo, school board member Lorena Rojas Porras and fifth grader Jaizel Hernandez Rojas.

El Torito has participated in the blue flag program for three years now. The first year, they earned an honorable mention, the second year one star and this year two stars. School Director Maria de los Angeles Acosta Gomez said the students identify with the program, get excited and ask, 'we're going to win, right?' The difference the focus on cleanliness has made both at school and in homes in the community is noteworthy. She said it's been a hard job since the town is very populated and had bad habits, but since the school began participating in the blue flag program, Ministry of Health representatives have commented to her that houses' patios are cleaner, and dengue, common in the community a few years ago, has practically disappeared.

San Fernando participated in the program for the first time this year, focusing on maintaining the institution, implementing a schedule for cleaning bathrooms and weekly general cleaning with all the children participating. The children also go to nearby areas in the community to pick up trash and are learning the importance of recycling and caring for nature, reported teacher Odette Baltodano Vargas. In each classroom, they now have bins for recycling paper, plastic and cardboard.


Carrillo Beach proudly displays the Bandera Azul

Carrillo Beach received the Bandera Azul on April 30th. In honor of the achievement, ministers of the Republic of Costa Rica visited Carrillo, including Vice President Alfio Piva Mesen, Vice Minister of Education Silvia Viguez, Executive President of AyA (Acuaductos y Acantarillados) Oscar Nuñez, Minister of Social Wellbeing Dr. Fernando Marin, and Executive President of the IFAM Juan Marin.

Samara Beach Working Hard

By Arianna McKinney

Casatur, Samara's Chamber of Tourism, is coordinating efforts to earn the prestigious bandera azul (blue flag) for Samara Beach and hopefully attract more tourists to the area. To earn the blue flag, beaches are evaluated on factors such as the quality of ocean water and potable water, sanitation, security, environmental education and community participation in maintaining the beach.

President of Casatur Marco Carmona explained that they have received permission to divide the beach into two sectors with the possibility of earning the flag for one or both parts of the beach. The river Mala Noche is the dividing point between north and south Samara Beach.

To maintain cleanliness and care for the environment, Casatur is looking for additional donations from local businesses to continue to pay a person to clean the street and beach five days a week, a program which has been in place for three years.

In another effort to improve garbage collection, the Municipality of Nicoya has identified a truck that will be dedicated to picking up trash in Samara. However, funds are needed to get the truck up to date with the technical revision. Carmona hopes the truck will be available by June.


More Community News

“Circo del Mar” Arrived to School Serapio Lopez

On June 14th Del Mar Academy students shared their talent show, “Circo Del Mar” with the Serapio Lopez students. The show, which originally debuted on April 15th at Del Mar Academy’s campus, was inspired by the environmental theme for the 2010-2011 year – Water Conservation. (with video)

Parenting Today:Using Math Every Day

Many parents have asked me how to help their child with math. Instead of looking at multiple equations and worksheets, think about math in every day situations. Wherever you go, whatever you do, math is all around. 

Samara residents try to reclaim plaza for soccer

Every community in Costa Rica has four cornerstones: the church, the school, the community hall and the soccer field; well—almost every community. For the past seven years, Samara has been without a proper soccer field.

Paving the Road to Nosara: a 3-Year Delay is Unconscionable

Nosara has been our vacation destination of choice for six years and after an exhaustive search we finally settled on a piece of property for our home. We felt the time was right: prices had softened, we identified the perfect parcel and as an added bonus, President Chinchilla had just given a speech in Nicoya stating that the paving of the road from Samara to Nosara would begin in July of 2011.

Municipality Plans to Open Office in Samara

Mayor Marcos Jimenez confirmed that the Municipality plans to open an office in Samara during the first week of July, although opening the office requires much preparation.

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