Nosara, Nature

Nosara Challenge: A Competition Where Everyone Wins

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There are many challenges that end in competitions, but few with such a positive result as the Nosara Challenge.

The Nosara Challenge is a competition whose platform is the social network Facebook. The idea came from Hayden, a 9-year-old American girl, and the effort of Page Sieffert, 38, who lives in Guiones and  La Esperanza.

The desire of both, as well as other children from the community, was to look for ways to prevent bottles and plastic items from ending up in rivers. However, after seeing the movie “The Island of Plastic,” Hayden thought the best way would be to create a challenge similar to the famous Ice Bucket Challenge.

The Ice Bucket Challenge generated 2.4 million videos on Facebook with people being challenged by friends to have a bucket of ice water, dumped on them, and upon doing so, they donated money to investigate  the brain disease commonly referred to as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

With this idea in mind, in late September of 2014, Sieffert opened a Facebook account called Nosara Challenge and three months later, it has accumulated more than 390 followers and “countless” people challenged, according to Sieffert.

One of the challenges that stands out is that of Yali Becly McGregor and Kristin O’Connell, who proposed raising funds to pay the costs of a truck to collect recyclable waste. “Two years of funds were raised to keep the recycle truck running,” Sieffert said.

Another achievement by the group called “No more plastic in Nosara” was that, to date, 14 businesses in Playa Guiones pledged not to sell plastic bottles with water and they bought recycled glass bottles made in San Jose to sell to their customers. Customers can refill them with filtered water.

“We create waterproof stickers with their [business] logos [for use on the glass bottles,” Sieffert related. They sell for $6 each bottle, and $1 from each sale goes to any community charity that has to do with the environment.

Nosara Challenge has also prompted some shops in the district to reduce the use of plastic bags or replace them with other materials.

Such is the case of Ricardo Micali, owner of Mini Super Delicias del Mundo in Guiones Beach, who now uses only biodegradable plastic bags.

For her part, Susan Brown, from the art business Love Nosara, designed reusable cloth bags to sell in local supermarkets with the message, “Plastic is not cool.”

Also, Jeffrey Grosshandler, owner of the Remax real estate agency, along with other local merchants, rebuilt a recycling collection center at the north entrance of Guiones Beach, which was in terrible condition and endangered the safety of workers from the recycling center.

In a community that aims at sustainable growth, efforts to have a cleaner community are not new in Nosara.

In 2013, the construction of the environmental classroom and recycling center next to the garbage dump was finished. The building is a point of pride for locals and an example for other communities to follow. The Nosara Fishermen’s Association and the schools Del Mar Academy and Academy Del Sol organize beach and river cleanups on a regular basis, involving community residents and the children.

When Sieffert is asked if she has future plans for Nosara Challenge, she replies “a lot” but clarifies that for now, she and her husband want to have recycling centers in each school and educate children about the importance of preventing waste from reaching the rivers, the ocean and our homes.

She also noted that several community members meet periodically to help bring to fruition those challenges that need an extra push. The meeting schedule can be seen posted on their Facebook account.

Nosara has many challenges and creativity is involved in all of them. Are you ready to compete?

This photo shows the recycling center at the north entrance of Guiones Beach before and after it was rebuilt by Jeffrey Grosshandler and other local businesses