butterfly garden costa rica
butterfly garden costa rica

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San Jose Costa Rica Spirogyra Butterfly Project butterfly garden costa rica

Spirogyra Butterfly Garden is an Environmental and Socio-Economic Project:

The project is apparent in a display and production of butterflies in captivity -
yet it's causes are both Environmental and Socio-Economic in nature.

These Environmental and Socio-Economic causes are as follows:

  • Provide income and a way to make a living for women and men living in rain-forest buffering fringe areas

  • Create an ecologically safe way to use the environment, the land and rain forests

  • Create novel new ways to farm in a sustainable fashion

  • Get away from traditional and environmentally destructive methods such as:

    • raising cattle
    • lumbering
    • traditional agriculture and
    • other methods,
    which cause serious irreversible damage to the environment.
  • Educate the native population about ecologically sound and sustainable use of land and forest areas and conservation of these natural resources.

The Spirogyra project has been created to focus on commercialization of chrysalides, and managed by organizations located on different ecological level, all around the country, which accounts for a great variety of butterfly species that can be produced and commercialized.

The current groups included in this project are:

butterfly farming communities

ASOMUCAN: Caño Negro women association





Plus 15 INDEPENDENT BREEDERS and their families like:

  • Rolando Paniagua,
  • Flor Arias,
  • René Castro,
  • Auxiliadora Zambrano,
  • Arce Benavides Family
  • and others

Typical socioeconomic characteristics of the groups:

Group size varies from 4 to 15 members each.

Education levels among these women and men is as follows:

  • 47% - completed elementary school
  • 24% - have not finished elementary school

The communities where the butterfly farms are located offer few chances for employment for these women and men, with the most common occupations being:

  • The women - housekeeping of their own homes
  • The Men - agricultural labor

The scarce available alternatives for paid employment occasionally cause migrations to other zones of the country, where women and men are hired in banana packaging plants.


The chrysalides marketing is done through Spirogyra Butterfly Garden in San Jose.

The Siporgyra butterfly garden started construction in January 1992 and opened to visitors on October 6, 1992 to commence its goal of commercialization of butterfly pupae by exporting worlwide to support the small organized or individual producers that will raise and supply the butterfly pupae.

Benefits for the women of the project:

This project has generated important results for these women, achieved through responsibilities created by the groups' own efforts.

Among these are:

  • development of knowledge and new skills,
  • increased self-motivation
  • ability to achieve goals
  • reinforcement of values and attitudes
  • a higher self esteem and valuation within their family and communities.

Through participation in this project, the women and men have created a community environment in which they are able to:

  • discuss and analyze their problems and needs
  • learn ways to participate in community structures

Family Participation in the project

Through the participation of other family members in the butterfly farms, boys and girls started to help their mothers and fathers in the chores of collecting plants and butterflies. At the beginning men simply helped the women with the chores of cleaning the lots and the construction of the infrastructure. Now 2 decades years later men fully participate in all activities of breeding the butterflies and taking care of all duties required to operate the butterfly farms. Nowadays butterfly farming has become an acceptable alternative to making a living for many rural families and all family members work to sustain these farms, doing whatever it takes to do so, from preparing the ground, planting, harvesting pupae, packaging, shipping, etc. Butterfly farming is done by conventional family groups, as well as women with children, extended families with other relatives or whatever family unit is involved.

Significant positive Impact on the Environment

The project has caused both individual families, as well as entire communities involved in the project to broaden their view of their surroundings and appreciate more fully the existing natural resources within their communities.

Before the inception of the project, these locals thought that all the "worms"(larvae, pupae) were pests, and the host plants were undesirable weeds, unaware of their potential usefulness.

The perception of these people and their appreciation for nature has changed radically and they have become "practical" scientists, able to:

  • Identify the individual stages of the reproductive cycles of the butterfly species they are involved with
  • observing other "new"
  • explore for new species of butterflies
  • bring new species to the farming program to increase diversity of breeds.

Overall Goals are as follows:

  • Provide the means for minority (rural women and men) to increase their socio-economic status through the use of renewable natural resources
  • Teach local villagers environmentally sound farming practices
  • Train farmers on sustainable farming methods
  • Avoid the need to migrate from rain forest adjacent villages to other rural farming or urban areas
  • Avoid cutting down the rain forests in order to commercialize the wood growing on their lands
  • Avoid the environmentally harmful agrochemical agriculture
  • Avoid other non-sustainable and environmentally harmful practices

These new income producing alternatives empower these people to decide for themselves how to make a living, while creating a broader awareness of nature, and setting new standards for future generations to try and live in harmony with nature.

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