One has only to read the fine book entitled Green Phoenix: Restoring the Tropical Forests of Guanacaste, Costa Rica by William Allen, to realize what a towering figure Alvaro Ugalde was in the history of Costa Rica’s rise to environmental greatness. It is very sad to learn he has died much too young, and his clear and strong voice has been silenced.
I learned about Alvaro’s political acuity, courage, and dedication from my former husband, Luis Diego Gomez, a botanist and former director of the Museo Nacional, who knew Alvaro well. They were allies and strategic partners in the early years of fighting for Costa Rica’s National Park system. My husband Harry and I were fortunate to spend several hours with Alvaro, Evelyne and David at Nectandra some ten years ago. Alvaro’s commitment to the work of education and community organization for watershed restoration in the cloud forest ecosystem and beyond must have brought him tremendous satisfaction in the last years of his life. We felt privileged to learn from him about the mission and have continued to support Nectandra in large part because of his own commitment to it.
To all who have been close to him Harry and I send our heartfelt condolences.