Ethnobotanical Conservation Projects

Planting an African Sacred Grove

Hidden Garden will soon be home to a circle of plants which are all of African origin or of great importance in Afro-Costa Rican ethnobotany. For many years we have been researching the ethnobotanical experience of the Afro-Latino Diaspora and hearing stories of interdependent survival. Based on years of research here at the garden and the revolutionary…

Wellness Storytelling Videography

Traditionally, health education in the Latin America and the Caribbean has been based on storytelling, practical experience and intensive apprenticeships. Within each community there would be different levels of health expertise, from mothers making tea for tummy aches to a regional elder who specializes in advanced levels of disease. Hidden Garden, together with the Rich Coast Project, is creating videos of local people telling their stories of ancestral wellness. With the permission of the their subjects, these videos will be included in the Rich Coast Archive online, with access available though our botanical database when relevant. This project encourages the survival of the traditional health education strategies of storytelling and communal sharing of knowledge for the good of all.

Creating an Ethnobotanical Database

Hidden Garden’s Ethnobotanical Sanctuary is home to over 200 plants which have been used by local people in their wellness and survival traditions. Our nursery is home to many of these plants, available free of charge to local residents. We receive both local and international visitors in the garden, providing an equal opportunity to access traditional information of the area’s ancestors. This project will facilitate the organization of this information and create a multi-lingual, user-friendly database for the garden’s website, to be used by local residents, nursery clients and/or visitors to the garden.

Mini-Guide to Bri Bri Medicinal Plants

Hidden Garden has been collecting information about the local medicinal plants for many years. In our field trips to the Bri Bri Indigenous Territory nearby, we have found a lack of access to ethnobotanical research and modern taxonomy. This project seeks to remedy this situation by organization scientific information about the plants most used by…

How are we using donations?

  • Supplies for Hidden Garden’s endangered plants nursery, resource library and the development of the ethonobotanical sanctuary.
  • Research, documentation and dissemination of ethnobotanical information relevant to Hidden Garden’s botanical collection, Caribbean, Bri Bri and/or Costa Rican flora.
  • On-the-job training in ethnobotany and garden management for our 23 year old gardener Maycol Hernandez, who is studying herbalism at Hidden Garden as well as with his family members, and getting his GED at night. Maycol is of Afro-Caribbean and Bri Bri descent. For over a year, Hidden Garden has been subsidizing Maycol’s on-the-job training and motivating him to learn the uses of the plants his grandparents relied on for good health. His interest in pursuing a career in traditional agriculture and ethnobotany is unusual in his neighborhood and in the nearby Indigenous reserve where his grandfather still lives.
  • Scholarship funds to cover local residents’ participation in cultural conservation activities. Hidden Garden’s educational program is one of very few organizations which aim to introduce the traditional medicine of Latin America into mainstream Alternative Medicine. Of equal importance is supporting the survival of these traditions within Latin America, which is why we offer free classes, partial scholarships and work-exchange options to those of Latino or Afro-Caribbean ancestry.

Thank you so much for taking an interest in our cultural conservation project. Please feel free to learn more about The Caribbean Ethnobotanical Sanctuary, research this topic in our online library , or explore a visit to our center.