Meet Visionary / Founder / Owner – Ray Beise
Meet the owner/developer Ray Beise, originally from Minnesota, USA. Ray left his hometown at the age of 18, the day after high school graduation, and embarked on a journey of work, discovery, adventure and creation throughout North America, Mexico and Central America.
From a very young age, Ray had an interest and passion for social justice and environmental activism. His socially responsible roots run as deep as his love for nature.
Prior to founding Pura Jungla, Ray was deeply involved with non-profit NGO’s and was responsible for directing and managing volunteers in Central America. During these years, Ray was engaged in various socially responsible programs, such as potable water projects for small villages and bridge building to connect rural villages.
After his travels, work and adventures throughout Central America, a young, 34 year old Ray, had a vision and a dream.
He purchased an abandoned and ecologically devastated 100 hectares (250 acres) cattle farm just outside the small village of Paraíso, in Guanacaste, northwestern Costa Rica. This is where he would make his dream and passion become a reality.
Thirty two years ago Ray acquired what would eventually become Pura Jungla. From the severely eroded nearly lifeless land he began the arduous, daunting task of encouraging the land back towards a recovering primary indigenous forest. He used permaculture techniques including soil building, water conservation and collected thousands of truck loads of organic material to create compost. Over the course of several years hundreds of thousands of indigenous trees were planted. Slowly, Pura Jungla emerged as an indigenous primary forest. This was and is a labor of love and commitment to nature and the earth by Ray and by those who participate in the Pura Jungla community.
With help from volunteers and members of the surrounding communities hundreds of thousands of indigenous trees were planted. The focus was on species that were highly threatened or locally extinct as well as species that offered food and a safe haven for wildlife known to be effective at seed dispersal. Species such as laurel, pochote, cocobolo, ronron, guapinol, alcornoque, tempisque and many others were planted and cared for.
Right from the get-go, acquiring original indigenous seeds proved to be a difficult task.
Ray would patiently observe and wait for the exact moment when these seeds would be ready for harvest. There were times when he would sleep under certain specific rare trees just to make sure he got the seeds before the birds and animals.
Imagine an open air nursery with tens of thousands of sprouting seedlings ready to be planted and begin their new life as an authentic dry tropical deciduous forest. Ray was even approached by MINAE, the Costa Rica government conservation department, specifically to acquire these indigenous seeds for their own projects.
All these years of Ray’s continuous care-taking, nourishing and dedication to the land has been successful.
MANY EXPERTS SAID IT COULDN’T BE DONE.
RAY PROVED THEM WRONG !!
Pura Jungla was, and still is, Ray’s labor of love and commitment to nature and to the earth. People who come to visit and tour Pura Jungla quickly understand Ray’s vision and his successful implementation. Most can’t believe this flourishing ecosystem was once barren land.