Founder, Developer and Owner of Pura Jungla, Ray Beise.
From a very young age, Ray exhibited a strong interest and profound passion for social justice and environmental activism. Prior to founding Pura Jungla, he was deeply involved with non-profit NGO’s and was responsible for directing and managing volunteer initiatives in Central America. During these years, Ray was actively engaged in various socially responsible programs, such as projects to provide clean drinking water to small villages and the construction of bridges to connect remote rural communities.
These experiences were not only fulfilling and meaningful, but they also implanted a profound understanding of the interconnectedness between social welfare and environmental well-being. With his great love for nature and the environment deeply rooted in his core values, Ray was ready for the next chapter in his life.
The Birth Of Pura Jungla
A visionary and insightful man at the age of 34, Ray encountered what was to become his greatest life mission. He stumbled on an abandoned and devastated 100 hectares of cattle farm nestled in the village of Paraiso, Guanacaste, in northwestern Costa Rica. Deprived of life and afflicted by erosion, this deserted land presented itself as an extraordinary challenge. As he contemplated the territory, Ray had a vision and a dream that would forever transform the fate of his new acquisition.
And the journey began..
Inspired by the principles of permaculture, Ray employed techniques that promoted the lands’ vitality and resilience, such as water conservation and soil building, gathering vast amounts of organic matter to create compost and give the earth proper nourishment. With his devoted attention and focus, he carefully designed and crafted a nurturing environment for Mother Nature.
Life was reintroduced to the land. Eco-systems and micro-organisms started emerging and evolved at a pace that almost defied science. These miniature living sanctuaries were the foundation to what was to become Pura Jungla.
The next phase of reforestation
Yet the greatest challenge remained the planting of thousands of seedlings of native trees. Well aware of the vast importance of biodiversity and ecological niches, Ray meticulously selected and introduced very specific tree species that would benefit nature and provide vital habitats for bees, birds, bats and other wildlife in need. In addition to assisting the natural order of things, this intentional approach was also focused on an urgent need to support and protect highly threatened and locally extinct species.
Obtaining the original native tree seeds was not an easy task, as not many native parent trees were present in the area. Some were even extinct and nowhere to be found in close proximity. Ray had to “seek out” parent native trees from other forests from a distance, trying to remain as close to homeland as possible. Countless hours, observing and patiently waiting under their canopies, anticipating that precise moment when the seeds would be ready for harvest. At times, he even slept beneath the branches, protecting the seeds from hungry birds and animals, so that he could collect them just at the right time.
Imagine a vast open-air nursery, where tens of thousands of sprouting seedlings stood ready to be planted, marking the beginning of their new life as an authentic tropical deciduous forest. Ray’s determination and commitment even got the attention of MINAE, the Costa Rican government conservation department, specifically interested in acquiring these indigenous seeds for their own conservation project.
Volunteers and members of the surrounding communities joined forces to help in this stage of the reforestation efforts. Together they planted hundreds of thousands of a wide variety of species, all of which stood as a symbol of hope for the forest’s revival.
Mother Nature was provided with the necessary resources and environment to rebuild and restore her natural domain. As time passed, she successfully prevailed, and Pura Jungla emerged as a thriving and flourishing primary tropical forest.
The fruits of a labor of love
We as human beings are an intricate part of nature. Our actions and choices have an undeniable influence on the environment, and by serving and attending to Mother Nature in a balanced loving way, she graces us with her magic and wonder. Pura Jungla is just but one of these proven miracles.
The ongoing care and dedication continued on in addition to other responsibilities, such as the controlling and prevention of forest fires and great efforts to stop the hunting on the property. Yet the beauty, richness and magnificence of Pura Jungla reach far beyond any hardship or labor.
As Ray is preparing for yet another new chapter in his life, he leaves a legacy not only with the Pura Jungla Eco-Community, but also with the next generations to come who will be watching over Pura Jungla one day.