GREEN ZONES is a community co-created project and artist book, which aims to share and protect the unique tropical dry forests found in Nosara, Costa Rica.
As Artist in Residence with non-profit NRDC, I was asked to create a project inspired by this unique ecosystem. Generously supported by the Pacific Foundation, two research trips in the rainy season of 2015 and dry season of 2016 immersed me in this region’s globally rare tropical dry forests. Unlike the vanished jungles of nearby towns, these forests which are known colloquially as the Zonas Verdes or Green Zones, had been spared through lucky circumstance. Without the federal protection provided to the nearby Ostional Wildlife Reserve, a diligent community group called the Nosara Civic Association, has managed to defend these lands—and the old-growth trees and multitude of species they contain—from the pressures of development for 40 years.
To encourage more people to intimately experience these special forests, as a way to create understanding and care, myself and my collaborators organized a series of free walks led by mindfulness professionals and conservation biologists. During these walks, community members were asked to make a photograph—using their camera to re-sensitize rather than dull their vision. Alongside a poem written for the book by Dave Snyder, the community’s photographs were compiled into this handmade artist book, entitled GREEN ZONES: Moments of Wonder in the Forests of Nosara, co-designed and published by Matt Austin of Candor Arts.
Created in accordance with the underlying ethos of the project, these bilingual books were printed with an eco-friendly inking process on 100% post-consumer recycled paper, include hand debossed, foil-stamped and letterpressed elements—and were handbound in the Candor Arts studio in Chicago.
The book exists in 3 editions: a softcover, hardcover and clamshell collector's edition. Profits from the book support the Nosara Civic Association’s work to protect the Green Zones into the future for humans and non-humans alike.