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Nature has always been a safe heaven to me. As a little girl my grandmother would pick my brother and I up from kindergarden and we would walk back home through long, beautiful forest-ramblas where she would impart “botany classes”.  I remember the hot, easy afternoons and the smell of freshly cut grass (this place had constant maintenance) and my grandma´s voice explaining which herbs were good for what illnesses and how bees pollinated the flowers as we walked home. How she told such simple stories was fascinating. It was my favourite part of the day.

Ever since those days I began to see plants and nature very fondly. I remember thinking the environment was this magic blanket that covered the whole world – and it had the power to heal every illness and evil on the planet. It felt like nature was this mystical force; enchanted and undiscovered. I wanted to know more.

My biology studies were brief but that early curiosity prevailed. To this date most of my leisure reading is on environment, biology or physics – and most of our design inspiration comes from organic sources. That is how I know grandma had an effect on my brother too. (see our design company here) In fact, the company was named after her maiden name…

… I am not sure why neither of us became scientists . . . although, in our own crazy creative way we might be. We constantly experiment with materials and collect skulls and dried insects for “inspiration”. We also have sent a percentage of our earnings to environmental causes – from day one.

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With that background it was no surprise that when I arrived to Costa Rica 4 years ago (all mighty natural paradise) I became involved with a Puma-rescue association “Centro de Rescate las Pumas“. I had previously worked at The United Nations Environmental Programme and I had managed Coastal Rescue projects before – but I had never seen a place do so much with so little: One vet, one biologist-administrator-promoter-fundraiser, an admin support and two guys that risked their lives everyday feeding the felines had created an incomparable sanctuary on the side of going-to-nowhere highway Costa Rica.

This site began as a home shelter created by the Hagnauer Familly (swiss expat pioneers in Costa Rica) over 50 years ago! They had take in the wounded and made the tamed fierce so they could return to their habitat. Now the center was this massive operation, holding over 30 species – and they were about to run out of personal funds to continue their labour. Fuck.

Wouldn`t you have at least tired to do something too?!!

I came in offering to volunteer and eventually earned their trust with a strategy. I helped them analyse their cost structure, their cash leaks, their potential sources of revenue. I was seriously comited and utterly in love with the regal felines that they so zealously guarded. I was specially smitten by Rafa (he´s my grumpy Jag).

We worked to clean up the admin and in exchanged I got to go to the sanctuary whenever I could escape San Jose. Then,  on one of my visits to the centre I saw Esther, the biologist, who had just come back form a collaboration in the USA. It was feeding time and she was encouraging the pumas to paint – yes. PAINT!!

My thoughts were: WTF. WOW. .. WOOOOWWWWWOO!!!!!… you have to be kidding me…is that safe for them? (yes it is by the way. They would NEVER put them at risk.) and finally: … wait…KICHING! 

Eventually the creative side always creeps into all my projects – and there it was – the golden opportunity to raise some (much needed) funds. And so, we began to plan a silent auction to sell the felines´ art.

As you know, if you follow me on Instagram (@dicarolina / @adls_design) I have had a crazy run with my own company and after organising the work schedule for the gala and gathering a series of donations from emerging artists, I had to step aside – but they carried on. The biologist became and event planner and the vet a logistics coordinator – and the have done a job worth an ovation.

And today, ladies and gents, today is D-day. With the roaring sounds of the Jaguars in the background (recorded by G-N Jaguar) and with the ghostly memories resurged from my long walks with grandma, The Fundraising RESCAT-ARTE Gala is here – And this is my outfit (Yes, and I resisted the urge to wear leopard print). . .

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Dress by BCBG

Jewellery by Express

Shoes by Mother Nature


And by the way – if you love Big Powerful Kitty Cats – donate! CLICK HERE or Contact Esther, the biologist estrella81 @ gmail.com

special thanks to my husband for his support and photos. X


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