Para la Naturaleza

Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico


  • 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and a public leader in environmental conservation and historic preservation in the islands of Puerto Rico​
  • 50-year trajectory

Operational Model

  • Ecology
  • History
  • Education
  • Volunteers
  • Agroecology
  • Communities

Our Habitat

  • Main island
  • 5 satellite islands
  • 4 islets
  • 588 cays
  • 2.2 million acres
  • 799 miles of coastline
  • 25 ecosystem types
  • Insular Caribbean Biodiversity Hotspot
  • Over 10,000 species identified

Puerto Rico's Landscape Integrity

Map 33

Our goal is to conserve 33% of the lands of Puerto Rico by 2033 while promoting an ecological culture throughout the islands

Current Status of Land Conservation

• 2000: 8% lands protected • 2021: 17% lands protected

Para la Naturaleza Land Conservation Achievements

• 35,625 acres of land • 1.7% of Puerto Rico’s territory • 64 natural protected areas

Natural Protected Areas and Historical Sites


Hacienda La Esperanza, Manatí

  • A historical 2,220 acre sugar cane plantation located near the karstic zone
  • Contains alluvial plains, beaches, herbaceous wetlands, an estuary and mangroves


Cabezas de San Juan, Fajardo

  • A 316 acre natural protected area containing mangroves, coral reefs, a subtropical dry forest, sandy and rocky coasts
  • It also has the Laguna Grande bioluminescent lagoon, one of the three bioluminescent lagoons within Puerto Rico


Hacienda Buena Vista, Ponce

  • An 82 acre subtropical rain forest with a river called Canas, that was previously a cacao, plantain and citrus fruit hacienda in the 20th century


Casa Ramon Power y Giralt

  • 0.12 acres
  • Birthplace of Ramón Power y Giralt, the first Puerto Rican delegate to the Courts of Cádiz in Spain

Antiguo Acueducto del río Piedras

  • First aqueduct of San Juan
  • Located in Río Piedras Botanical Garden
  • Linked to both the landscape and ecology of the Piedras river
  • National Register of Historic Places since 2007
  • In process of restoration

A collaboration with the Municipality of San Juan, JorgeRigau Arquitectos and Aldayjover: arquitectura y paisaje

Promoting an Ecological Culture

Inspiring Stewards of Nature

Educational Offerings

  • 32 years of environmental education


  • 43 nature and history tours
  • 22 workshops

2008 - 2020

Volunteer Participation

  • 33,390 unique volunteers
  • 205,935 participations
  • 594,048 hours donated
  • $7.5 million estimated value of volunteer time

2008 - 2018

Citizen Science

  • Includes: CC-HLE, Corals, DUNAS, Map of Life, Champion Trees, Archaeology, bird counts, coastal studies, etc.
  • 13,476 volunteers
  • 130,015 participations
  • 256,795 hours donated
  • $3 million estimated value of volunteer time


  • 5 tree nurseries

2018 - May 31, 2021

  • 284,242 trees produced
  • 105,778 trees planted
  • 18 biocomisos (school tree nurseries)
  • 9 botanical gardens (in INE schools)

Growing Food Sustainability


  • Grants: 132 farmers, $492,000
  • Funds raised for agroecological projects: $763,479
  • Training and workshops: 33 workshops
  • Demonstration gardens: 5
  • Community gardens: 5
  • Land leased to farmers: 1,581 acres (15 farmers / 28 locations)


  • Supporting resilient community development
  • Over 97,500 individuals impacted
  • An average of 46% of the population living below the poverty line
  • Lowest average household annual income $9,122 (Pellejas)
  • 33 community centers
  • Retrofitted with solar energy systems, as well as water harvesting and purification systems
  • Capacity building

School Programs

  • Environmental projects at INE schools throughout the islands of PR
  • Existing projects in 6 schools
  • 4 school gardens and
  • 2 butterfly gardens
  • 14 additional school projects in 2022

Casa Knowlton, Cerro Feliz Natural Protected Area

  • 47 protected acres
  • Sustainable alignment with surrounding ecology and integrated biodiversity

Community Garden Projects

  • A collaborative project with Mujeres de Islas
  • 3 satellite gardens at residences of women participating in the Siembra en SEVA project
  • Educational programming on plant health and maintenance

Leaders in Conservation of Culebra

  • A collaborative project with La Fundación de Culebra
  • 12 participants between the ages of 12-17 years from the Ecological School and Abbie School
  • Longterm community involvement and nature stewardship objective

Supporting Community Resiliency

3 community centers

  • La Fundación de Culebra Museo
  • El Polvorín
  • Mujeres de Islas

Flamenco Beach Botanical Coastal Forest

  • International distinction, ranked one of the top beaches in the world
  • Collaboration proposal with the Municipality of Culebra

Strengthening Coastal Communities

  • Vegetation survey and assessment plan by Vaccarino Associates

Enhancing Social Resilience

  • Reinforcing the natural systems of its coastal forest, dunes, and hydrology
  • Strengthening protection from future coastal climate events and natural hazards

Restoring Cultural Heritage: The Culebrita Lighthouse

  • Usufruct contract with the Municipality of Culebra signed on January 27, 2015 with a 20 year term, extendable by 10 years

A Stunning Ecological Treasure

  • Subtropical dry forest
  • 4 marine turtle species
  • Sandy and rocky beaches
  • 100 flora species
  • Native and endemic species
  • 80 migratory and endemic birds
  • 1,200 acres of coral reefs

Puerto Rico’s Easternmost Gem

  • The Culebrita Lighthouse is located in the easternmost point of the Puerto Rican archipelago
  • Built by the Spanish Crown between 1882 and 1886
  • E-shaped floor plan
  • One of the oldest lighthouses in the Caribbean (1886)
  • The only Spanish era building remaining in the Culebra jurisdiction

Protected within the National Register of Historic Places


  • Symmetrical single-story
  • Bronze cupola
  • Built of indigenous materials such as native stone, brick, sand, quicklime and local wood
  • Genoese marble
  • Cast iron stairs
  • Fourth-order Fresnel lens

The project received the 2018 Honor Award in Unbuilt Design by ToroArquitectos from the American Institute of Architects (AIA), San Juan Chapter

Design Plan

Floor Plan

  • Visitor Center, Reception and Exhibition Areas
  • Community and Educational Programming Areas
  • Investigative and Field Work Stations
  • Lodging Areas for Educational and Investigative Collaborations

Landscape Site Plan

Vaccarino Associates

  • ToroArquitectos in collaboration with Vaccarino Associates for landscape architecture
  • Careful and specific selection of vegetative species introduction

Planting Plan

Native Plant List

World Class Ecological Experience

Citizen Science

  • Map of Life Program
  • Scientific research
  • Data collection
  • Monitoring protocols self-guided interpretative signaling and exhibitions
  • Tour programming + environmental interpretation
  • Learning opportunities
  • Field station

Community Initiatives

  • Volunteer events
  • Outdoor classrooms
  • Gathering areas for community events


  • Historical and architectural tourism
  • A unique destination
  • Birdwatching
  • Sea turtle monitoring
  • Recreation
  • Surfing and paddleboarding
  • Snorkeling and kayaking
  • Boating and sailing
  • Botanical research
  • Camping
  • Hiking

Project’s Next Steps…

  • Design and permits for pier
  • Securing of financing through Tax Credits and CDBG funding
  • Begin construction

Reconstruction of the Culebrita Pier

Design and permit phase:

  • Protectores de Cuencas, Inc. In collaboration with Tetra Tech

Historical Book Publication


Thank You!