EcoLogic works in the Gulf of San Miguel region of Panama, located in the southern most Darien Province. Here, the poor water quality is negatively impacting human and animal life. The central purpose of this project is to protect the aquatic resources of the Gulf of San Miguel, while improving the lives of local people. It is because of the generosity of people like you, who have contributed to our work in Panama, that we have been able to make progress in this extremely remote region. During the past several months, EcoLogic has strengthened its relationship with the communities and begun collaborating with the Group for Environmental Education and Sustainable Management (GEMAS), a non-profit organization that works to protect the natural resources in the Gulf of San Miguel and specializes in sustainable fisheries.
Currently, GEMAS is working with EcoLogic to monitor the amount of fish that is being extracted in the communities of Punta Alegre, Congo River, and La Puntita. We hired a technician who has been monitoring the fishing activities in the area over the past several months and will continue to collect data until December of this year. With this information, we will be better equipped to advise the communities on where to make changes in their fishing practices so that they are fishing in a more sustainable manner. In addition, EcoLogic coordinated four fishing workshops, two in Congo River and two in Punta Alegre. The workshops focused on "Sustainable Fishing" and "Fishing Gear and Methods," A total of 18 people in Punta Alegre and 12 in Congo River, respectively, participated in the workshops and the enthusiasm of the fishermen was exceptional.
Thanks to the support of our donors, the communities have reforested eight hectares of degraded watershed and purchased all the materials necessary for the construction of a community nursery in Puerto Lara where 10,000 seedlings were sown. EcoLogic also established four pilot agroforestry plots and conducted additional workshops on topics such as, "The Proper Establishment of Agroforestry Plots" and "How and Why Plant Trees".
This year, with your help, EcoLogic plans to: (a) improve waste management practices and health and sanitation through waste management plans and dry composting latrines, (b) strengthen the protection of local fisheries through facilitating a community-led plan for the development of a protected area, and (c) protect the health of the rivers and watersheds through establishing micro-watershed management plans.
In these areas of concentration, EcoLogic will implement activities ranging from, but not limited to: leading educational workshops for local communities about waste management, building pilot latrines, and leading meetings with community water boards in the area.
The issues presented are central to the work in the region carried out by EcoLogic, which empowers the people in the community to be able to sustain themselves in the long-term and grants them access to pure and clean natural resources for years to come.
We thank you for your continued support in this fight for clean water and a sustainable future.
To prevent the devastation of the 52,000-acre forest of Los Altos de San Miguel in Totonicapán, EcoLogic is working with community leaders, authorities, and our partner, the 48 Cantones(the Maya K’iche governing body). This ancient community forest—one of the last remaining stands of old-growth coniferous forest that still exists in the region—sustains life for the Maya K’iche.
Gloria is a five-year-old K’iche Maya girl who lives near the forest just beyond the noise of the advancing chainsaws. Her family depends on the forest for their livelihood and survival. Without it, there would be no source of water for Gloria, her family, or the surrounding communities. For centuries, her ancestors and the community protected the beloved “Sacred Forest.” Today, her parents and her community continue the struggle to keep the forest alive and illegal loggers out.
Ten years ago, EcoLogic and its local partner organization the 48 Cantones built the area’s first state-of-the-art tree nursery with a gravity-fed sprinkler system. With your investment, over the years we have constructed eight greenhouses. Under the protection of a roof and timed-drip irrigation system, the trees’ survival rates are higher and production is far greater. With the hard work of our partner communities, our greenhouses can produce more than 100,000 saplings a year for reforestation activities in degraded areas.
Increasingly, this forest is exposed to the danger of a persistent enemy—the illegal logger. Outsiders endanger the forest and its abundant water sources, upon which thousands of lives depend.
Today, EcoLogic in helping the 48 Cantones develop and implement a plan to stop forest crimes: conducting a community-led assessment to determine more effective ways to combat the threat and identify the illegal timber traders, training forest guards and conducting patrols, and raising awareness through media campaigns.
As you read this, the chainsaws are at work. Gloria worries about the unceasing noise of the chainsaw that she hears growing closer. Will her precious forest and drinking water still be there when Gloria grows up?
Please continue to support EcoLogic's work through Global Giving and ensure that the forest will still be there for Gloria, her community, and future generations!
The following is a postcard from Lydia Sorensen, GlobalGiving's In-the-Field Representative in Guatemala, about her recent visit to Ecologic Development Fund.
Inside the vivero (plant nursery) in the hills of Totonicapan, Guatemala, Don Augustin gently lifts a young white pine from its tray to show me the healthy roots. He explains the importance of using the right soil depending on the type of tray, and using the right amount of organic fertilizer that he and his young relative Cesar make themselves. He waves his hands over the rows and rows of tiny seedlings describing each species (White Pine, Guatemalan Fir, Red Pine, Alder, just to name a few) and how he cares for them.
Don Augustin has been working with trees and seedlings for over twenty years, and with the Ecologic Development Fund’s reforestation project since the beginning. As he describes the trees, and their effect on the community (by helping to protect valuable sources of fresh water, and keeping the forests alive) it’s readily apparent that this is not only his life’s work, but his passion. Together with Don Augustin, Ecologic Development Fund is working with the community leaders to ensure that the beautiful forests covering the hills in Totonicapan are there for future generations.
“We may be poor,” says Don Augustin “but we work together.” The communities that will receive these trees come to help Don Augustin and Cesar with their work in caring for the seedlings, and in doing so not only “earn” the trees, but also learn about how to tend them. Surrounded by the peaceful quiet of the forest, he carefully plants a seedling in the ground, and I am filled with hope that this place will exist for decades to come.