Dec 27, 2020

Fall adventures in environmental learning

Jr. Ranger clean-up at the end of rainy season
Jr. Ranger clean-up at the end of rainy season

Dear Friend,

During this challenging year, we thank you for supporting the Junior Ranger program in Nicaragua. Since our last update, the rains of the season increased and the once dry landscape turned green. Thankfully, covid cases decreased during this period and so we were able to resume educational activities in small groups.

It was not completely easy. Nicaragua was hit by two major hurricanes (Eta and Iota), and during those weather events, we canceled activities and focused on helping families move to higher ground. Eta caused damage and flooding in many homes, but Iota was less destructive in the far southwest corner of Nicaragua. Fortunately, all of our children were safe.

- In September, children learned about waste and recycling. Then, children participated in Nicaragua's international coastal clean-up along streams and beaches near their homes.  

 - In October we celebrated bats. Children learned about the important things that they do as pollinators, seed dispersers, and controllers of insect pests. They took some time to develop art projects focused on these . 

 - Children also participated in birding observation outings with the adult rangers and through lessons about birds and art projects. Outings included October Big Day where children learned how to use the eBird citizen science platform for recording bird observation.

 - After nearly a week of rains associated with the hurricane Eta, children participated in a listening excercise where they sat and listened to the forest and the sounds of birds and animals, and then wrote down their observations.

- A favorite field trip for the children was a trip to the mangrove estuary in early December where the children learned about the importance of these wetlands to wildlife and to protect the community from storms.

- As the rainy season has come to a close, there is a lot of garbage and debris that has been transported by water. The children finished up the year with one more beach clean-up. 

In our Junior Ranger program, we are once again practicing strict social distancing and outdoor- mask-wearing as reports of Covid in Nicaragua have begun again. 

We are grateful to you for supporting these children as explore their natural world and ways to protect it. 

Sincerely,

Sarah

Mangrove field trip and drawing excercises
Mangrove field trip and drawing excercises
Birds and painting on cardboard
Birds and painting on cardboard
Birding October Big Day
Birding October Big Day
Listening excercise
Listening excercise
Bats are pollinators
Bats are pollinators
Oct 29, 2020

Bright news for sea turtles

InvestEGGAtor vs. real eggs
InvestEGGAtor vs. real eggs

Dear Friend,

Thanks to your support, we have worked towards greater use of the investEGGator technology to protect sea turtles. We have also been able to sustain our community ranger team during these difficult times. Here are just a few of the developments made possible by your generous donations:

  • Earlier this month, the prestigious journal Current Biology published a paper about successful InvestEGGator field trials in Costa Rica. The research was carried out by doctoral student Helen Pheasey from the University of Kent in the UK in collaboration with Paso Pacifico. The study deployed over 100 decoy eggs on both the Caribbean and Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Result demonstrated that nearly a quarter of the eggs were stolen by trafickers. Stolen eggs mostly remain in the coastal and tourism areas, but that a portion of them end up in markets over 100 km away in urban centers.
  • We have enjoyed  sharing the results of this study, and at a time when there is so much negative news, the news media has really embraced our positive study results, including BBCThe EconomistThe GuardianNPR's All Things Considered and PRI's The WorldReuters, and over 100 other news outlets from around the world. Congratulations, you are part of these news stories too!
  • We look forward to deploying the investEGGator more globally. The South American government which purchased eggs from us earlier this year has solicited a new batch. They must have found them to be a useful tool! Two other countries have reached out to us about deploying the investEGGator in their country, one in Southeast Asia, and another in Central America.
  • Thanks to your help, we have been able to continue our community ranger patrols of beaches. Thank you. So far this year, our sea turtle program has had a low number of nesting endangered green turtles (23) relative to other years (average 50). Our community rangers have protected 60 olive ridley nests to date in 2020. One really bright now is that we have successfully protected 4 hawksbill nests, a critically endangered species. 
  • We have other positive development to share, including a new partnership in Eastern El Salvador to support a community-led sea turtle monitoring program, and a new partnership with the Autonomous University of Nicaragua in Leon to share sea turtle nesting data and to empower students interested in working with us for their undergraduate thesis projects.

Thank you so much for helping us to roll out the investEGGator technology to stop wildlife crime, and for making it possible for our team of rangers to protect nesting beaches in Central America. Have a beautiful day!

With gratitude,

Sarah

Paso Pacifico

Critically endangered leatherback hatchlings
Critically endangered leatherback hatchlings
Hawksbill hatchling sea turtle
Hawksbill hatchling sea turtle
Female ranger Liessi recording nest data
Female ranger Liessi recording nest data
Local tourists attend turtle hatchling release
Local tourists attend turtle hatchling release
Paso Pacifico rangers during 2020 Coastal Cleanup
Paso Pacifico rangers during 2020 Coastal Cleanup
Olive ridley turtles off the coast before nesting
Olive ridley turtles off the coast before nesting
Daytime nesting olive ridley sea turtle
Daytime nesting olive ridley sea turtle
Aug 7, 2020

Sustaining the Junior Rangers during COVID-19

Proud to attend virtual Junior Ranger lessons
Proud to attend virtual Junior Ranger lessons

Dear Friends,

As you know, COVID-19 has impacted lives around the world. In Nicaragua, the virus has been widespread and so we made the decision in April to suspend in-person Junior Ranger activities. However, this has not stopped us from reaching the more than 90 Junior Rangers who are enrolled in the 2020 program.

Here are some of the activites we have carried out since you contributed to our GlobalGiving Junior Ranger program:

- A nature-themed art contest where Junior Rangers created drawings and paintings focused on sea turtles, forests, and wildlife. We were wowed by the artistic talent of the children. 

- A crafting challenge focused on the use of plastic and cardboard waste. Children made art and useful household objects using a dollhouse from used cardboard, doll clothes from fabric scraps, and a toothbrush holder from plastic water bottles. Supporting the children as they explore the issues of pollution will help them to create cleaner, and healthier waterways. 

- In July we began our normal Junior Ranger curriculum, but we are implementing activities remotely. Cell phones are widespread in the rural areas and so we are providing phone credits to the parents so that we may call, and exchange information and instructions. Our educational team led by Anabel Chevez and with support from our female sea turtle rangers, are in regular communication with the children and their parents about the lessons. 

We would also like to share that your support has been a great compliment to resources we raised through our COVID-19 emergency fund. Our Junior Ranger program enables us to get to know the famlies. Some of the children live in difficult economic circumstances made worse by COVID-19 closures. For these families, we have been able to provide supplemental food and supplies during a three month period.  

We hope to be able to soon resume our in-person meetings with the the Junior Rangers in an outdoor space. We will continue to use your donations to support the families and the children in their learning. Thank you for making this possible.

Stay safe and healthy, and thank you again for supporting these children as they learn to care for wildlife and their future.

Warm regards,

Sarah

p.s. I have also included a link to a blog post about the "backyard birding" activity we carried out with the children. These and other socially-distanced activities with the children are keeping them engaged in observing their natural world. Thankyou again! 

The Jr. Ranger program involves the entire family
The Jr. Ranger program involves the entire family
Sea Turtle, a winning artwork in Nicaragua
Sea Turtle, a winning artwork in Nicaragua
Working on art project from home
Working on art project from home
Craft project from recycled materials
Craft project from recycled materials

Links:

 
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