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Feb 11, 2019

Coral transplantation update!

Table I
Table I

The transplant effort of coral fragments during the year 2018, began in the month of April and was completed in the month of December. During this period, a total of 1,023 fragments of the Acropora Cervicornis coral from the Puntacana Group Aquarium were transplanted. This corresponds to 887.38 meters of living coral tissue (Table I).

Table I. Number of fragments, total of transplanted tissue and number of tissue receptor sites of Acropora Cervicornis coral per month, during 2018. 

These fragments were transplanted in 9 different optimal sites as receptors of coral tissue (Table II), 4 of them were established during this season.

Attached are some photographs of the coral gardeners doing different activities within the process of transplanting coral fragments.

Table II. Geographic location of the transplant sites during the year 2018.

Table II
Table II
Coral Gardeners working (1)
Coral Gardeners working (1)
Coral Gardeners working (2)
Coral Gardeners working (2)
Coral Gardeners working (3)
Coral Gardeners working (3)
Jan 29, 2019

Amazing progress

Dear Donor, may you receive a warmest greeting.   We are so grateful for your support – you are making the vision of a better world much more possible.

 Thank you for believing in the power of generosity !

 We are delighted to inform to you that the construction of the Ophthalmology Center is going very well. At this moment the contractor company is working with the outdoor and indoor painting, the sanitary and electrical systems and the installation of the doors and windows. Please see the 2 pictures attached.

 This center, located in the underserved community of Veron, will benefit to thousands of people living in this and other deprived communities of the province, who can not access ophthalmological services due to their very limited economic resources.

We hope to have the center functioning in the last quarter of 2019; once we have the  equipment, the medical materials and the personnel necessary to ensure a high quality eye care.

 Truthfully, we could not do this without you

 We will keep you informed about the progress of the project. If you have any comment, advice or question, please feel free to direct them to us and we will answer as best we can. 

 Once again thank you very much for your donation, we really appreciate it !

 Best wishes

Jan 15, 2019

The 2019 Ridgway's Hawk nesting season has begun!

It’s January 10th 2019. I arrived in the Dominican Republic late the night before with a terrible headache from traveling. Fortunately, I was able to get a good night’s sleep and managed to wake up rather early this morning feeling refreshed and ready for the day. My plans didn’t really include making observations of hawks that morning due to an immediate trip pending to Santo Domingo, but as I sat in the project office at the Grupo Puntacana Foundation, I could hear hawks calling just right out front. Not really a big surprise as there has been a pair of hawks who claimed their territory in front of the foundation for over three years now. I continued to hear the birds call off and on then a very specific call rang in my ear. A call that you only hear when the birds are copulating or mating. The 2019 Ridgway’s Hawk nesting season has begun!

Times are changing fast on the Ridgway’s Hawk project. As many of you know, we did not release any hawks in Puntacana during 2018. After finding a total of 19 pairs of hawks during the 2018 nesting season, we have decided to stick to the same plan. Instead, we’ll focus our attention on monitoring these pairs so we can ensure that they are as successful at nesting as possible. With 19 pairs of hawks to monitor that will take a lot of time and dedication.

In other news, we have been looking at the future goals of the project and taking steps towards meeting those goals. One of The Ridgway’s Hawk Projects goals is to establish three self-sustaining and geographically distinct populations of hawks, apart from the original population in Los Haitises National Park. During the last two years we have been surveying sites in the Dominican Republic in search of the next release site. Surveyed sites have included national parks, scientific reserves and private property. Out of more than 15 sites surveyed, we chose Aniana Vargas National Park as the next Ridgway’s Hawk release site. Aniana Vargas is a relatively small national park encompassing about 130 km2. Like many parks in the Dominican Republic there are still people living within the park boundaries. This is really no surprise since the park was just created in 2009. The great thing is that the main cash crop is organic-bird friendly cacao or chocolate. Conacado, the cooperative that purchases cacao from local farmers, has a strict code of conduct which locals abide by in order to have the privilege of selling their products at higher prices. Some of these by laws include not littering, not killing wildlife, not polluting waterways, not cutting trees, and not using toxic chemicals or poisons. These helpful practices will go a long way towards protecting the newly released hawks.

As the Ridgway’s Hawk releases expand, so must our efforts in environmental education.  In Puntacana we learned that one of the best ways to multiply our efforts is by training people to educate others in their communities. In preparation for the upcoming releases in Aniana Vargas National Park, we hosted a 2-day workshop, in conjunction with Fundacion Cooperativa Vega Real, for 15 youth, teachers and park guards living and working in communities surrounding this protected area. Through dynamic activities including creating art using a raptor silhouette, constructing life-sized Ridgway’s Hawks out of recycled materials, putting on a play, and participating in “raptor Olympics”, participants learned how to identify some birds of prey found in Dominican Republic - including the Ridgway’s Hawk. They also learned about the key role these birds play in maintaining a balance in the ecosystems in which they live, and what we can all do to aid in their conservation.

Our hope is that everyone who came to this workshop will return to their respective communities and share their new-found knowledge with friends, family, and neighbors, to help us further spread the conservation message and help ensure the protection of Ridgway’s Hawks far into the future.

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