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Sep 7, 2018

Expanding horizons

Dear Donor, may you receive a warm greeting. Generous gifts from donors like you provide the financial and moral support needed to continue our mission.

With your financial contribution you have demonstrated your deep commitment to our work of achieve a quality and affordable pediatric care center. 

Your support plays a key role in our success in improving the health conditions of the local underprivileged child population

There is no way to fully express our gratitude ! We at the Grupo Puntacana Foundation are continually inspired by the dedication and generosity of donors like yourself who answer the call to give.

Nowadays the center continues offering health prevention programs, outpatient consultations, dental care, vaccination, emergency, laboratory, x ray  and pharmacy services.

We are delighted to inform to you about the activities that took place during the last months:

  • Aiming to implement the unit to serve children with special health condition, we conducted a survey in the vulnerable communities of the tourist destination of Punta Cana, in order to locate the families with children with the aforementioned conditions. We had the collaboration of the University of Florida, the neighbors associations and the volunteers of the local Interact-Rotary Club and Grupo Puntacana company.
  • We delivered, together with the local Rotary Club, an ambulance to the pediatric care center. This vehicle is meeting the great need for transportation of the emergency cases that surpass the primary health care level and at the same time contributes to the operational efficiency of the center.
  • Together with "Centro de Diagnóstico Medicina Avanzada y Telemedicina-Cedimat" (Advanced Medicine and Telemedicine Diagnostic Center)  we held at the center a Pediatric Cardio-Vascular Mission. This included tests and clinical consultations (free of charges) for hundreds of patients, from newborns to 17 years old, living in vulnerable communities in the tourist destination of Punta Cana. At the same time, a conference was given to the center's medical staff about "Early detection of congenital heart diseases ".
  • Two x ray technicians from Akron Children's Hospital conducted internships and training sessions (about modern radiographic techniques) with the participation of the medical staff of the center.
  •  We began, together with Akron Children's Hospital, a Children Reading Progran for the benefit of the more than 150 patients who visit the pediatric center every day

Please see the 7 pictures attached to this report.

There are still many goals to meet, we hope that you will continue to partner with us in our commitment to achieve them:

  • The addition of an unit to serve children with special health condition (autism, physical disability, learning difficulty,)
  • Missing medical equipment
  • Staff training programs
  • Constant supply of medical supplies and medications.

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. 

Thank you very much again for your outstanding support

Best wishes,

Aug 9, 2018

Signs of success and hope for the Ridgway's Hawk!

Once again we are catching our breath after a busy nesting season for the critically endangered Ridgway’s Hawk. Conserving endangered species is hard work, but it can also be very rewarding. One thing I have learned from working on the Ridgway’s Hawk Project for 8 years is that species conservation is a struggle. There will be ups and downs, but this is an inherent part of the process. This past nesting season was a good example of this. In general it was an amazing season, with many records, and for sure an overall success. On the other hand we were reminded how important it is for us to keep a watchful eye on what is happening in nature, especially how our actions as humans can affect a critically endangered species.

A sure sign of success for a conservation project might be measured in many ways. For the Ridgway’s Hawk project, this success has been fairly easy to see. A steady increase in individuals, pairs formed, and wild nestlings fledged have been the project norm year after year. Like each year since the first wild pair was discovered in Punta Cana in 2013, this year we monitored a record number of pairs in the Punta Cana area. We observed 19 pairs with 17 of these pairs attempting to nest this season. We expected this increase and made the decision not to release more hawks in Punta Cana during 2018 so that we could focus on monitoring this ever-growing population. We also saw a record number of hatched nestlings from this population. Unfortunately, of the 21 nestlings which hatched, only 10 nestlings reached fledging (flying from the nest). In late April we began to find some nestlings dead below their nests. After investigating the cause, we feel that the most likely culprit of these mortalities may be secondary poisoning. Secondary poisoning occurs when a pest species such as rats are poisoned, but before the poison can kill the rats, a predator such as a hawk catches and eats them. We are still awaiting conclusive laboratory results as to the cause of this unfortunate loss. Regardless of the final results, we have already begun working with local institutions and residents to raise awareness about this topic. Our goal is to encourage local resorts and residents to search for environmentally safe methods to control rats and other unwanted pests.

Our work in LHNP (Los Haitises National Park) exceeded all expectations with a total of 134 pairs of Ridgway’s Hawks being monitored and a total of 141 new Ridgway’s Hawks fledging into LHNP. The most remarkable part of this achievement is that nearly 100% of the monitoring and hands on management of these pairs was done by locals in the communities where we work. Training and hiring locals is having a huge impact on how these communities view the Ridgway’s Hawk. Prior to our conservation work, many locals viewed the hawks as pests and would often shoot them. Now, locals see these hawks as a benefit to their community. These are the kinds of changes that have long lasting conservation impact.

A conservation project can only truly be successful by ensuring that the attitudes of people change. The best way to do this is through environmental education. The Peregrine Fund and our partners place a heavy emphasis on this aspect of our project. Each year we dedicate a significant portion of our time and budget to make sure that future generations grow to appreciate the natural world around them. A big part of this is understanding how nature can benefit us and that we must make compromises to ensure that we can live in balance with nature into the future. This year we hosted our 5th annual Ridgway's Hawk Day Celebration. We hosted 2 days of field trips to Punta Cana for roughly 97 local students and made a visit to one school where we hosted around 120 students. We conducted art activities focused on the Ridgway's Hawk and its habitat- students painted their individual creations on driftwood and other discarded/recyclable wood, while others worked in groups to create "murals" on plywood. We also played a dart game and a "bowling" game focused on the importance of habitat and the threats that hawks might face, as well as actions we can all take to help improve Ridgway's Hawk habitat. Another activity included birdwatching, where students birded in both forest and lagoon habitat, comparing both. Using field guides, students worked to identify several local bird species. We visited the area of Domingo Maiz where we worked with a student club of approximately 23 students. Participants created "Ridgway's Hawk" masks using recycled paper, felt, crayons and other art materials. We also played the "habitat dart game" with them. Finally, we hosted a Ridgway's Hawk Day Fair in conjunction with the local Farmer's Market hosted by Puntacana. We had a live hawk present, as well as art activities and games. In total, approximately 300 people were reached during the week-long celebration.

All in all it has been another extremely successful year for the Ridgway’s Hawk Project. Even though the nesting season is over there is still tons of work to do. We are currently planning several more education activities to be held in Puntacana as well as searching for the next release site for Ridgway’s Hawks. Next season is shaping up to be one of the busiest yet!

 

Jul 25, 2018

Beginning the construction

Dear Donor, may you receive our warmest greeting. We at the Grupo Puntacana Foundation can’t tell you how much we appreciate your support. Your donation means the world to us !

Your contribution will make a real difference in the lives of the underserved people who could be at risk of blindness due to the lack of timely ophthalmological care, specially those living at the eastern region of the Dominican Republic

We are more than happy to inform to you that the construction of the Ophthalmologic Center has already begun and it is going very well !, please see the two pictures attached.

Your generosity and commitment to this cause motivate us to going forward.

This and all the reports to follow will update you on the progress of the project and how your donation is been invested.

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 support,

 All the best !

 
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