Edition: March 2012

Conservation in ACTION

As we wrap up our Coastal-Marine Research Program with the Danish International Cooperation Agency (DANIDA) we're pleased to share some of the project's successes.

Protecting Turtles and Marine Resources
Our Sea Turtle Ranger program has been strengthened. With help from PRETOMA, we've provided turtle first aid training to our rangers so that we can help revive turtles caught in fishing nets and help them return to health. And thanks to additional support from Fauna and Flora International (FFI), rangers have also received training in techniques to apply satellite transmitters. Through DANIDA's support, we will be affixing six transmitters to Hawksbill and Green turtles over the coming months.

Additionally, we've provided traditional first aid training to help the rangers keep themselves safe and injury free on beaches. Our rangers received a refresher course on First Aid from the Nicaraguan Red Cross.

We are building the basis for long-term protection of reefs and turtle habitat. Marine biologist Arturo Bocos from UABCS-Mexico gave training to Nicaraguan biologists in underwater monitoring methods and techniques. Nicaraguan undergraduate student Anielka Barilla just completed an assessment of dive fishing carried out on local reefs. And, the University of Costa Rica led a team of researchers to evaluate the reefs and their habitat quality for foraging sea turtles.

Taking advantage of the visiting researchers, Paso Pacifico celebrated a symposium on coastal-marine conservation in San Juan del Sur, with participation from FFI, UNAN-Leon, and University of Costa Rica.

Empowering Coastal Communities
Through DANIDA and Turner Foundation support, we've launched a new Junior Ranger program where local youth can take on service and learning projects to earn points and eventually achieve Junior Ranger status. Over 120 local children are enrolled in this nature-based learning program and service projects such as clean-ups and tree plantings are underway.

We have equipped local fishermen with Flip cameras so that they may film their work at sea. Their short films are now being compiled so that they may be shared with the entire community. Creating a sense of pride in the ocean and its resources will help us build awareness with the fishermen.

Understanding community perspectives is also vital. Thus, as part of this project we carried out an assessment of community attitudes and perspectives on sea turtles. We also designed a process and initiated meetings to reduce conflicts surrounding sea turtle conservation.

Pictured above: These locals line fishing in the waves are some of the fishermen working with Paso Pacifico toward the sustainable fisheries which are part of the DANIDA project.

Paso Pacífico in the News

We are proud that Marvin Chevez, a former Paso Pacífico turtle ranger, not only received a scholarship to study at Mt. Hood Community College, but was featured in an article about the SEED program (Scholarships for Education and Economic Development) in The Oregonian

Marvin and his colleagues in the SEED program have spent the past two years studying natural resource management and now has many ideas on how his community can benefit from this experience.

As Marvin told The Oregonian, SEED has helped him “see the possibilities” and develop “tons of ideas” for community service and environmental conservation. We will be happy to help welcome him home to Nicaragua.

Read more about our Turtle Ranger program.

View our Turtle Ranger slideshow.

Check out La Prensa's guide to identifying the various species of sea turtles found in Nicaragua.

Partnerships make it possible

We are pleased to introduce our new partner, the French NGO Projets Plus Actions, dedicated to microprojects designed to advance culture, education, economic development, health, and the environment.

Projets Plus Actions is helping us with project design and fundraising for both our jaguar and sea turtle conservation programs. Recently, they awarded us with a grant supporting materials and equipment for the sea turtle hatchery in Ostional.

Their description of our joint efforts (in French) is available here.


Team member spotlight

Paso Pacifico's national director, Liza Gonzalez, has been with Paso Pacifico from the beginning, when she and Sarah Otterstrom made our very first connection for conservation in South Africa.

Sharing a vision of viable biological corridors and empowered communities, Liza left her job as Director of Nicaragua's National Protected Areas System to help Sarah found Paso Pacífico.

An ecologist by training, Liza manages operations in Nicaragua, and represents us at home and abroad. Just this month she traveled to Huatulco, Mexico to speak on prioritizing nesting beaches at the 32nd International Sea Turtle Symposium.

Jaguar populations in Latin America are shrinking as human activities like logging and highway construction destroy their habitat and corridors.

To protect the last population of jaguars in Western Nicaragua, we need to find out how many there are, where they roam, and what the most immediate threats to their survival are.

You can help!

Visit our project page at Petridish.org, the new crowdsourcing platform to advance science.

Help us study and save this newly discovered population of jaguars!

This month, we're especially grateful to Paso Pacífico Board Member Gian Marco Palazio, the driving force behind Proyecto Tesón, Tesoros de Nicaragua.

Proyecto Tesón partners Comunidad Connect and Café Las Flores are also dedicated to cleaning up the San Juan del Sur river catchment. The project report is online.

Congratulations to Gian Marco for the National Guenguense Prize for Excellence in Tourism awarded to Café Las Flores/Mombotour.

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