Edition: May 2012

Conservation in ACTION

Many people have been highlighting the importance of bees lately. Much of the news has been bad: bees disappearing, crops failing, etc. Fortunately, while climate change, shifts in agriculture, deforestation, and other factors have threatened some bee populations, it is possible for bees to make a comeback. The really good news is we can help.

In Nicaragua, we're alleviating poverty and protecting biodiversity by reviving the ancient tradition of meliponiculture, the management of Melipona and Trigona bees, as practiced by the Mayans. Wild bees, which nest in hollow trees and ground cavities, are brought home by beekeepers who maintain healthy bee colonies and harvest honey and other hive products.

We have sent two Paso Pacífico representatives, Sarah Rudeen and Marcos Caleros to Chiapas to study at the Mexican university Eco-Sur to learn about native beekeeping and commercializing bee and honey products for the benefit of communities. Not only does the honey provide a valuable source of calories and a means of income for the beekeeper and his or her family, bees also provide valuable ecosystem services. Native bees maintain year-round pollination services in dry tropical forests, like those found in Nicaragua. Bees pollinate valuable cash crops in rural Nicaragua, and provide an estimated 50% of pollination in dry forests.

When our newly trained team of meliponiculturists return to Nicaragua, armed with information from Mexican beekeepers and entomologists, they will revive a rich cultural history and help individuals and local cooperatives save local ecosystems and launch new business ventures to economically empower rural communities.

We are grateful to the Turner Foundation for their generous support of our beekeeping program.

If you are interested, you can also make a contribution to our efforts to restore the ancient practice of meliponiculture for poverty alleviation and biodiversity conservation.

Beekeeper photos courtesy of Paso Pacífico intern Sarah Rudeen.

Paso Pacífico in the News

We're pleased that media outlets are increasingly reporting on the what's happening at the interdisciplinary junctions of natural sciences and social sciences where we work.

Earlier this month, CNN's Next List introduced viewers to efforts to alleviate poverty through beekeeping.

Last week, the New York Times Green blog highlighted the link between turtle populations and climate change. The piece really illustrated the importance of the work we do to protect critically endangered sea turtle nests and to mitigate climate change.

Just yesterday, Transworld Business announced the beneficiaries of this year's Surf Industry Manufacturers' Assocation Environmental Fund. We're on the list!

You can visit our blog, or follow us on Twitter or Facebook to keep up with relevant research and news coverage. If you come across any relevant articles or studies, or have any news of your own to share, please email us: wendy@pasopacifico.org

Partnerships make it possible

Running for Reforestation
Congratulations to the organizers of CARRERA VERDE, the first ever 'Green Run' to raise environmental awareness in Nicaragua! Over 1500 people ran the May 13th 5K, and the celebratory music festival included several local bands and another 1500 participants. Next week, the campaign culminates in a massive reforestation effort, planting 6000 trees, four for each of the 1500 registered runners.

The event received a lot of great coverage, including this English-language piece in the Nicaragua Dispatch:
Massive participation made 'Green Race' a hit
2,500 runners participated in Sunday's road race, the largest in the country's history. Now the reforestation efforts begin.               
As members of the Alianza Yo No Tiro Basura! alliance against litter, we are thrilled to be a part of this successful initiative to help draw attention to pollution, deforestation, and water issues.

Sea Turtle Bycatch Study
Thanks to Costa Rican NGO, PRETOMA, our partners in turtle research, we have completed our initial study gauging the effects of small-scale fishing and sea turtle bycatch in the La Flor Wildlife Refuge and surrounding waters. This study and the expertise of PRETOMA scientists is crucial to us for establishing a scientific baseline for the protection of sea turtles.

In continued cooperation with PRETOMA, Paso Pacífico is working with local fisheries to develop and share knowledge about coastal ecology, and to empower fishermen to protect and manage marine resources.


Team member spotlight

Adelayde Rivas, Communications

While not a full-time employee of Paso Pacífico, Adelayde has been an integral part of our team since 2008. She and her team are onhand to capture footage at most of our events, and she is responsible for most of our media coverage in Nicaraguan news outlets. Much of Adelayde's work focuses on raising awareness and is made possible thanks to the US Forest Service International Institute for Tropical Forestry.

Thank you, Adelayde, for helping us create a culture of conservation!

As we gear up for World Ocean Day and World Sea Turtle Day in June, and the 2012 ISA World Masters Surfing Championships in July, our focus is on coastal conservation.

Your donation of $10 or more will help us meet our fundraising goals!

World Ocean Day
June 8th
Goal: $500

To publish maps of critical marine wildlife habitat.

World Sea Turtle Day
June 16th
Goal: $1000

To provide one hundred days of protection at a newly identified sea turtle nesting beach.

World Surfing Championships Opening Cermony
July 14
Goal: $2500

To help budding filmmakers highlight the Nicaraguan surfing community's commitment to ocean conservation.

Donate today!

This month Paso Pacífico Founder & Executive Director, Sarah Otterstrom, and Director of Conservation Science, Kim Williams-Guillén, gathered together with Paso Pacífico's board members for our annual retreat.

During the retreat Board members reviewed new strategies for our conservation science program which will more closely link people to nature.

Thank you to our dedicated Board of Directors for the work they do to help us protect biodiversity and empower communities in Nicaragua.

Special thanks to Founding Board President Sandra Pearson (pictured above with Executive Director Sarah Otterstrom) and Dr. Rodolfo Dirzo who have each served on our board for six years. We are grateful to them both.

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USA Address: PO Box 1244 • Ventura, CA 93002-1244 • Phone: 1-805-643-7044