Edition: February 2013

Conservation in ACTION

Earlier this month, we were pleased to host the annual meeting of Bat Conservation International's Board of Directors, who came to Nicaragua to learn about its 101 (known) bat species, to see the bats up close, and to launch new joint efforts for bat conservation and research in the Paso del Istmo.

Working with Volcano Masaya National Park, MARENA (the Nicaraguan Ministry of Environment), Bat Conservation International (BCI), USAID, and FHI360, our recent outreach efforts have included workshops to educate park rangers, and staff from both MARENA and MAGFOR (the Nicaraguan Ministry of Agriculture) about vampire bat control and how to differentiate beneficial species from those which need management. After visiting with some of the rangers who benefited from our workshop, the BCI Board joined us for the unveiling of our new interpretive bat display at the Volcano Masaya Visitors Center, which will educate thousands of visitors each year.

During their board meeting, BCI was joined by bat specialists and other scientists from Paso Pacífico and PCMN (Programa Conservación de Murcielagos de Nicaragua) to establish long term strategies for protecting the many species of bats in the region. In the coming year, we will increase outreach and education, as well as assess and establish important bat conservation areas.

The highlights of the BCI Nicaraguan adventure included netting bats with Volcano Masaya's rangers at the lava tubes, and with Paso Pacífico's Junior Rangers along Rio Escameca (as shown in the photo above).

Follow our bat adventures on our blog.

Paso Pacífico in the News

This month our friends and supporters at the Turtle Conservancy hosted their first ever Turtle Ball. The event was a success, raising a lot of money for turtle conservation, helping people understand the plight of threatened turtle species, and garnering a lot of coverage in the press:
"It's very treacherous to be a sea turtle and to make it from the nest to the ocean — like, twelve feet. Not many of them make that journey."
New York Magazine

Partnerships make it possible

We are pleased to continue our partnership with the Raechel & Jackie Foundation (RJF), a California-based non-profit supporting international educational efforts, and our partners since 2011. RJF (formerly the RageJax Foundation) supports our efforts to take creative lessons in environmental conservation and stewardship to children in rural Nicaragua.

RJF's mission is to inspire and enrich the lives of youth through recreation, the arts and innovative educational experiences. Founder Cally Houck understands the connection between arts and conservation with youth. Together, we're launching a new arts curriculum which will help youth in the two key watersheds of Rio Escameca and Rio La Flor, connect and learn from each other about the ecosystems their communities depend on.

With RJF and the children who live in the Paso del Istmo, we are creating a culture of conservation.

Team member spotlight

Nicole Salazar has been working in Paso Pacífico's Ventura, California office since the fall of 2010. She has coordinated the financial reporting and administrative work which allows us to operate in two countries, as well as managed our grant reporting. We'll be getting less of Nicole's time once she delivers her first child next month, but we're happy we'll still have her on tap to maintain our current financial reporting systems.

This month, our rangers worked hard to extinguish forest fires in the area they work to protect. We are grateful to these brave guys who dedicate their lives to protecting threatened species and critical wildlife habitat.

Donate $50 to support firefighting and first aid training for our rangers.

Donate $10 to help rebuild and protect the forest destroyed by fire.

We are grateful to Bat Conservation International's Board of Directors for spending time in Nicaragua this month, as well as for their continued financial support, strategic planning, and bat expertise.

Bats pollinate plants, control pests, and help disperse seeds, making them important players in helping Paso Pacífico protect threatened species and support sustainable agriculture across Central America's Pacific slope.

The alliance we have forged with Bat Conservation International, the BCI Board, and BCI's team of dedicated scientists will enable us to identify and protect important bat conservation areas, train local bat biologists, and transform attitudes towards these mammals in Nicaragua.

Pictured above: the BCI Board hikes to the caves to see the bats of Masaya.

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