Bees help to pollinate approximately 80% of the plants in our world...
Bees help to pollinate approximately 80% of the plants in our world...

Bees help to pollinate approximately 80% of the plants in our world, and yet these small creatures are often overlooked. In Nicaragua, there are more than 400 species of native bees that work across the tropical forests and farmlands, moving pollen and generating benefits to people. Most of these native bees are stingless and many of them produce delicious honey which may be consumed by people. 

There are ways to protect pollinators while also benefiting people. Meliponiculture is the ancient practice of cultivating stingless bees for the production of pollen or honey. This practice was widespread during pre-Columbian times, and can still be observed in rural farms and villages throughout the Mesoamerican region. Although the practice still exists, the knowledge around its practice has been disappearing.

Three years ago, Paso Pacifico launched its first meliponiculture project and since that time has worked with 21 farmers from across 7 communities to promote the health of bee colonies and to replicate and expand on these colonies. The goal is to reduce the number of hives that are extracted from the forest.

In addition we have worked to educate youth and farming communities about the benefits of bee pollinators and to encourage the cultivation of food crops that benefit native bees such as squashes. Over the years this program has been made possible through the Turner Foundation, the Loyal Bigelow and Jediah Dewey Foundation, as well as through support from Projets Plus Actions. We are grateful to these partners for making this work possible.

Paso Pacifico was featured in the cover story for this month's edition of Nicas En El Exterior News. The article focused on our efforts to partner with private landowners and communities to protect the dry tropical forests of Nicaragua.
In particular the article highlighted our goal of acquiring land to establish a new national park for the Nicaraguan people and to reduce the risk of extinction for rare and endangered species such as the black-handed spider monkey. Our Executive Director, Dr. Sarah Otterstrom was featured on the cover of this magazine which is widely read across the Nicaraguan American community in the United States. We are grateful to Nicas En El Exterior for highlighting our important work and for the opportunity to reach the Nicaraguan community internationally. 

Our bee project has been made possible through support from Projets Plus Actions, a French international solidarity organization founded in 2006. Projets Plus Actions provides grass-roots organizations around the world with the technical and financial support necessary to take action and bring about positive change.
The environment is an area of major concern for Projets Plus Actions, and in particular they seek to reduce threats to endangered species by helping rural communities develop sustainable and economically beneficial alternatives in food production. Our native bee meliponiculture project exemplifies this approach by increasing the nutritious honey available to rural families while also increasing the population size of native bees. This generous organization has previously provided support to Paso Pacifico's sea turtle program. We are extremely grateful to Projets Plus Action, its Development Director Jean-Marc Civiere and its network of donors for making this pollinator project possible.   
Twitter Facebook Pinterest Instagram LinkedIn YouTube

Marcos Calero grew up in the Cardenas municipality in the southern part of the Paso del Istmo. Marcos coordinates our meliponiculture project and spends his days meetings with local farmers to share information about the benefits of native bees. Marcos has provided technical assistance to dozens of families, helping them to improve their bee husbandry techniques.  Through Marcos' efforts, we have helped increase the production of nutritious wild honey and have provided support to native bee populations.

Marcos has a technical veterinary degree from international agriculture and ranching school located in Rivas. Using skills from his veterinary training, Marcos is also helping us to assess the needs of ranchers whose wildlife graze in and around the forests of the Paso del Istmo. Marcos' background and love for bee conservation and animal husbandry, make his contributions unique. Thank you Marcos for all that you do! 

Protect pollinators!
Over the past year Richard Joyce has served as a volunteer advisor to our native bee meliponiculture project. With his guidance, we were able to establish a collection of native bee specimens, develop work plans for farmer trainings, and identify the major food crops and forest trees that our native honey bees are pollinating.
Richard has been a great mentor and support to meliponiculture project coordinator Marcos Calero.This spring both Richard and Marcos traveled to Chiapas, Mexico to present their project during the  IX Mesoamerican Congress on native bees. The people they met and the knowledge they gained from this meeting will help us further strengthen our native bee project. Thanks again Richard for everything you have done for Paso Pacifico.
This month on Instagram: