New building good to go

Thanks to you we were able to use the section of the new building that we were hoping to use on October 24. Thanks to your financial support and a big push from our workers we were able to house 40 students in the new building during the first week of session one.

Fall Sessions

Time flies when you’re having fun. The first fall WALC session started on October 24. 89 young women participants and peer leaders made CCFC’s ecology center their home for the following 25 consecutive days. It went off without a hitch. The schedule was intense but enjoyed by all. The first session came to an end on November 17.

Photo of first fall WALC session participants.

The second WALC session started on November 18. This time we received 130 young women participants and peer leaders. CCFC’s buildings are full to the brim but everyone is comfortable and well taken care of. During the second fall WALC session, CCFC is housing and feeding a total campus population of 145 people. This includes one resident researcher, seven interns (two from the US and five local) and other staff.

Scent Trails

Scent Trails

Guatemalan pottery, is as much a visual art form as it is an olfactory experience. The best tortillas are made on a clay comal, and served alongside a bowl of smoky beans. The earthy taste from the bean pot and griddle are not easily replicated elsewhere. Whether the drink is kakaw, café, atol, o boj a fuller aroma is distinctive of being prepared in a kukb’. Worship and prayer carry the smell of incense and candle-smoke from mountain caves to the catedrál de Cobán. Even the rain fallen on the terra-cotta tiles of the townhouses or haciendas holds heartwarming memories.

In preparation for this project, I am seeking out scent trails; gathering as many clues and tips on how to best guide the project when I get on the ground. Running (failed) trials in my own studio work, sketching maps of regional pottery styles, and researching deeper into the historical context I will be working in. Along the way I have encountered many brilliant minds, artists, professors and preachers. I look forward to working more closely with these people and with many others who I’ve not met yet.

Stay tuned as the journey begins.

WALC 2015 — 2016

WALC 2015 — 2016

As our WALC scholars continue their schooling through the 2016 school year, we watch in silent admiration. These 7th-12th grade students earned their tuition by participating in a 25-day leadership training workshop and service-learning workshop during their summer vacation (fall vacation in the Guatemalan school year). In the 2015 — 2016 WALC cycle CCFC is awarding 229 scholarships. In 2016 we have at least six WALC alumnae studying at university. These young women are really beating the odds.

The final scholarship distribution / WALC follow up visit took place in July of 2016. We were impressed by the number of WALC participants that took us to their gardens and fields to show us what they received and planted. Students have grown and multiplied the seeds, starts, plants and crops that they received through WALC. Truly gratifying.

Cecelia Humbler Teyul left her first 25 day WALC workshop with seeds, plant starts and a lot of inspiration. On the day that she received her final scholarship distribution, she gave CCFC a tour of her gardens. Here’s Cecelia proud of her Naranjilla bushes that she planted from the seeds she took home with her.

Cecelia shows off her kitchen garden with heirloom beans.

Cecelia — an abundant squash harvest coming on. Q’eqchi’ Maya heirloom squash is high in vitamin A and keeps well in storage for weeks. One nutritional deficiency of the Q’eqchi’ diet is a lack of of vitamin A. By promoting and propagating heirloom crops such as this squash, CCFC is addressing an nutrition problem and contributing to regional food security.

Maralena Ical Chub and her sister Ana Floridalma Ical Chub plant taro, naranjilla, aracach, onions and papaya together in her agro-forestry parcel. Maralena took home naranjilla seeds and taro and aracach starts. Visiting her parcel, Maralena was more than happy to show us the results of this investment.

Maria Azucena Rax Tupil
Maria Rax receives her scholarship. Maria went back to 7th grade after having sat out for two years. She is proud to be back in school and grateful for the opportunity to study. Maria earned her scholarship by participating in WALC’s 25 day workshop.

WALC students gather in regional groups for follow up and to receive their certificates of participation.

migratory bird coloring book, coming soon

migratory bird coloring book, coming soon

As an addition to our tool chest in Artful Eyes, CCFC is pleased to announce that before October 25th, we will be printing a coloring book of migratory birds. CCFC’s artist in residence, Savannah Aldrich, has been hard at work preparing a nine page coloring book of wood warblers. The species selected in this coloring book are all species that either winter in Guatemala’s central highlands or spend a significant time here in fall or spring as a migration stop over.

This beautiful coloring book will be both didactic and fun. Students will learn a lot about warblers and their plumage and they will get a chance to produce something beautiful. The book will serve both as a coloring book for kids and as a template for CCFC’s WALC participants to do embroidery of the representations of these beautiful birds.

Warbler plate with Savanah

(photo: Savannah Aldrich, Artist in Residence, behind her, a print of Keith Hansen’s “One Hundred And One Migratory Birds,” commissioned by the US Fish and Wildlife Foundation.)

CCFC thanks Artist in Residence, Savannah Aldrich, for her amazing work. Her gifts and talents in art will be multiplied by the number of schools, students, WALC participants and others that will use her coloring book.

Savannah Aldrich at work. Photo by Sidney Madsen
Savannah Aldrich at work. Photo by Sidney Madsen


October 25, 2016 marks the first day of the 2016 — 2017 WALC cycle. We are currently finishing our follow up with our 2015-2016 scholarship recipients. Our current cycle is ending with 229 scholarships given. We are looking forward to another great year.

Our building is taking shape. Our hope is that by October 25, we will be able to use the 1,628 square feet of finished building (the tail of the new building) to house and serve meals to our new group of WALC participants.

Thanks to your support CCFC continues to offer life transforming educational opportunities to young women from villages along the edge of the cloud forests of Guatemala’s central highlands.

Below: getting it under roof for October 25.

new name for a great program

new name for a great program

CCFC’s leadership training program for young women is getting a new name and a new friend. In order to better reflect the nature of our program, what was known as CALT is now WALC. WALC (pronounced walk) stands for “Women in Agroecology Leadership for Conservation.” The content of this successful program remains the same but the name better communicates the focus of the program. We at CCFC have seen the difference a 25-day leadership workshop can make in the lives of young Q’eqchi’ Maya women and the difference a work study scholarship can make in helping these young women follow their dream of an education that for many is simply out of reach.

WALC en Rubel Chaim

WALC and Dining For Women

WALC and Dining For Women

August 2015 —
Good news WALC supporters. Standing right beside you as you support this work is WALC’s newest friend: Dining for Women. Dining For Women (also known as DFW) is a giving circle that funds grassroots programs that benefit women around the globe. DFW is a fantastic organization and we highly recommend that you find a local chapter and join. For years CCFC has had the dream of offering its 25-day leadership training workshop and subsequent scholarship to 153 young women annually. Thanks to each of you, in 2015 we were able to accept more students than ever before, with 100 actively enrolled in the program from 2014. Thanks to each of you for sponsoring a scholarship through your $150 contributions. Were it not for your support and contributions, we would never have reached 100! We still fell 53 young women short of our overall goal of 153 in 2014.

Enter: Dining For Women. For 2015 and 2016, CCFC’s WALC program will enjoy the financial support of Dining For Women which will be enable us to offer an additional 80 scholarships each year. As the dust settles from a busy fall and we tally up the names of those who have successfully finished the 25 day workshop and meet the qualifications, we are please to announce that our total for 2015 is 229 scholarships earmarked for distribution during the 2016 school year.

To celebrate CCFC’s new partnership with DFW, friends of CCFC produced this six minute video. Please take a look: CCFC / DFW video clip . Feel free to share this video link with others.)

Liceo Javier Reforestation Project

Liceo Javier Reforestation Project

CCFC, in partnership with the senior class of Liceo Javier de la Verapaz, San Juan Chamelco undertook a major reforestation project with the village schools of San Pablo Xucaneb, Coban. The village of San Pablo is located at the foot of the Xucaneb mountain. The Resplendent Quetzal, a near-threatened species and Guatemala’s national bird, can still be found in the cloud forests of the mountain. San Pablo Xucaneb is also high priority work area for CCFC programs such as Artful Eyes, Kids and Birds, and the scholarship program.

69 students from Xucaneb secondary and 10 students from Liceo Javier de la Verapaz on a tree planting day. © 2011 Rob Cahill, San Pablo Xucaneb, Coban, AV
69 students from Xucaneb secondary and 10 students from Liceo Javier de la Verapaz on a tree planting day. © 2011 Rob Cahill, San Pablo Xucaneb, Coban, AV
Planting trees captures the imagination of children. © 2009 Rob Cahill, Semesche', Carcha', Alta Verapaz
Planting trees captures the imagination of children. © 2009 Rob Cahill, Semesche’, Carcha’, Alta Verapaz

As a part of their senior project, 10 senior students from Liceo Javier made several visits to the village of Xucaneb. With guidance from CCFC, the students defined and mapped areas for reforestation. Students then met with village leaders and private landowners to agree upon a plan for reforestation. On July 6, CCFC provided 500 seedlings for the first installment in this project. Students from Liceo Javier worked with local students to plant target tree species.

When finished, this reforestation and stream bank restoration project will cover 8.629 acres. In terms of overall environmental impact, maybe it is a drop in the bucket, but it’s a start. This project is also another opportunity for CCFC to reach the teachers and the youth of this village and to advocate for the long-term appreciation and protection of the cloud forest.